Old Testament

Today we use the word  “scapegoat” if we think of a person who must suffer for sins of other people.  Anybody can become a victim if all the other people around him/her agree on it. Often these are the weak or the different people against whom all the others act.

In times of the Old Testament, the scapegoat-ritual was performed by the People of Israel to pay off their own sins and to get reconciliation or do penance for their sins. (Lev. 16, 1-34) By laying on hands all the sins of the people were put on a goat symbolically. Then the goat was banished from their midst and driven into the desert where it died.
The break out of aggression and rivalry which threatened the peace of the community was turned on a victim. They suppressed their own sins by putting it  on  another one, a goat, to get things straightened out within themselves and within their  community. By this action everybody could feel free of anxiety and sins and create a new social order. The scapegoat-system was peace making, however often the truth didn’t come to light by it so that peace was often short-lived. A connection between collective sins, violence and the scapegoat-ritual can be seen clearly by stoning.

Above all with Jesus it becomes clear that people do not fulfil the will of God  by doing these acts but  they suppressed their own sins when getting violent against others. (Joh. 8,1-11)