“The biblical concept of forgiveness presumes, in its oldest strata, that sin is a malefic force that adheres to the sinner and that forgiveness is the divine means for removing it. This is demonstrated by the vocabulary of forgiveness which, in the main, stems from the cultic terminology of cleansing.. e.g., tiher (“purify”; Jer. 33:8); maḥah (“wipe”; lsa. 43:25); kibbes, raḥaẓ (“wash”; Isa. 1:16; Ps. 51:4, 9); kipper (“purge”; Ezek. 16:63; Ps. 78:38). Even the most common verb for forgiveness, salaḥ, probably derives from the Mesopotamian cult where it connotes sprinkling in purification rites. More significantly, the most prominent epithet of God in His role of forgiver is ‘he who ‘lifts off sin’..” http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/forgiveness
See also the ancient Greek ritual of Pharmakos. Two ‘scape-goats’, humans (later goats) who were ritually beaten, or, some say, sacrificed. ‘Beating is expulsive. You beat a bush, a bird escapes; you beat a garment, the dust comes out; you beat a man, the evil whatever it is , will surely emerge.’* Then reference Azazel, the Jewish ceremony of ritual cleansing via two goats. First, the blood offering, one goat sacrificed to God, then the ‘cleaning out’ the other goat driven out into the wilderness after confession.
* Jane Ellen Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. The Pharmakos, pp100