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Easton's Bible Dictionary

 

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Scapegoat
        Lev. 16:8-26; R.V., "the goat for Azazel" (q.v.), the name given
        to the goat which was taken away into the wilderness on the day
        of Atonement (16:20-22). The priest made atonement over the
        scapegoat, laying Israel's guilt upon it, and then sent it away,
        the goat bearing "upon him all their iniquities unto a land not
        inhabited."
        At a later period an evasion or modification of the law of
        Moses was introduced by the Jews. "The goat was conducted to a
        mountain named Tzuk, situated at a distance of ten Sabbath days'
        journey, or about six and a half English miles, from Jerusalem.
        At this place the Judean desert was supposed to commence; and
        the man in whose charge the goat was sent out, while setting him
        free, was instructed to push the unhappy beast down the slope of
        the mountain side, which was so steep as to insure the death of
        the goat, whose bones were broken by the fall. The reason of
        this barbarous custom was that on one occasion the scapegoat
        returned to Jerusalem after being set free, which was considered
        such an evil omen that its recurrence was prevented for the
        future by the death of the goat" (Twenty-one Years' Work in the
        Holy Land). This mountain is now called el-Muntar.

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Scapegoat' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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