[German Version] As part of the ritual for the great Day of Atonement, (Lev 16, cf. 23:26ff.; Num 29:7 ff.), the high priest Aaron lays his hands (Laying-on of hands) on a he-goat, the so-called scapegoat (Vulgate
caper emissarius, Fr.
bouc émissaire, Ger.
Sündenbock), putting the sins of the Israelites on its head and then employing someone designated to take it to “an isolated place” or “the wilderness” (Lev 16:8, 10, 21f.), where rabbinic tradition says that it meets its death (
m. Yoma). Various interpretations have been proposed for the name
Azazel (עֲזָאזֵל; Lev 16:8, 10, 26) that appears in this context – a combination of the Semitic elements
‘zz, “be strong,” and
’l, “god” (Janowski/Wilhelm, 128), a combination of the Egyptian elements ʿ
ḏɜ, “guilty,” and
ḏr/l, “keep away” (“the expelled culprit”: Görg), or a figure related to the Canaanite god El or the group of deities associated with him (Dietrich & Loretz, cf. Fauth) –, but in any case the function of the “scapegoat” rit…