Leviticus 16: 5-10 describes an ancient ritual in which a goat was symbolically laden with the sins of the people and driven out into the desert to the demon Azazel. In early English translations confusion led to this goat being called a “scapegoat” (for “escaped goat”). A person or cause being sacrificed as a victim to spare others is therefore referred to as a scapegoat. You load the burdens on; you don’t scrape them off.
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