Heathen Imitations of the Scapegoat
Leviticus 16:20-22
And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar…

From this law of God, no doubt, did spring that custom among the heathen who, offering sacrifices, used to ban and curse the head of the beast offered in sacrifice with these words, "That if any evil be so come, either upon the sacrificers themselves, or upon the whole country of Egypt, it would please the gods to turn all upon that head." The Massilians also yearly used to make an atonement or expiation for their city with some holy man, whom, decked and set out with holy garments and with garlands, after the manner of a sacrifice, they led through the city, and putting all the evils upon his head that might anyway hang over their city, they cast him into the sea, sacrificing of him so unto Neptune, speaking these words with great solemnity, "Sis pro nobis piaculum" ("Be thou an expiation for us"). Thus the heathen caught at things, but not in a right manner, whereby we may well see what a darkness it is to be deprived of the light of the Word of God. In like manner receiving it from the doctrine of the old Fathers, by the tradition of Noah's sons, that there should in time come a Man who, taking upon Him the sins of all men, should become a sacrifice for the salvation of all men; and notwithstanding the manner how this should be, they used in great extremities and perils — as plagues, famine, wars, &c. — to offer up men to their gods to appease their wrath thereby. So in Livy we read Quintus Curtius did in a time of pestilence; the Decii, father and son, in a time of hard war with the Latines and Samnites; Codrus, king of the Athenians, in Lycurgus; Menceceus in Euripides, and the daughters of Erecteus offered themselves to be sacrificed for their country. So Ahaz (2 Kings 16.); Manasseh (chap. 2 Kings 21.), and the King of Moab (chap. 2 Kings 3.), their own sons. This was a great mistaking you plainly see, and therefore let it move you to send up thankful thoughts to God for your better knowledge and understanding.

(Bp. Babington.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:

WEB: "When he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat.

And the Goat Shall Bear Upon Him All Their Iniquities unto a Land not Inhabited
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