In Leviticus 16:8 (NASB)

Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.

What is "cast lots" in this context?

1 Answer 1


"Cast Lots" is not a hebrew phrase used in Leviticus 16:8. - In the Tanakh, [Leviticus 16:8] states :

"and Aharon shall put upon [the] two goats : Goralot. one marked for YHVH and the other marked for Azazel." ( וְנָתַ֧ן אַהֲרֹ֛ן עַל־שְׁנֵ֥י הַשְּׂעִירִ֖ם גּוֹרָל֑וֹת גּוֹרָ֤ל אֶחָד֙ לַיהוָ֔ה וְגוֹרָ֥ל אֶחָ֖ד לַעֲזָאזֵֽל )

"Goralot" גּוֹרָל֑וֹת is the Hebrew word used for "Lots".

Instead of using urim & thummim to decide which goat would be designated for YHVH or exiled to the Azazel mountain, Rashi explains how Aharon put the lots on each goat :

‎‎‎‎‏ השעירים גרלות‎שני ‎על ‎‎ אהרן ‎ונתן AND AARON SHALL CAST LOTS UPON THE TWO GOATS — He places one goat at his right and the other at his left. He then puts both his hands into an urn and takes one lot in his right hand and the other in his left. These he places upon them (the goats; i.e. one upon each of them). The goat upon which there fell that lot bearing the inscription 'לה, "For the Lord" was destined for the Lord, and that upon which there fell that lot bearing the inscription "For Azazel" was afterwards sent forth to the Azazel (Yoma 39a).
[ https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.16.8?with=Rashi&lang=bi&aliyot=0 ]

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