[b-hebrew] Leviticus 16 & azazel

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Mar 31 06:54:39 EST 2005

On 31/03/2005 11:36, Trevor Peterson wrote:

> tladatsi at charter.net wrote:
>> Are there any thoughts on azazel?
> I haven't really looked at this stuff in a while (not since the movie 
> "Fallen" came out, which, BTW, is kind of a lame movie IMO). But I 
> think the Azazel in Enoch probably represents a tradition that 
> understands it in Leviticus as some sort of a wilderness spirit. As 
> you say, the parallel structure tends to favor this reading. On the 
> whole, I think it's certainly a viable option.
It might be interesting to look at Arabic traditions, Islamic and 
probably pre-Islamic. The name Azazil was used as a name of Satan, not 
in the Qur'an but in the later Hadith. See 
http://www.truthnet.org/islam/src-chp5.htm (search for "Azazil" on these 
pages - I am not endorsing these sites in any other way). Interestingly, 
Brewer suggested that the same story is found in Milton's Paradise Lost: 
http://ppcl.chungnam.ac.kr/my/references/phrase/data/79.html (but I 
think Brewer is wrong in suggesting that this name is in the Qur'an - 
and his new name Eblis or Iblis, meaning "devil", is probably derived 
from Greek DIABOLOS); but 
(line 534) uses the Hebrew spelling Azazel and notes "According to some 
Cabbalistic writers, one of the four standard bearers of Satan's army."

Of course all of this Arabic tradition may be dependent on an 
interpretation of Leviticus; on the other hand, Leviticus may be 
referring to a name of an evil being already well-known in the deserts 
of Sinai and Arabia, who is effectively the antithesis of YHWH in Lev 16:8.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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