by Brad Scott
Every year during Yom Kippuriym (Day of Atonements) two goats are chosen for a sin offering. Lots are cast for one to be YHVH's lot and the other to be let loosed in the wilderness. One will die and the other will be the scapegoat called the 'aza'zel. This appears to be a contraction of two Hebrew words. 'az, which is one of many Hebrew words for a goat and means to be strong, and 'azal, which means to cause to go away, or be removed. So this word together means the goat that was removed or sent away. Below are a few examples of these words in their separate context as the two are only placed together in Vayiqera (Leviticus) chapter 16.
Shemot (Exodus) 15:2 "YHVH is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him."
Shemot 12:5 "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:"
Mishlei (Proverbs 20:14) "It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth."
'Iyov (Job) 14:11 "As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:"
In one word here we seem to have a meaning that implies strength that is removed or failed. There are a few legends and traditions concerning this goat, but we do know that of all the goats in the field, remember Yeshua‘ said the field was the world, this one was picked out among them all to represent them all. Tindale, the 16th century translator of the Old Testament, was apparently responsible for translating this word first into the English escapegoat which was later shortened to scapegoat.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊