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Avenger of Blood (Heb. goel , from verb gaal , "to be near of kin," "to redeem"), the nearest relative of a murdered person. It was his right and duty to slay the murderer (Sa2 14:7, Sa2 14:11) if he found him outside of a city of refuge. In order that this law might be guarded against abuse, Moses appointed six cities of refuge (Exo 21:13; Num 35:13; Deu 19:1, Deu 19:9). These were in different parts of the country, and every facility was afforded the manslayer that he might flee to the city that lay nearest him for safety. Into the city of refuge the avenger did not dare to follow him. This arrangement applied only to cases where the death was not premeditated. The case had to be investigated by the authorities of the city, and the willful murderer was on no account to be spared. He was regarded as an impure and polluted person, and was delivered up to the goel (Deu 19:11). If the offense was merely manslaughter, then the fugitive must remain within the city till the death of the high priest (Num 35:25).

Avim A people dwelling in Hazerim, or "the villages" or "encampments" on the south-west corner of the sea-coast (Deu 2:23). They were subdued and driven northward by the Caphtorim. A trace of them is afterwards found in Jos 13:3, where they are called Avites.

Awl An instrument only referred to in connection with the custom of boring the ear of a slave (Exo 21:6; Deu 15:17), in token of his volunteering perpetual service when he might be free. (Compare Psa 40:6; Isa 50:5).

Axe Used in the Authorized Version of Deu 19:5; Deu 20:19; Kg1 6:7, as the translation of a Hebrew word which means "chopping." It was used for felling trees (Isa 10:34) and hewing timber for building. It is the rendering of a different word in Jdg 9:48, Sa1 13:20, Sa1 13:21, Psa 74:5, which refers to its sharpness. In Kg2 6:5 it is the translation of a word used with reference to its being made of iron. In Isa 44:12 the Revised Version renders by "axe" the Hebrew maatsad, which means a "hewing" instrument. In the Authorized Version it is rendered "tongs." It is also used in Jer 10:3, and rendered "axe." The "battle-axe" (army of Medes and Persians) mentioned in Jer 51:20 was probably, as noted in the margin of the Revised Version, a "maul" or heavy mace. In Psa 74:6 the word so rendered means "feller." (See the figurative expression in Mat 3:10; Luk 3:9.)

Azal (Zac 14:5) should perhaps be rendered "very near" = "the way of escape shall be made easy." If a proper name, it may denote some place near the western extremity of the valley here spoken of near Jerusalem.

Azariah Whom Jehovah helps. (1.) Son of Ethan, of the tribe of Judah (Ch1 2:8). (2.)Son of Ahimaaz, who succeeded his grandfather Zadok as high priest (Ch1 6:9; Kg1 4:2) in the days of Solomon. He officiated at the consecration of the temple (Ch1 6:10). (3.)The son of Johanan, high priest in the reign of Abijah and Asa (Ch2 6:10, Ch2 6:11). (4.)High priest in the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah (Kg2 14:21; Ch2 26:17). He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Joel. (5.)High priest in the days of Hezekiah (Ch2 31:10). Of the house of Zadok. (6.)Several other priests and Levites of this name are mentioned (Ch1 6:36; Ezr 7:1; Ch1 9:11; Neh 3:23, etc.). (7.)The original name of Abed-nego (Dan 1:6, Dan 1:7, Dan 1:11, Dan 1:16). He was of the royal family of Judah, and with his other two companions remarkable for his personal beauty and his intelligence as well as piety. (8.)The son of Oded, a remarkable prophet in the days of Asa (Ch2 15:1). He stirred up the king and the people to a great national reformation.

Azazel (Lev 16:8, Lev 16:10, Lev 16:26, Revised Version only here; rendered "scape-goat" in the Authorized Version). This word has given rise to many different views. Some Jewish interpreters regard it as the name of a place some 12 miles east of Jerusalem, in the wilderness. Others take it to be the name of an evil spirit, or even of Satan. But when we remember that the two goats together form a type of Christ, on whom the Lord "laid the iniquity of us all," and examine into the root meaning of this word (viz., "separation"), the interpretation of those who regard the one goat as representing the atonement made, and the other, that "for Azazel," as representing the effect of the great work of atonement (viz., the complete removal of sin), is certainly to be preferred. The one goat which was "for Jehovah" was offered as a sin-offering, by which atonement was made. But the sins must also be visibly banished, and therefore they were symbolically laid by confession on the other goat, which was then "sent away for Azazel" into the wilderness. The form of this word indicates intensity, and therefore signifies the total separation of sin: it was wholly carried away. It was important that the result of the sacrifices offered by the high priest alone in the sanctuary should be embodied in a visible transaction, and hence the dismissal of the "scape-goat." It was of no consequence what became of it, as the whole import of the transaction lay in its being sent into the wilderness bearing away sin. As the goat "for Jehovah" was to witness to the demerit of sin and the need of the blood of atonement, so the goat "for Azazel" was to witness to the efficacy of the sacrifice and the result of the shedding of blood in the taking away of sin.

Azaziah Whom Jehovah strengthened. (1.) One of the Levitical harpers in the temple (Ch1 15:21). (2.) The father of Hoshea, who was made ruler over the Ephraimites (Ch1 27:20). (3.) One who had charge of the temple offerings (Ch2 31:13).

Azekah Dug over, a town in the Shephelah or low hills of Judah (Jos 15:35), where the five confederated Amoritish kings were defeated by Joshua and their army destroyed by a hailstorm (Jos 10:10, Jos 10:11). It was one of the places re-occupied by the Jews on their return from the Captivity (Neh 11:30)

Azel Noble, a descendant of king Saul (Ch1 8:37; Ch1 9:43, Ch1 9:44).