1. in Jewish legend
, a demon
or evil spirit
to whom, in the ancient rite of Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement
), a scapegoat
was sent bearing the sins of the Jewish people. Two male goats were chosen for the ritual
, one designated by lots "for the Lord," the other "for Azazel" (Leviticus
The ritual was carried out by the high priest in the Second Temple and is described in the Mishna. After the high priest symbolically transferred all the sins of the Jewish people to the scapegoat, the goat destined "for Azazel" was driven into the wilderness and cast over a precipice to its death. Azazel was the personification of uncleanness and in later rabbinic writings was sometimes described as a fallen angel.
2. A demon of the second order, guardian of the goat, described by John Milton as "the standard bearer of rebellious angels by this name" (Paradise Lost, 1, 534). In Islamic demonology Azazel is a djinn, who is cast from heaven for refusing to honour Adam. His name was changed to Eblis, which means 'despair'.
According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel was one of the leaders of the fallen angels who came to earth to mate with mortal women. He supposedly taught men the art of making weapons and introduced women to cosmetics, thus encouraging vanity.