|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:15-34 Here are typified the two great gospel privileges, of the remission of sin, and access to God, both of which we owe to our Lord Jesus. See the expiation of guilt. Christ is both the Maker and the Matter of the atonement; for he is the Priest, the High Priest, that makes reconciliation for the sins of the people. And as Christ is the High Priest, so he is the Sacrifice with which atonement is made; for he is all in all in our reconciliation to God. Thus he was figured by the two goats. The slain goat was a type of Christ dying for our sins; the scape-goat a type of Christ rising again for our justification. The atonement is said to be completed by putting the sins of Israel upon the head of the goat, which was sent away into a wilderness, a land not inhabited; and the sending away of the goat represented the free and full remission of their sins. He shall bear upon him all their iniquities. Thus Christ, the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world, by taking it upon himself, Joh 1:29. The entrance into heaven, which Christ made for us, was typified by the high priest's entrance into the most holy place. See Heb 9:7. The high priest was to come out again; but our Lord Jesus ever lives, making intercession, and always appears in the presence of God for us. Here are typified the two great gospel duties of faith and repentance. By faith we put our hands upon the head of the offering; relying on Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, pleading his satisfaction, as that which alone is able to atone for our sins, and procure us a pardon. By repentance we afflict our souls; not only fasting for a time from the delights of the body, but inwardly sorrowing for sin, and living a life of self-denial, assuring ourselves, that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. By the atonement we obtain rest for our souls, and all the glorious liberties of the children of God. Sinner, get the blood of Christ effectually applied to thy soul, or else thou canst never look God in the face with any comfort or acceptance. Take this blood of Christ, apply it by faith, and see how it atones with God.
Verse 26. - The man that let go the goat which served for a remover of sins is to wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh before he comes into the camp. This is not ordered on account of any special defilement attaching to the scapegoat, but only because it had been the symbolical sin-bearer, and therefore conveyed legal uncleanness by its touch. The man who bore the flesh of the ether goat to be burnt had to do exactly the same thing (verse 25).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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 (p), 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 (q); 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; 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.
(p) Misn. Yoma, c. 6. sect. 6. (q) De Abstinentia, l. 2. c. 44.
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