SCAPEGOAT (Heb. ‘ăzā’zēl). A term that occurs only in
The Hebrew term translated “scapegoat” is thought to be related to an Arabic word meaning “remove”; thus it is often translated “removal” (i.e., scapegoat). The actual meaning of the term and its use in the context of
Some authorities regard the term to be the name of a solitary place to which the goat was taken. This does not seem very likely. Others (as kjv) regard it as a qualifying word for goat—i.e., the goat that removes the guilt of the people, the scapegoat. Some scholars see in the word the name of a personal being—a demon of the wilderness or a fallen angel who seduces people to evil (as in the ), or an epithet applied to the devil.
A parallel to the scapegoat may be seen in the Scriptures. In the ritual for a recovered leper, a living bird was released in the country to carry the evil away, and the leper was declared clean (
Bibliography: G. J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus, 1979, pp. 233-35.——JBG