Absalom’s Hair: The Deceptive Nature of Abusers
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
2Sa 14:25-27 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.
2Sa 15:1-6 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
Absalom had an evil past. In disobedience to his father, King David, he murdered his brother Amnon out of vengeance for Amnon’s rape of Absalom’s sister, Tamar. After a time of exile, and due to the workings of his own intrigues and conspiracies, Absalom was able to deceive David and was received back. It was then that he actively began his work of sedition to overthrow his father, the King. Absalom wanted power and control. He was a rank narcissist and was quite willing to do whatever was necessary to get that power.
Please make careful note of the pattern we see here in Absalom because it is the age old pattern of the evil one. Satan desires to be “like the Most High,” and that is exactly what Absalom wanted. He wanted the Davidic throne for himself. See the pattern in him:
- He was handsome. So handsome that he was praised for his appearance
- He was vain (a narcissist). Imagine him showing off his flowing hair as he flew by in his chariot for all to see
- He strategically placed himself in a position where he could covertly criticize David and exalt himself
- He appealed to people who were vulnerable – to people who had some kind of dispute or cause that they wanted resolved
- Absalom placed himself, with no authorization to do so, in the place of the rightful authorities
The result? “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” Civil war and death resulted.
I have met Absalom. More than once. And so have most all of you. We know that abusers, in their quest for power and control, use many tactics including the gaining of allies to their side, and against the abuse victim. They do this, at least initially, in a covert manner. And they do it all the while taking advantage of their victim’s kind heart. David should have known to keep a watch on Absalom. He knew his son’s wicked history. But the king was apparently “hoping for the best” for his son. That was a serious mistake.
Abusers put on a glowing facade. Absalom’s hair. Absalom’s physique. Absalom’s chariot and horses and band of men. Absalom’s false “care” for the people. He looked good. What material for a king! The people fell for it. We are warned of these tactics many, many times in Scripture. Beware of Absalom’s hair.
And Absalom, like most abusers, could really shine when it came to flattering people and putting on a “godly” disguise. The people fell for his flattery as well. They listened to his line. They failed to ask Absalom some hard questions: “Has your father given you permission to be doing this? He is king, Absalom. You are not.”
There are numbers of abuser case studies in God’s Word just like this account of Absalom. Of course in the big picture, the history of redemption in Jesus Christ the Davidic King, the story of Absalom is the account of still another of the devil’s attempts to destroy the line of the Messiah and usurp the throne of David for himself. Absalom was one of his agents. But we can also learn very much from these histories of narcissistic abusers to make us wise in standing against them. Satan’s schemes really do not change. We have the Scriptures and therefore we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of the enemy’s devices.
Abusers stand at the gates of the city. They place themselves in strategic positions so that they can gain a following for themselves to assist them in the destruction of their victims. And they look goooooood. So often, they look like eminent saints, the pillars of the local church, a godly husband and father who is a model for all. Every genuine pastor will experience the conspiracies of an Absalom. A genuine Christian who marries one will suffer greatly. And except in the rarest of cases where wise people recognize what an Absalom is really up to, targets of the abuser will suffer even more at the hands of church members, relatives, friends, and even their own children who Absalom has won over to his cause.
Don’t believe it. Ask the right questions. Beware of Absalom’s hair. Beware of Absalom’s words as he stands in the gate. Don’t you become his ally.