And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat
Or unto Azazel; who or what Azazel is, (See Gill on Leviticus 16:10) and (See Gill on Leviticus 16:21); for the goat and Azazel are different, not the same, nor to be confounded as they are in our version: shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water;
in forty seahs of water, according to the Targum of Jonathan; so unclean was this person reckoned by what he had to do with the goat sent away by him; which, in a typical and ceremonial sense, had all the sins of the people of Israel on it: and he and his garments were defiled as soon as he could be said to be letting go; and that was, as Gersom says, as soon as he was out of the city; for as long as he was in the city he was in the place from whence the motion was made, but as soon as he was out of it he was in the way, and then he began to be in that motion, and might be then called, "he that let him go": and from that time the clothes he had on were defiled; according to the Misnah F16, from the time he was got without the walls of Jerusalem: and afterwards come into the camp;
of Israel, while in the wilderness, and into the city in later times, and so into the sanctuary, and enjoyed all civil and religious privileges as another man: and something like this obtained among the Heathens, as has been observed by many learned men, particularly out of Porphyry F17; who says, all divines agree in this, that such sacrifices as were offered for averting evils were not to be touched, but such needed purifications; nor might any such an one go into the city; nor into his own house, before he had washed his clothes and his body in a river or in a fountain: all this may be an emblem of those who were concerned in having Christ without the gates of Jerusalem to be crucified, and who afterwards, being sensible of their sin, not only had forgiveness of it and were washed from it in the blood of Christ, but, being baptized in water, were admitted into the church of God, ( Acts 2:37 Acts 2:38 ) ; and in general may show the nature of sin, that such who have anything to do with any who have it on them, though only in a ceremonial way, are defiled by it, and need washing; and also the imperfection of ceremonial rites and sacrifices to take away sin.
F16 Misn. Yoma, c. 6. sect. 6.
F17 De Abstinentia, l. 2. c. 44.