THE SOLDIERS DID IT
But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal. -- 1 Samuel 15:21
Strongly criticized by Samuel for taking spoils after his successful attack on the Amalekites, Saul answered by blaming his soldiers, and then giving them a lame motivation - that they took it in order to sacrifice it to the Lord.
“He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
“Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.
“Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell, and make it a sin offering.
“But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
“Then Aaron shall offer the the bull of the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.
“He shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil.
“He shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, otherwise he will die.
“Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
“Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.
“He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
“When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.
“Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides.
“With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and from the impurities of the sons of Israel consecrate it.
“When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat.
“Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
“The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. --Leviticus 16:7-22
The ritual of the scapegoat which bore the sins of the people represents a mentality that is strange to us - but not strange to our behavior is our disposition to reject responsibility for our sins, and to place blame on other through rationalization.