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 chidden and 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 Lord,
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 escape.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894