Leviticus 16:22 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(22) Unto a land not inhabited.—Literally, unto a land cut off, that is, a place the ground of which is separated from all around it, hence a summit, a peak standing out by itself, a precipice.
In the wilderness.—Where no human beings dwell, but which is the abode of evil spirits. It will be seen that the directions here are simply to conduct the goat into the wilderness, where it is apparently to be let loose to pursue its own course. During the second Temple, however, the authorities decreed that the animal must be destroyed. Accordingly one of the priests who was appointed to execute this mission led the goat to a rock called Zuck, in the wilderness, situate about twelve miles, or ninety furlongs, from Jerusalem. Between the holy city and this steep rock, ten booths were erected at intervals of one mile, and persons were located in every booth to accompany the messenger to the next tent, which was distant a Sabbath day’s journey. From the last booth to the rock, which was double this distance, the messenger had no companion, but he was carefully watched by the occupants of the last booth to see that he performed the ritual according to the prescribed order. On his arrival at the mountain he divided the crimson thread, which was the badge of the goat, into two; one half he fastened to the rock, and the other he tied between the two horns of the victim, and then pushed the animal down the projecting ledge of the rock, when it was dashed to pieces before it reached the bottom. Hereupon the persons stationed at the last booth to watch the proceedings waved linen cloths or white flags, thus signalling from station to station to the priests in the court of the Temple the arrival of the goat at its proper destination.
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.