Although 2 Samuel refers to Saul’s son as Ish-bosheth, 1 Chronicles (8:33, 9:39) refers to the same person as Eshbaal. Most scholars believe that Eshbaal was the prince’s actual name.



This custom is suggested by a number of other texts as well (2 Samuel 12:8; 16:20–22; and 1 Kings 2:13–25). See Jon Levenson, “I Samuel 25 as Literature and History,” Catholic Bible Quarterly, 40 (1978), pp. 11–28; Jon Levenson & Baruch Halpern, “The Political Import of David’s Marriages,” Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980), pp. 507–519; Matitiahu Tsevat, “Marriage and Monarchical Legitimacy in Ugarit and Israel,” Journal of Semitic Studies 3 (1958), pp. 237–243.


See Jonathan Culler, Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988) pp. xiii–xiv.


Sherry B. Ortner and Harriet Whitehead, “Introduction: Accounting for Sexual Meanings,” in Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality, eds. Ortner and Whitehead (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 16–17.


An important caution needs to be stressed here. One should always inquire about the person carrying out this sort of evaluation. Even within one culture, women and men may hold different ideas about prestige and its relation to gender and sexual practice. Thus, the criteria that women use to evaluate the social worth of men or of other women may not be identical to the criteria used by men to evaluate women or one another.


Gayle Rubin, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex,” in Toward an Anthropology of Women, ed. Rayna Reiter (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975), p. 174.


Maud Gleason, “The Semiotics of the Gender: Physiognomy and Self-Fashioning in the Second Century C.E.,” in Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World, ed. David Halperin, John Winkler and Froma Zeitlin (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1990) pp. 399–402.


Pierre Bourdieu, Algeria 1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979), p. 100.


P. Kyle McCarter, II Samuel. The Anchor Bible 9 (New York: Doubleday, 1984), p. 270.


Michael Herzfeld, The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and Identity in a Cretan Mountain Village (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 16.