6 – A Scapegoat

Fifty common expressions that originated from the Bible that influence our language today.

A scapegoat – “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat” (Leviticus 18:8 also see verses 10 and 26). This is the only chapter in the Bible in which the word occurs (4 times).

The original meaning was the “escape goat” which would carry away the sins of the nation of Israel on the Day of Atonement. Today it has the connotation of someone who is blamed or punished for the mistakes or sins of others. The first time it was used in a secular sense was in 1824, in the book, “Our Village,” by Mary Russell Mitford. The first time it was recorded in Australia was when Prime Minister, John Curtin, stated that he would not use the Commander in Chief, Sir Iven Mackey, as a “scapegoat” surrounding the controversy of the “Brisbane Line” (Canberra Times, 29/May/1943).

Making someone or something “the scapegoat” is popular politically (Stalin blamed Leon Trotsky for all of his political ills, Hitler blamed the Jews and most incoming political parties blame the previous government for all of their problems); in sports (coaches blame referees; the nation of Brazil blamed Andres Escobar for its nation’s loss in the 1994 World Cup, he was later shot); business (when something goes wrong, there always has to be the “fall-guy” to blame).

Here is a theological question for you, who do you think best represents the “scapegoat” in typology, Christ or Barabbas?

Posted in Influence

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