(Lev. 16:8, 10, 26, Revised Version only here; rendered
"scape-goat" in the Authorized Version). This word has given
rise to many different views. Some Jewish interpreters regard it
as the name of a place some 12 miles east of Jerusalem, in the
wilderness. Others take it to be the name of an evil spirit, or
even of Satan. But when we remember that the two goats together
form a type of Christ, on whom the Lord "laid the iniquity of us
all," and examine into the root meaning of this word (viz.,
"separation"), the interpretation of those who regard the one
goat as representing the atonement made, and the other, that
"for Azazel," as representing the effect of the great work of
atonement (viz., the complete removal of sin), is certainly to
be preferred. The one goat which was "for Jehovah" was offered
as a sin-offering, by which atonement was made. But the sins
must also be visibly banished, and therefore they were
symbolically laid by confession on the other goat, which was
then "sent away for Azazel" into the wilderness. The form of
this word indicates intensity, and therefore signifies the total
separation of sin: it was wholly carried away. It was important
that the result of the sacrifices offered by the high priest
alone in the sanctuary should be embodied in a visible
transaction, and hence the dismissal of the "scape-goat." It was
of no consequence what became of it, as the whole import of the
transaction lay in its being sent into the wilderness bearing
away sin. As the goat "for Jehovah" was to witness to the
demerit of sin and the need of the blood of atonement, so the
goat "for Azazel" was to witness to the efficacy of the
sacrifice and the result of the shedding of blood in the taking
away of sin.