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  • Writer's pictureSharon


Updated: Dec 12, 2022


In previous chapters we have discovered the Ram of Daniel 8:3-7 to be a prophetic symbol for the kings of Medo-Persia and also for Jesus Christ. We discovered that these kings were to be God’s servants for the re-building of His house of worship and the restoring of a government under God. A Ram is also a type of goat. Daniel 8 is a picture of controversy. Now we shall discover the He-goat of Daniel 8:5-8 to be a symbol of a power in opposition to the Ram. Since that opposing power is represented in Daniel 8 by a He-goat, in this chapter we will study what the Bible has to say about goats.

Daniel 8:5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a -notable horn between his eyes.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.


Below, we will look at the meanings of the different words used for the He-goat of Daniel 8. This will give us a clue how to use Scripture to find out more about the character of the He-goat of Daniel 8.

There are two Hebrew words used for he-goat in Daniel 8:5. The first is the word “aze” and the second is “tsaphiyr”. Look at their meanings from the Strong’s Concordance below.

Daniel 8:5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a -notable horn between his eyes.

The Hebrew word “Aze” is used 74 times in scripture and refers to a term often used for a kid goat (used in sacrificial services), a she goat, or goat’s hair.

GOAT H5795

1) H5795 עֵז ʻêz, aze; from H5810; a she-goat (as strong), but masculine in plural (which also is used elliptically for goat's hair):—(she) goat, kid.

The Hebrew word “Tsaphiyr” occurs 5 times total in Hebrew Scripture, three of which are in Daniel 8. The other two times it occurs are in relation to sacrificial sin offerings. It specifically refers to a male goat.

GOAT H6843:

2) H6842 צָפִיר tsâphîyr, tsaw-feer'; from H6852; a male goat (as prancing):—(he) goat.

In Daniel 8:21 the Hebrew word “saiyr”, meaning “rough”, is also used to describe this He-goat of Daniel 8:5.


H8163 שָׂעִיר sâʻîyr, saw-eer'; or שָׂעִר sâʻir; from H8175; shaggy; as noun, a he-goat; by analogy, a faun:—devil, goat, hairy, kid, rough, satyr.

Daniel 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

The Hebrew word “Saiyr” or “rough” is used for goat 59 times in Hebrew scripture referring often to a hairy buck as a sacrificial offering or referring to demons.



I would like to focus on two stories and one sacrificial service in the Bible where goats played a significant role. I have highlighted the words which point out the goats in the stories.

The first story is found in Genesis 27. Rebecca, the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob convinces Jacob to deceive his father by means of a goat.

Genesis 27:6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,

7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.

8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. 9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:

10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.

11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:

12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.

13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.

14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.

15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:

16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:

17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who artthou, my son?

19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.

21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.

22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.

24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.

25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.

The second story is found in Genesis 37. The brothers of Joseph convince Jacob that Joseph is dead by means of a goat.

Genesis 37: 31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.

33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

In both instances above, goats were used to do a work of deceit. Deceit was accomplished with the skin, meat or blood of a goat. In the first story Jacob deceives his father and in the second story Jacob is deceived by his children.

The Bible is clear that Satan is the master and father of deceit. Just as Jacob and Rebecca used the skin of a goat to deceive Isaac, Satan deceives us, even with his external covering, coming to us appearing as an angel of light or even pretending to be God Himself.

And Satan literally did come as an angel of light to Christ on the mount of temptation.

Joseph’s brothers deceived their father by dipping Josephs coat of many colors into goat’s blood, pretending it to be Joseph’s blood, pretending Him to be dead when he had been removed from the pit and sold to Ishmaelites. Similarly, the Bible tells us the Jewish leaders, when Christ was resurrected from the pit or grave of this earth, propagated a story of deception pretending Christ to be dead, hiring people to say that his disciples had stolen the body away.


A rough goat was used in the case of a ruler who sinned through ignorance for a sin offering. But if a common person sinned it was a female goat used for a sin offering (Leviticus 4:27-28).

Leaders are represented prophetically by he-goats. Some example scriptures are below:

Isaiah 14:9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

Zechariah 10:3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Jeremiah 50:8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.

The Hebrew word for “chief ones” in the Isaiah 14:9 above and in Zechariah 10:3 above is H6260 (attud). It is used 29 times in scripture either referring to a ram, he-goat or ruler.


עַתּוּד ʻattûwd, at-tood'; or עַתֻּד ʻattud; from H6257; prepared, i.e. full grown; spoken only (in plural) of he-goats, or (figuratively) leaders of the people:—chief one, (he) goat, ram.

We need to remember that sin was propagated in this world with the appointed leader of this world, Adam. This sin would be atoned for by Jesus Christ, who took Adam’s place to bring the world back to allegiance to God. But even as Christ took Adam’s place, Satan assumed leadership of our world.

Jesus Christ, and Satan, are both represented by goats in ceremonial law.

In the next passage two “rough” goats were used in the service of the DAY OF ATONEMENT. One as the LORD's GOAT and the other as the LIVE GOAT. The Lord’s goat was used to remove the sins of the people by transferring or confessing them on head of the Lord’s goat as a sin offering. The Lord’s goat carrying the sins of the people was slain. Then the blood of the Lord’s goat was sprinkled on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat and on the horns of the altar of incense as an atonement. Finally, the sins were then figuratively transferred by the high priest to the head of the scapegoat. Then the scapegoat was forever separated from the sanctuary and camp of God to a land not inhabited. The scapegoat did not atone for the sins by his blood. But the sins of the people were ultimately transferred to him. This represents the responsibility of Satan for all sin. Sin causes separation from God. Being separated from God, the Life Giver, is eternal death.

Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.

10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness......

15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:

16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness........

18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.

19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:

21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.........

27 And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.

The Hebrew word for atonement is kippur and comes from the root word kaphar which means to expiate or reconcile.


כִּפֻּר kippur, kip-poor'; from H3722; expiation (only in plural):—atonement.


כָּפַר kâphar, kaw-far'; a primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel:—appease, make (an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile(-liation).

What this DAY OF ATONEMENT ceremony involving the goats was representative of, is explained in the following New Testament passage with the synonymous words MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION. ATONEMENT means TO RECONCILE.

2 Corinthians 5: 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The ceremonial Jewish law was about removal of sin. Each day, in repentance, sinners brought an offering representing Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, to the door of the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:4). The sinner placed their hands upon the head of the offering, confessing their sins, figuratively transferring their sin from themselves to the innocent sacrifice (Leviticus 4:4). The offering was then slain because “without shedding of blood,” says the apostle, “there is no remission of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22). “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11). The broken law of God demanded the life of the transgressor (Romans 6:23). The blood, representing the death of the sinner, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. (Leviticus 4:6,17; Hebrews 9:3-4). By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. This work went on day by day, throughout the year. The sins of Israel were in this way transferred, by the blood of the victim, to the sanctuary, and a special work became necessary for their removal or for the cleansing of the sanctuary.

It is well to remember that the sanctuary represented Israel then. Today the sanctuary represents the church of God. (Exodus 25:8; 1 Corinthians 3:17). Both are to be patterned after the sanctuary of heaven (Exodus 25:9; Hebrews 9:8-9,11,23). By prayers of repentance, sinners today, continue to transfer their sins in faith to Christ, the Lamb of God, as the substitute Victim Who died for their sin (1 John 1:9). By making His soul an offering for sin, the sinner acknowledges the authority of the law of God, confessing their guilt in transgression of the law, and expressing their desire for forgiveness through faith in Christ as their Redeemer (Isaiah 53:10).

But, the Old Testament church, to be cleansed or entirely released from the condemnation of the law, had to go by faith with the high priest, as their mediator, on the Day of Atonement, into the Most Holy Place with the blood of the sin offering Victim. That blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat (meaning cover or expiation), directly over the law to make satisfaction or atonement for the claims of the law (Leviticus 16). Even so today, to experience a full cleansing of our personal sanctuary temples, or hearts, we must go by faith with our High Priest, Jesus Christ, on this antitypical Day of Atonement, into the Most Holy Place, or throne room of heaven and our heart, with His blood to be sprinkled upon the mercy seat to cover or expiate us for the claims of the Law of God upon us (Psalms 32:1-6; Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 9:11-14; Hebrews 10:22; Revelation 8:2-4).

Soon, Christ as our High Priest, in His character of Mediator, will, at the close of the antitypical Day of Atonement, take our sins upon Himself, and carry them from the sanctuary (the temple of heaven and our hearts). Placing His hands upon the head of the scape-goat, He will confesses over him all sin, thus in figure transferring them from Himself to the goat, or Satan. By the hands of a fit man, also representing Christ, the scape goat will be led away to a land not inhabited, representing both sin and Satan to be regarded as forever separated or blotted from existence from the presence of God and His people (Leviticus 16:21-22; Ezekiel 28:18-19; Revelation 21:8; 20:10,14).

It is very important to understand that the vision of Daniel 8 is regarding the cleansing of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:14). First Daniel 8 regards the re-building of the sanctuary by the power invested by the Medo-Persian kings (Daniel 8:3-5); secondly Daniel 8 regards the tearing down of the sanctuary later by the Little Horn power (Daniel 8:9-13); following this Daniel 8 regards the cleansing of the sanctuary or Day of Atonement (Daniel 8:14). Furthermore, in the case of the symbolism used in the vision of Daniel 8, we are looking at Day of Atonement symbolism where two he-goats are involved when we look at the ram and the he-goat. A ram is also a type of goat. In Daniel 8 it looks as if the Ram is forever destroyed by the He-goat. But as we shall see, the Mighty Man of Daniel 8 is also a sin offering. He comes as the Lamb of God to remove or take away sin or atone for sin. He is the Foundation or Cornerstone of the temple and He goes on forever!


In a couple cases other than the live goat above the Hebrew word for rough goat, “saiyr” in Daniel 8:21 is translated from Hebrew to English as “devils.”

H8163 rough goat

שָׂעִיר sâʻîyr, saw-eer'; or שָׂעִר sâʻir; from H8175; shaggy; as noun, a he-goat; by analogy, a faun:—devil, goat, hairy, kid, rough, satyr.

Daniel 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

The Hebrew word “saiyr” translated “shaggy” is also used in the two examples below translated “devils” to tell us that this type of “shaggy goat” was also used in sacrificial ceremonies in idol worship.

Leviticus 17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

2 Chronicles 11:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:

15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.

In summary we saw how goats in scripture were used to deceive. In the same way Satan would deceive us regarding the truth about Christ.

We also found that there are two goats in Hebrew ceremonial law. One is the Lord’s goat whose blood shed in figure represented the blood Christ shed for removal of our sins to bring us back to God. The other goat is the scape goat, the figure of which is recipient of all sin representing the final day when Satan is loaded the weight of all sin, forever banishing him from the presence of God and His people to his eternal death.

I hope the passages above give us sufficient examples of the way goats can be symbols of deceit, or idol worship and even of Satan. However, the goat can also be a sin offering representing the work Christ does for us in removing our sins and guilt by His death. As we shall see the He-goat of Daniel 8 works in opposition to the Ram. He does not represent Christ, but Satan spiritually. We have more to learn about his deceitful character from Daniel 8.

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