1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat

Is it a demon? Evil being?

And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel."1

Footnote [1] 16:8 The meaning of Azazel is uncertain. ESV

Who is this being that God wants to share some goats with the guy?

  • 2
    Definitely not a demon. God would not want his people to sacrifice for an enemy. – John Dvorak Sep 23 '13 at 14:15
  • 6
    Why do you assume it's a person and not a destination? – Monica Cellio Sep 23 '13 at 14:44
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    can't we just start with rashi? "This is a strong and hard mountain, [with] a high cliff, as the Scripture says [in describing Azazel] (verse 22 below),“a precipitous land (אֶרֶץ גְּזֵרָה),” meaning a cut-off land [i.e., a sheer drop]. — [Torath Kohanim 16:28; Yoma 67b]" – rosends Sep 23 '13 at 14:47
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    @Danno You can start with Rashi as long as you follow through to Ramban – Double AA Sep 23 '13 at 14:54
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    From a publication by Jehovah's witnesses: "The etymology of this word is disputed. If we hold to the spelling in the Hebrew Masoretic text, ʽazaʼ·zel′ seems to be a combination of two root words meaning “goat” and “disappear.” Thus the meaning “Goat That Disappears.” According to another derivation, based on the belief that there has been a transposition of two consonants, it means “Strength of God.”" – John Dvorak Sep 23 '13 at 14:54
10

Rashi to Vayikra 16:8 says Azazel is not a person:

Azazel: This is a strong and hard mountain, [with] a high cliff, as the Scripture says [in describing Azazel] (verse 22 below),“a precipitous land (אֶרֶץ גְּזֵרָה),” meaning a cut-off land [i.e., a sheer drop]. — [Torath Kohanim 16:28; Yoma 67b]

2

Natan Slifkin, citing Ibn Ezra, writes as follows:

Other evidence regarding Ibn Ezra’s position relates to the goat that is sent to Azazel. In his commentary on this topic, Ibn Ezra writes as follows:

Now if you can understand the secret of the word after Azazel, you will know its secret and the secret of its name, since it has parallels in the Scriptures. And I will reveal to you part of the secret by hint: when you will be thirty-three, you will know it.

The hint tells us to count 33 verses from this verse, bringing us to Leviticus 17:7: “they may offer their sacrifices no more to the se’irim.” Ramban, who explains this to mean that Ibn Ezra considered Azazel to be a demon, notes that this is not an especially concealed secret, since Chazal state this in a number of places.

Source: http://www.zootorah.com/RationalistJudaism/Demons.pdf (page 11)

  • That's a very convoluted way to answer something. Who is Ibn Ezra anyway? – user4951 Jun 7 '18 at 9:59
  • How did Ezra got the hint? – user4951 Jun 7 '18 at 9:59

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