"Scapegoat" or "Goat for Azazel"

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Pastor_Bob, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    3,461
    Likes Received:
    45
    Lev 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (KJV)

    Lev 16:8 After Aaron casts lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other for Azazel, (HCSB)

    Lev 16:26 And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. (KJV)

    Lev 16:26 The man who released the goat for Azazel is to wash his clothes and bathe his body with water; afterwards he may reenter the camp. (HCSB)

    Why is there a significant difference in many translations of this passage? The KJV, NKJV say "scapegoat," while the HCSB, ASV, and others say, "goat for Azazel." Which translation is proper and carries with it the meaning and intent of the author?
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    It could be either.

    Tyndale coined the word scapegoat in English (goat that departs) based upon his reading of the text; that is now generally disputed and the phrase rendered as a proper name (probably that of a demon).

    Now, which is the author's intent? I have no idea. The phrase is found only four times in the OT, all of them in Leviticus 16. There is support in the Jewish scribal tradition for the latter, as well as from Irenaeus and Origen.

    In any case, the focus of the chapter is unaffected by either translation.
     
  3. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think traditionally the "scapegoat" was driven off into the wilderness and forced off a cliff. It was the "sin offering" that carried the sins of the people away. It may have been even an appeasement of sorts so that the demons who lived in the deserts would not attack the people.

    Azaz'el, according to Enochic tradition, is essentially Satan, the fallen angel who rebelled against God and dwelt yet under the earth.

    The confusing thing is that it would seem unlikely for Moses to speak about sending the goat out as an appeasement for the desert demons. So no one is really sure wht it is sent out "for Azaz'el".
     
  4. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    "I think traditionally the 'scapegoat' was driven off into the wilderness and forced off a cliff."

    That was the rabbinical tradition of the Second Temple period.
     
  5. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    H5799
    עזאזל
    ‛ăzâ'zêl
    az-aw-zale'
    From H5795 and H235; goat of departure; the scapegoat: - scapegoat.

    The HCSB transliterates, the KJV1679 translates.
    What is the problem?
     
  6. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    RSR,

    You're right. I should have said the traditional interpretation.
     
  7. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ed,

    The "problem" is that Azazel is not a word for goat. If it was a goat then why not use "sha'ir" or one of the many other words for goat? I cannot remember the rest right now!

    And the book of Enoch speaks of Azazel and Shamhazai rebelling against God and coming to earth. Shamhazai repented and was punished but Azazel remained on earth, propagating evil.

    It seems strange that Azazel would be used if the implication was just sending out a goat.
     
  8. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know no Hebrew. I depend upon STRONG's (electronic,
    of course through e-Sword)

    Lev 16:8 (KJV1769):
    And Aaron175 shall cast5414 lots1486 upon5921 the two8147 goats;8163 one259 lot1486 for the LORD,3068 and the other259 lot1486 for the scapegoat.5799

    click on 5799 and we find:

    H5799
    עזאזל
    ‛ăzâ'zêl
    az-aw-zale'
    From H5795 and H235; goat of departure; the scapegoat: - scapegoat.


    you tell me what that means?
    I'm just a layman who doesn't do Hebrew.
    (but i can cut and paste [​IMG] )
     
  9. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tee Hee, this is more fun than i thought ;)

    Leuiticus XVI.8 (KJV1611 first reading)
    /bolding is ed's, italics are the KJV translators/:

    And Aaron shall cast lottes vpon
    the two Goates: one lot for the
    LORD, and the other lot for the
    +Scape Goat.


    Margin note: + Hebr. Azazel.

    1. I note that the KJV1611 says "Scape goat" and the
    KJV1769 says "scapegoat" [​IMG]

    Leuiticus XVI.8 (KJV1611 second reading)

    And Aaron shall cast lottes vpon
    the two Goates: one lot for the
    LORD, and the other lot for the
    Azazel Goat.


    Strange things happen to KJVOs when they don't bother
    to read the King James Version translator notes. :confused:
     
  10. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,968
    Likes Received:
    128
    From the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament:

    Strongs #1593 עֲזָאזֵל Azazel. (ASV and RSV use “Azazel,” but the former allows for the translation “removal” in the margin.)

    This word appears four times in the ot, all in Lev 16 (8, 10, 26) where the ritual for the Day of Atonement is described. After the priest has made atonement for himself and his house, he is to take two goats on behalf of Israel. One is to be a sacrifice to the Lord, the other is to be the “scape goat,” i.e. the goat for Azazel. In all four appearances of this word, it has the preposition “to” attached to it.

    This word has been variously understood and translated. The versions (LXX, Symmachus, Theodotian and the Vulgate) have understood it to stand for the “goat that departs,” considering it to be derived from two Hebrew words: ['ez] “goat” and ['azal] “turn off.”

    By associating it with the Arabic word ['azala] “banish,” “remove,” it has been rendered “for entire removal” (IDB loc. cit.).

    The rabbinic interpretation has generally considered this word to designate the place to which the goat was sent: a desert, a solitary place, or the height from which the goat was thrown (cf. Lev 16:22).

    The final possibility is to regard this word as designating a personal being so as to balance the word “Lord.” In this way Azazel could be an evil spirit (Enoch 8:1; 10:4; cf. II Chr 11:15; Isa 34:14; Rev 18:2) or even the devil himself (KD loc. cit.), standing logically in antithesis to Lord. However the Enoch references to Azazel as a demon are doubtless dependent on the author’s own interpretation of Lev 16 and Gen 6:4. Some who adopt this demon reference of Lev 16 also consider the passage to be of late authorship (P document).

    The actual use and meaning of this word in Lev 16 is at best uncertain. However, regardless of its precise meaning, the significant dimension is the removal of the sins of the nation by the imposition of them on the goat. In this passage sin seems to be hypostatized and therefore readily transferrable to the goat. Indeed vss 21 and 22 state that this goat is to bear away the sin of the people. Such a ritual would illustrate vividly the physical removal of defilement from the camp to a solitary place where it would no longer infest the nation.

    Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Page 657). Chicago: Moody Press.

    Rob
     
  11. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rob,

    Good article! Anything with Waltke's name on it is good by me! The ez (that's the other goat word I was thinking of!) ann azal makes good sense. Although it is possible that the Enoch tradition (not the book) is older than the writing of the Pentateuch, since it appears that Moses used some other extant material (Gen 6, Gen 14) when he penned the Torah.
     
  12. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    3,461
    Likes Received:
    45
    It is almost as if some translators simply chose not to translate this word aza'zel and left it in the Hebrew. I don't see the value of this unless it is stated, "Which, being interpreted is..."

    It would be like translating Psalm 23:1 as such, "The LORD is my ra'ah; I shall not want." (KJV)

    It doesn't convey the message that exists in the original languages for those who do not speak them. That is the whole purpose for translations.
     
  13. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    Actually, the Book of Enoch is of much-more recent authorship than was the life of Enoch mentioned in Genesis. the book mentions a year of 365 1/4 days' duration, a length NOT known till the late 700s BC.

    The year at one time was indeed only 360 days long, & the months were almost exactly 30 days each. And no, it wasn't because the ancients couldn't count nor properly observe sunrises, sunsets, and moon phases. If theur count had been off by 5 1/4 days a year, it would take just 5 years for the farmers to begin their planting a month early, etc. And the 360-day year was observed all over earth by peoples who didn't know of each others' existence.

    The system began to unravel with the great earthquake mentioned by Amos, about 760 BC, culminating with the sun's reversing its course for Hezekiah.

    The early Romans, as well as many other peoples, used a ten-month system for awhile, and the present names of the last 4 months reflect this. After further cosmic upheaval, we were back to 12 months, with the current length of the year discovered. Many ancient calendars still in use, including the Jewish one, add "intercalary days" to reflect those changes in the actual cycle of the objects in the sky.

    In Enoch's day, the 12-month, 360-day calendar was the standard, according to all ancient literature still extant which mentions the calendar.
     
  14. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    The same argument
    can be used AGAINST the KJV. 'Baptism' is a
    transliteration of the Greek 'baptismo'. The
    English translation of 'baptistm' is 'immersion'.
     
  15. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Robycop,

    "Actually, the Book of Enoch is of much-more recent authorship than was the life of Enoch mentioned in Genesis. the book mentions a year of 365 1/4 days' duration, a length NOT known till the late 700s BC."

    Very true. The sections of the book of Enoch (it was certainly written in parts) date to about 300 BC to 0 AD. But the Enochic tradition is certainly older, preserving some patterns of thought from the first temple period.

    Perhaps Waltke is right in that the name Azazel simply derives from a goat that was sent away, only later being applied, in name, to the idea of a fallen angel (Satan) living beneath the earth. I'll have to look and see if any of this part of Leviticus was preserved in the Qumran targums.
     
  16. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,968
    Likes Received:
    128
    It is/was often done when the meaning is uncertain. Many of these transliterations have been incorporated into the English language (Old Testament examples include Behemoth, Levithian, Hallelujah, Alleluia; NT examples include Christ, Messiah, martyr, devil (Diabolos), Evangelism and many, many more).

    One of the interesting aspects of the history of translation is how often these words develop their own meaning separate from their Biblical tradition. They may mean more today than they meant when originally written so a study of the history of the word (how and where it was used in it's historical context) would be important.

    Rob
     
  17. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    3,461
    Likes Received:
    45
    This is not an argument for or against any version. It is a question as to why any translator(s) would choose to do this. I can give many examples in the KJV as well; that is not the point of this discussion. Sorry.
     
  18. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    3,461
    Likes Received:
    45
    I agree with your post above 100%. I am having trouble with this particular example in that "scapegoat" seems to be a very clear meaning for aza'zel.
     
  19. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    It may seem to have a clear meaning, but that's only because Tyndale's rendering (which he shared with the Vulgate and Wycliff) assumes that the words mean a "goat that is sent out."

    If, however, translators believe that Azazel is a proper name (which is the prevailing view today and is supported by Jewish tradition), should it not be rendered as such if they are to be true to the texts?

    An obvious endorsement for the need for translator notes, such as the NET provides.
     
  20. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    It seems clear that "azazel" does not mean "goat". Perhaps, as Waltke suggested (in Rob's post), it was initially just "ez azal", the goat having been sent out - with later tradition identifying this name with the demons that were said (in earlier tradition) to inhabit the wastelands.
     

Share This Page

Loading...