2 Samuel 16-18: Why Long Hair and Treachery is a Bad Combination

In the past few days, we have read about Absalom and his treachery against his father, king David. Today we read of his downfall. In 1 Samuel 17 and 18, Absalom leads the whole host of Israel’s armies against David and his mighty men. During the battle, David’s men caught up to Absalom, and this is what happened:

And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

This would make little sense unless we recall a little detail about Absalom from chapter 14:

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 scut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight.

The dude had some impressive locks, but apparently, he had not cut them recently. As the story continues, David’s men surround Absalom and kill him while he hangs in the tree. It’s not the most dignified way to go, but if you have been reading along, I’m sure you saw it coming. Absalom had allowed his anger toward his father to drive him to act foolishly and pridefully against him. This is what ultimately led to his death.

Absalom should stand as a reminder to us of what happens when our pride causes us to rebel against our King. Absalom’s king was David, but ours is the King of heaven, and our rebellion is infinitely greater. But God, in His outrageous mercy, sent Christ to pay the penalty for our rebellion so that we would be welcomed back into the family of God. God’s grace is greater than our sin. In that we can be sure.

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