Jacqueline C.R. De Roo, «Was the Goat for Azazel Destined for the Wrath of God?», Vol. 81 (2000) 233-242
This article is a proposal to read the enigmatic word lz)z(, occurring in Lev 16,8.10.26, as a metathesized form of l)zz( on the basis of textual, semantic and contextual evidence, and to interpret it as a reference to the powerful wrath of God. This interpretation of the expression Azazel fits its biblical context, because the goat for Azazel evidently had an atoning function (Lev 16,10), it was a means to atone for sin (vv. 21-22). Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, making atonement for sin is equated with appeasing Gods wrath (Num 16,46-48; 25,6-13). Likewise, the goat for Azazel, carrying the sins of the people, is for the powerful wrath of God, to placate his anger. The proposed interpretation of the goat for Azazel ritual may also have been in the mind of some post-biblical interpreters, both Jewish and Christian.
religion as represented in the biblical text is clearly monotheistic. Moreover, the noun l) is often used as an abbreviation for Myhl) in reference to the God, i.e. YHWH, especially in compounds13.
In the Hebrew Bible, many compound words consist of a construct relationship, ending in the absolute noun l), God. So the word zz( may well be a noun, standing in construct with l). The most basic meaning of the verbal root zz( is to be strong14 and of its cognate nouns z( and zwz( is strength, power. The words z( and zwz( in some cases also carry the meaning fierceness, sternness15. In a particular context, they may even acquire the sense of furious power or violent anger. In the Hebrew Bible, the words z( and zwz( are at times used to describe the power of Gods anger. In such contexts, they take on the meaning of powerful anger, wrath, a form of divine retribution, expressed through violent force16:
The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him, for good; but his furious power (z() and his wrath is against all them that forsake him (Ezra 8,22).
Because of your intense furious power (z() your enemies cringe before you (Ps 66,3).
Who knows the furious power (z() of your anger and the dread of your wrath? (Ps 90,11)17.
He poured out upon him the fury (hmx) of his anger and the fury (zwz() of battle (Isa 42,25)18.
It is not at all unlikely that in a compound word, especially as a construct noun, zwz( would be contracted to zz(19. In the light of the above analysis, a