Leviticus 16:21 - Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Bible Comments

Both his hands. See on Exodus 29:10 Leviticus 1:4. And confess over him; confession of sin being a duty to accompany the sacrifice offered for it, as we see Leviticus 5:5 Numbers 5:7. All their transgressions in all their sins, or, with or according to all their sins; for so the Hebrew particle is oft used. He mentions iniquities, transgressions, and sins, to note sins of all sorts, and that a very free and full confession was to be made, and that the smallest sins needed, and the greatest sins were not excluded from, the benefit of Christ's death here represented. Putting them upon the head of the goat; charging all their sins and the punishment due to them upon the goat, which though only a ceremony, yet being done according to God's appointment, and manifestly pointing at Christ, upon whom their iniquities and punishments were laid, Isaiah 53:5,6, it was available for this end. And hence the heathens took their custom of selecting one beast or man upon whom they laid all their imprecations and curses, and whom they killed as an expiatory sacrifice for their sins, and to prevent their ruin. A fit man; one that knows the wilderness, and the way to it, and what places in it are most convenient for that use. Heb. a man of time, i.e. of years and discretion, who may be trusted with this work. Into the wilderness; which signified the removal of their sins far away, both from the people, and out of God's sight, or from the place of his presence. And here the goat being neglected by all men, and exposed to many hardships and hazards from wild beasts, which were numerous there, might further signify Christ's being forsaken, both by God and by men, even by his own disciples, and the many dangers and sufferings he underwent. The Jews write, that this goat was carried to the mountain called Azazel, whence the goat is so called, Leviticus 16:10; and that there he was cast down headlong; and that the red string by which he was led turned white when God was pleased with the Israelites, otherwise it remained red; and then they mourned all that year. And the ancient Hebrews write, that forty years before the destruction of the temple, which was about the time of Christ's death, this red string turned no more white.

Leviticus 16:21

21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fitd man into the wilderness: