And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats
Which should be slain, and which should be kept alive, and let go: the manner of casting lots, according to the Misnah F1, was this; the high priest went to the east of the court, to the north of the altar, the Sagan (or deputy priest) at his right hand, and Rosh Beth Ab (or the chief of the house of the fathers) on his left hand, and the two goats were there; and there was a vessel (box or urn, called Calphi), and in it were two lots of box tree: the high priest shook the Calphi (or urn) and took out the two lots; one, on which was written, "for the Lord", and the other, on which was written, "for Azazel"; if that came up on the right hand, the Sagan said to him, my lord high priest, lift up thy right hand on high; and if that on the left hand came up, Rosh Beth Ab said to him, my lord high priest, lift up thy left hand on high: he put them upon the two goats and said, a sin offering for the Lord; and they answered after him, blessed be the Lord, may the glory of his kingdom be for ever and ever: now these lots, as Ben Gersom observes, were alike, not one greater than another; and they were of the same matter, for if one had been of stone and the other of wood, they might, have been known by feeling, and so the lots would not have been legal: and the same is observed by Maimonides F2, that though they might be of any matter, of wood, or stone, or metal, yet one might not be great, and the other small, and the one of silver, and the other of gold, but both alike, for the reason before given: one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat:
one had written upon it, as in the above account, "for the Lord"; and the other had written upon it, "for Azazel"; directing that the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell was to be slain and offered up for a sin offering to him; and the other, on which the lot for Azazel fell, was to be kept alive and let go: now, however casual and contingent the casting of a lot may seem to men, it is certain to God, the disposal of it is of him, and according to his determination, ( Proverbs 16:33 ) ; and this, in the mystical sense, here denotes, that the sufferings and death of Christ were according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and so were foretold in the Scriptures, and came to pass according to his appointment, will, and command, as was also his resurrection from the dead, ( John 10:18 ) ; see ( Acts 1:23 ) ( 4:28 ) ( 1 Corinthians 15:3 1 Corinthians 15:4 ) ; and likewise his conflict with Satan, ( John 14:30 John 14:31 ) .
F1 Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 9. & c. 4. sect. 1.
F2 Hilchot Yom Hacippurim, c. 3. sect. 1.