The Biajùs or aborigenes of Borneo observe a custom bearing a
considerable resemblance to that of the scapegoat. They annually launch
a small bark laden with all the sins and misfortunes of the nation,
which, says Dr. Leyden, “they imagine will fall on the unhappy crew
that first meets with it.”
The scapegoat of the family.
One made to bear the blame of the rest of the family; one always
found fault with, let who may be in the wrong. The allusion is to a
Jewish custom: Two goats being brought to the altar of the tabernacle
on the Day of Atonement, the high priest cast lots; one was for the
and the other for Azazel.
The goat on which the first
lot fell was sacrificed, the other was the scapegoat; and the high
priest having, by confession, transferred his own sins and the sins of
the people to it, the goat was taken to the wilderness and suffered to
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894