Whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 2 Samuel 15:5
Hugs and kisses for everyone from Absalom—except for his father, the king! This was an all-out charm offensive to win the hearts and minds of God’s people. It revolved around cultivating an image and wooing everyone with his charm.
Absalom spent four years fostering discontent with the king and building a following for himself, and then he made his move. One day he comes to the king and says, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron” (15:7). He explains that while he was in Geshur, he had made a vow, saying, “If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the Lord” (15:8).
What a strange vow this is! “If God gives me what I want, then I will worship him.” That tells you a great deal about Absalom. He used the name of God as a means to an end, and that, of course, is a misuse of the name of God.
Hebron was the place where David was first crowned as king. But far from going there to fulfill a vow and worship God, Absalom went there to launch a rebellion against God’s anointed king. Absalom had taken with him 200 invited guests, but they had no idea of what they were getting swept up in: “They went in their innocence and knew nothing” (15:11). They were deceived.
One way you know a deceiver is that he presents himself as the answer: “Oh that I were judge in the land!” (15:4). Beware of the person who affirms every grievance, promises what they cannot deliver, and presents him or herself as the answer.
Have you ever been wooed and deceived by somebody’s charm?