See D. Winton Thomas, “kelebh ‘Dog’: Its Origin and Some Usages of It in the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum 10 (1960), pp. 410–427.


The tense and mood of the verb are somewhat uncertain.


On biblical law and custom relating to the family, see Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel (New York/Toronto: McGraw Hill, 1961), pp. 19–61.


Merab is definitely promised; it is not clear that she is delivered (see 1 Samuel 18:19). She never appears in the stories concerning David.


This is argued by Jon D. Levenson and Baruch Halpern, “The Political Import of David’s Marriages,” Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980), pp. 507–518.


On the characters’ motives, and on the problem of incest, see William H.C. Propp, “Kinship in 2 Samuel 13, ” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 55 (1993), pp. 39–53.


Frank M. Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973), p. 237.


Richard Elliott Friedman (The Hidden Book in the Bible [New York: HarperCollins, 1998]) argues for a continuous source embedded in the Bible’s historical books, stretching intermittently from Genesis 2:4b through 1 Kings 2:46. In the Torah, this document corresponds to previous scholarship’s J source. All the stories I have discussed appear in Friedman’s extended J. The sex-and-violence preoccupation thus may be specific to a particular author, and indeed it is noted by Friedman.