Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” The person would answer, “I, your servant, am from one of the tribes of Israel.” Absalom would then say to him, “Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate. But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you.”
[2 Sam 15:2-3 NET]
Absalom perverted good things to base and ignoble uses. For example, early rising is a good thing, when one rises to begin a day of beautiful living. Absalom rose early to ply his arts of treachery.
Sympathy is a good thing. One can do no Christlier work than to go among those who are overwrought, speaking cheering, strengthening words. To take by the hand one who has fallen in some misfortune, and be a brother to him, helping him to rise; is a noble thing to do.
But Absalom only pretended to be the people’s friend that he might get their confidence and then use them in his wicked plot to seize his father’s throne. He lost no opportunity, when any one was dissatisfied, to pity him, and hint how different it would be if only he were king.
There is no baser treachery than this, and we all need to be on our guard continually, lest, by half–conscious disparagement, we destroy the influence of others and do them irreparable injury.