Scapegoat


  “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.   
    He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 
   The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness."  Leviticus 16: 20 - 22

We're getting deep into March Madness here - basketball tournaments at the high school and collegiate level are getting all kinds of attention.

There are "heroes" who win the big games.  And then, there are the scapegoats.

We use that term primarily in sports and politics these days - they are the individuals who are assigned blame.

It might be after a natural disaster.  Remember Katrina, in the midst of the tragedy there seemed to be a ferocious pursuit of someone we could hold responsible for the lives and properties lost in the storm.

It might be after an election.  In elections, the losing party couldn't be at fault themselves - so they look for a reason or person to blame. 

It might be after your parents scolded you as a child for doing something.  Your response might have been to blame your little brother or sister or just to look up and say you didn't do it.

It might be after the tying run is left on third base.  The batter, the coach, the previous batter who failed to drive in the run were all assigned fault.  Nevermind that a couple extra runs earlier in the game could have eliminated any late inning drama.

Scapegoats can be found in the workplace.  The leader or employees let go after a disappointing year or quarter. 

The origin of the word surpised me initially.  It's quite interesting to see how many phrases and words entered into our language from the Bible. 

The scapegoat figuratively had the sins of the people placed on its head and banished from their known world.

We tend to use the term more loosely these days, and I think that's OK.  But coming across it here recently, it caught my eye.  So, I wanted to share it with you.   

Here's a little challenge for you this week - try to identify other words or phrases that have a link to the Bible.