[b-hebrew] Leviticus 16 & azazel

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Thu Mar 31 01:11:46 EST 2005

I have a question.  In Leviticus 16 there is a word that is 
almost always translated into English as ?scapegoat?, 
azazel  - lz)z(.  The traditional derivation is from z( or 
*female goat* and lz) *go away*.  So, *the gone-away goat* 
perhaps? This word is used four times in Let 16 but nowhere 
else in the OT.  Is this a realistic reading? 

The reason I ask is the context does not to fit this 
translation.  Let 16:8 is usually translated as something 
like *And Aaron shall choose two goats by lot, one for 
Yahweh and one for (or as) the scapegoat*  [ lez)z(l dx) 
lrwgw hwhyl dx) lrwG twlrwG ery(h yen$ -l( arh) atnw].   
This seems to imply one goat is given to Yahweh and one 
goat is given to the scapegoat, which makes no sense.  One 
does not give a goat to a scapegoat.  The context and lamed 
before both Yahweh and azazel would suggest that there were 
two things, Yahweh and Azazel, which each received one 

Let 16:9 the goat that was given to Yahweh is sacrificed.  
Let 16:10 is generally translated like *But the goat to 
whom the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be shown alive 
to Yahweh?s face to purge sins and then sent as the 
scapegoat into the desert.* [ hrBdMh lez)z(l wt)xL$l wyl( 
rePkl hwhy yenpl yx lez)z(l lrwGh wyl( hl( r$) ry(hw ].  It 
seems that lamed in front of azazel would suggest that the 
goat was sent to Azazel who was in the desert.  Let 16:26 
is the same.

 Jerome translates azazel in the Vulgate as *capro 
emissario*.  The LXX is not clear, translating it as *

There is an Azazel mentioned several times in the Book of 
Enoch, who is listed as a rebellious angel who teaches 
mankind how to make the tools of war and women how to wear 
make-up.  I do not know if these two are connected in 

Are there any thoughts on azazel?

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