Azazel [ə-ˈzā-zəl], also spelled Azazael (Hebrew: עֲזָאזֵל, Azazel; Arabic: عزازيل , Azāzīl) appears in the Bible in association with the scapegoat rite. In some traditions of Judaism and Christianity, it is the name for a fallen angel. In Rabbinic Judaism it is not a name of an entity but rather means literally “for the complete removal”, i.e., designating the goat to be cast out into the wilderness as opposed to the goat sacrificed “for YHWH“.
In the Bible, the term is used thrice in Leviticus 16, where two he-goats were to be sacrificed to Yahweh and one of the two was selected by lot, for Yahweh is seen as speaking through the lots. The next words are לַעֲזָאזֵל la-aza’zeyl, read either as “for absolute removal” or as “for Azazel”. This goat was then cast out in the desert as part ofthe Day of Atonement.
In older English versions such as the King James Version the word azazeyl is translated as “as a scapegoat”, however in most modern English Bible versions the word azazeyl is represented as a name in the text:
6 Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.