A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

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.


  1. Seeing Clearly

    I was married to an Absalom. I have spent years in therapy, first to simply stand on my own two feet. I read voraciously, trying to understand myself and him. He was the charismatic minister. He railed on me for the cost of nice clothes, but loved to wear them, never returning them to the store. No one stood up to him, he could deceive the best of them. There was no internet when the marriage began. Even with access to Christian bookstores, no one has really published books about the Absaloms in ministry. I was married for [over three decades] and now [almost a decade] on the other side of divorce, blogs and articles on the web are helping me make sense of my life. I am no longer depressed, live in freedom, share with and care for others. It is easy to get up every day and thankfulness pours from my heart. Thank you for speaking truth.

    • Brenda R

      Seeing Clearly, What a testimony. I am glad that you are away from the dark side and your heart healed. It is truly wonderful to feel free to serve the Lord outside the invisible prison.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Seeing Clearly, So glad that you are out of the terrible situation now living in Christian freedom and helping others. Yes, there is a better life after one navigates out of the abuse. God delivers his people and your thankfulness is a beautiful testimony to his goodness. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Brenda R

    Good sermon, Pastor. I find it odd that Absalom named his daughter Tamar. It seems that he took his sister, Tamar in not for her sake, but for his own. He may have wanted Amnon out of the way, leaving him in line for the throne. Or so he thought. This was an opportunity for him to seek vengence on Amnon an remove him from the royal line. He never stopped to think what God’s plan was.

    Oh yes, I have known an Absalom. I married one. It was nothing but trouble.

  3. Annie

    Great timing, Jeff! I have just been reading those chapters of the Bible myself, and found myself struck by those very thoughts.

  4. loves6

    My husband is a covert Narcissitic … All behind closed doors. I am told also that he has fixation and OCD issues. Everyone loves him. I am now at the feeling sick in the stomach, literally, also other manifestations of trauma physically. My body is saying NO MORE ABUSE… especially sexual and of course verbal and emotional. Done thing has died inside me…something that is so hard to describe.
    I have never had a vision before … Last week I was considering Narcissim … While my eyes were open I saw an evil looking monsters face, with glowing yellow eyes. It had snake like skin, scaly green, black. It has sharp spikes like a dinosaur around its neck. This picture was crystal clear. I knew God was showing me that I am dealing with Satan. I am dealing with an evil man … My husband thinks he is so right, thinks he is the best father and husband yet he is so evil.

    • Brenda R

      My body is saying NO MORE ABUSE loves6, Hugs and Prayers while you make decisions to make this happen.

      • loves6

        Yes Brenda I am finding strength and courage daily. It’s when he starts being sweet and tries to affectionate I struggle. I know he ‘trying’ but it feels so syrupy and insincere

      • it feels so syrupy and insincere . . . like bananas stapled on to an apple tree? That’s the image Rev Chris Moles uses.

      • Brenda R

        Loves6, I can relate. The X tries to make me think that he has always loved me and that he loves me now more than he ever has. We have not lived together for over a year now and divorced since November. I rarely see him and he has no idea how much my life has changed, but he has an email address that I cannot get rid of. I don’t want to complain about it at work. People are canned for less than that these days. So I keep my mouth shut and don’t respond, but he doesn’t give up. I know none of it is true. A person who truly loves someone doesn’t do and say the awful things these abusers do and expect the other person to believe it is love. It isn’t. It is just there way of keeping you in their web and being able to continue the evil they started.

    • What a powerful vision, loves6! I bet you will never forget that image!

      • loves6

        No Barbara, I never will. I drew the image straight after I saw it. I have also photographed it so I can be reminded. It was very powerful indeed!!

  5. Raped By Evil

    Another great nugget of truth you’ve managed to pull from God’s word Pastor Crippen, that has so much more meaning when examined more closely.

    Absalom did what many abusers do and set himself up in opposition to someone else (his father David). When they stand alone, by themselves, they can often be seen for what they truly are and most people wouldn’t have given such a vain, arrogant man any attention let alone credibility. But because he was David’s son, people were probably more willing to listen to him. And Absalom’s platform was only able to be successful because he launched (played) himself off of David.

    My sister does this. Without using me to garner sympathy by stories she’s manufactured and twisted to make her look like the victim, she would be seen for the selfish, mean, abusive, creepy and obviously jealous-of-everybody-person that she is. But because of her stories, people don’t “blame” her or make her responsible for her actions cuz she’s “obviously” had such a bad childhood.

    And Absalom’s hair! It’s quite fitting that it would be by his hair that he would be trapped and then killed.

    Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going……Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. 2 Samuel 18:9, 14-15

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