on Leviticus 16 :10
To be the scape-goat - עזאזל azazel, from עז az, a goat, and אזל azal, to dismiss; the dismissed or sent away goat, to distinguish it from the goat that was to be offered in sacrifice. Most ancient nations had vicarious sacrifices, to which they transferred by certain rites and ceremonies the guilt of the community at large, in the same manner in which the scapegoat was used by the Jews. The white bull that was sacrificed by the Egyptians to their god Apis was of this kind; they cut off the head of the victim which they had sacrificed, and after having loaded it with execrations, "that if there be any evil hanging over them or the land of Egypt, it may be poured out upon that head," they either sold it to the Greeks or threw it into the Nile - See Herod. Euterp., p. 104, edit. Gale.
Petronius Arbiter says that it was a custom among the ancient inhabitants of Marseilles, whenever they were afflicted by any pestilence, to take one of the poorer citizens who offered himself for the purpose, and having fed him a whole year with the purest and best food, they adorned him with vervain, and clothed him with sacred vestments: they then led him round their city, loading him with execrations; and having prayed that all the evils to which the city was exposed might fall upon him, they then precipitated him from the top of a rock - Satiricon, in fine.
Suidas, under the word περιψημα, observes that it was a custom to devote a man annually to death for the safety of the people, with these words, Περιψἡμα ημων γενου, Be thou our purifier; and, having said so, to throw him into the sea as a sacrifice to Neptune. It was probably to this custom that Virgil alludes when speaking of the pilot Palinurus, who fell into the sea and was drowned, he says: -
Unum pro multis dabiter caput -
Aen., lib. v., ver. 815.
"One life is given for the preservation of many."
But the nearest resemblance to the scapegoat of the Hebrews is found in the Ashummeed Jugg of the Hindoos, where a horse is used instead of a goat, the description of which I shall here introduce from Mr. Halhed's Code of Gentoo Laws; Introduction, p. xix. "That the curious," says he, "may form some idea of this Gentoo sacrifice when reduced to a symbol, as well as from the subsequent plain account given of it in a chapter of the Code, sec. ix., p. 127, an explanation of it is here inserted from Darul Shekh's famous Persian translation of some commentaries upon the four Beids, or original Scriptures of Hindostan. The work itself is extremely scarce, and it was by mere accident that this little specimen was procured: - "The Ashummeed Jugg does not merely consist in the performance of that ceremony which is open to the inspection of the world, namely, in bringing a horse and sacrificing him; but Ashummeed is to be taken in a mystic signification, as implying that the sacrificer must look upon himself to be typified in that horse, such as he shall be described; because the religious duty of the Ashummeed Jugg comprehends all those other religious duties to the performance of which the wise and holy direct all their actions, and by which all the sincere professors of every different faith aim at perfection. The mystic signification thereof is as follows: The head of that unblemished horse is the symbol of the morning; his eyes are the sun; his breath, the wind; his wide-opening mouth is the bish-waner, or that innate warmth which invigorates all the world; his body typifies one entire year; his back, paradise; his belly, the plains; his hoof, this earth; his sides, the four quarters of the heavens; the bones thereof, the intermediate spaces between the four quarters; the rest of his limbs represent all distinct matter; the places where those limbs meet, or his joints, imply the months, and halves of the months, which are called peche, (or fortnights); his feet signify night and day; and night and day are of four kinds:
1. The night and day of Brihma;
2. The night and day of angels;
3. The night and day of the world of the spirits of deceased ancestors;
4. The night and day of mortals.
These four kinds are typified in his four feet. The rest of his bones are the constellations of the fixed stars, which are the twenty-eight stages of the moon's course, called the lunar year; his flesh is the clouds; his food, the sand; his tendons, the rivers; his spleen and liver, the mountains; the hair of his body, the vegetables; and his long hair, the trees; the forepart of his body typifies the first half of the day, and the hinder part, the latter half; his yawning is the flash of the lightning, and his turning himself is the thunder of the cloud; his urine represents the rain, and his mental reflection is his only speech. The golden vessels which are prepared before the horse is let loose are the light of the day, and the place where those vessels are kept is a type of the ocean of the east; the silver vessels which are prepared after the horse is let loose are the light of the night, and the place where those vessels are kept is a type of the ocean of the west. These two sorts of vessels are always before and after the horse. The Arabian horse, which on account of his swiftness is called Hy, is the performer of the journeys of angels; the Tajee, which is of the race of Persian horses, is the performer of the journeys of the Kundherps, (or good spirits); the Wazba, which is of the race of the deformed Tazee horses, is the performer of the journeys of the Jins, (or demons); and the Ashov, which is of the race of Turkish horses, is the performer of the journeys of mankind: this one horse which performs these several services on account of his four different sorts of riders, obtains the four different appellations. The place where this horse remains is the great ocean, which signifies the great spirit of Perm-Atma, or the universal soul, which proceeds also from that Perm-Atma, and is comprehended in the same Perm-Atma. The intent of this sacrifice is, that a man should consider himself to be in the place of that horse, and look upon all these articles as typified in himself; and conceiving the Atma (or Divine soul) to be an ocean, should let all thought of self be absorbed in that Atma." This sacrifice is explained, in sec. ix., p. 127, of the Code of Hindoo Laws, thus: - "An Ashummeed Jugg is when a person, having commenced a Jugg, (i. e., religious ceremony), writes various articles upon a scroll of paper on a horse's neck, and dismisses the horse, sending along with the horse a stout and valiant person, equipped with the best necessaries and accoutrements to accompany the horse day and night whithersoever he shall choose to go; and if any creature, either man, genius, or dragon, should seize the horse, that man opposes such attempt, and having gained the victory upon a battle, again gives the horse his freedom. If any one in this world, or in heaven, or beneath the earth, would seize this horse, and the horse of himself comes to the house of the celebrator of the Jugg, upon killing that horse he must throw the flesh of him upon the fire of the Juk, and utter the prayers of his deity; such a Jugg is called a Jugg Ashummeed, and the merit of it as a religious work is infinite." This is a most curious circumstance; and the coincidence between the religious rites of two people who probably never had any intercourse with each other, is very remarkable. I would not however say that the Hindoo ceremony could not have been borrowed from the Jews; (though it is very unlikely); no more than I should say, as some have done, that the Jewish rite was borrowed from the Egyptian sacrifice to Apis mentioned above, which is still more unlikely. See particularly Clarke's note on Leviticus 1:4 (note).
on Leviticus 16 :10
On which the lot fell to be the scapegoat - Rather, on which the lot 'for Azazel' fell.
An atonement with him - The goat "for Azazel" was to be considered as taking his part along with the other goat in the great symbol of atonement.
For a scapegoat into the wilderness - Rather, "to Azazel, into the wilderness."
on Leviticus 16 :10