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Hypergamy in the Bible (Song of Songs)?

January 25, 2018

I'm working my way through The Bible Project series on YouTube. Today I watched the video on Song of Songs, and was struck by what appeared to me as an example of hypergamy in the Bible.

At the very end of the book (Chapter 8, verses 10-14), according to this series' interpretation, Solomon essentially tries to buy the love of the young female protagonist, and she denies him in order to pursue the love of her man (a lowly shepherd). Neither she nor the shepherd are married, for what it's worth.

This reminds me of some of TRP concepts I've discovered through personal experience and reading TRP material. A young, beautiful woman will sexually prioritize the guy who gives her tingles (in this case, the shepherd) who will give her a ring made from a gum wrapper over the guy who doesn't give her tingles (Solomon) but could be a great provider for her and buy her the most beautiful jewelry that money can buy.

Thoughts on this? And have you come across any other examples of hypergamy discussed in the Bible?

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Post Information
Title Hypergamy in the Bible (Song of Songs)?
Author dontbedenied
Upvotes 2
Comments 37
Date January 25, 2018 5:02 PM UTC (4 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RPChristians
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/RPChristians/hypergamy-in-the-bible-song-of-songs.302066
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/RPChristians/comments/7sxhpd/hypergamy_in_the_bible_song_of_songs/
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[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs5 points6 points  (13 children) | Copy Link

There are certainly examples of hypergamy in the Bible, but I don't think this is one of them. Here's how I read this passage (correct me if you think I'm making a mistake):

  • 8-9: Men: "Our little sister has small boobs, how can we get her a man? I suppose we'll just have to distract from her chest with jewelry and clothes."

  • 10-12: Solomon's Girl: "I used to have small breasts too, but a while back they grew big and Solomon loved to look at me, so there's still hope for her. Consider: Solomon leases his vineyard out to others who pay him a lot of money, but keep everything above the fee. Likewise, my man has given me a lot, and I enjoy the fruit of his generosity and make myself beautiful with itso that I can keep giving back to him even more than what I enjoy."

  • 13: Solomon: "Good message, girlie. I love it when you talk like that."

  • 14: Solomon's Girl: "Now go, little sister, and be attractive to men."

The point of 10-12 is two-fold: (1) to let them know that the girl is still young and might grow her boobs in, and (2) that it's her man's job to give her the means to be attractive, and she should give back to him by using her attractiveness for his good. This is not hypergamy, it's red pill truths for women.

Hypergamy is also more than just "go for the guy who gets you sex." It's both ends of the AFBB dynamic. So, Ruth shows the clear BB side of things in barking up Boaz's tree, even though he was an old man and she could have gotten a far more attractive guy. Boaz shows some serious beta traits, but also had a lot of comforts and security to provide.

The AF aspect is more evident in someone like Potiphar's wife, where Genesis 39:6-7 says, "No Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, 'Lie with me.'" In verse 10 we see her trying "day after day" to get him. Potiphar was the BB and Joseph was the AF. Why? Because of his looks, we're told. I'd presume it's also because of his dutifulness.

Remember that women have two competing desires and hypergamy plays at both of them, hergo AFBB. This is all covered in 102 :)

[–]dontbedenied0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

Awesome, thanks for the response. This leaves me pretty confused by the video's interpretation, which seems to be really far off from yours. Which is really strange because this video series is one of the most popular on the Bible on YouTube, as far as I can tell.

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Could be ... haven't watched the video. But what you described isn't even remotely present in the text at all. So it leads me to think they're doing a lot of "reading between the lines" or just making it up as they go, rather than taking the scripture at face value.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Well. It is an erotic poem about sex in marriage. Unfortunately we do not understand the euphemisms he used and have to come up with our own interpretations of what that language meant.

Even in recent culture some words have new meanings. Words like Merry and a few others, that are curse words now, meant something different originally. You know the other word for a female dog, a cat, or a rooster! All three of those words we would find “offensive” today.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (9 children) | Copy Link

I would add both Abigail and Bathsheba as more examples of hypergamy.

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs1 point2 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

Not necessarily to disagree, but for the sake of undersatnding: how do each of them demonstrate hypergamy?

My gut reaction is to say that Abigail wasn't trying to up her position, she was defending her rauckus husband and intended to remain faithful, and even after he died it wasn't until David approached her that she acted on it.

Similarly, Bathsheba doesn't show any interest in leaving Uriah for David. Rather, I get the impression that she would have preferred to stay with her husband, but only went to David after her husband was dead (albeit by more nefarious means than in Abigail's story).


[–]SeamusAwl1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

With Abigail:

She went behind Nabal’s (BB) back to give to David (who was gonna kill Nabal)

She bad mouthed her husband to David

Then she went home and told her husband what she did.

Nabal’s heart sank- this is odd if all she did was give David his “protection” fee. The whole back and forth between Abigail and David seemed a bit flirtatious to me. And when David heard of Nabal’s death he immediately proposed to Abigail. And it wasnt because of her “wisdom” in dealing with David.

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Gotcha. I can see that implied in there now. It's been a while since I've read it, so I didn't recall it being flirtatious, but I'll take your word at it :)

[–]SeamusAwl1 point2 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

As for Bathsheba:

Her bath is implied to be a cleansing bath after her cycle. Now there is no time table as to how long it took for David to find out who she was and when they had sex. This could have happened once during ovulation, or multiple times over the coarse of days. But she came to him willingly and willingly gave her body to David. Nathan never revealed a “rape” to David, just the sex. In a later chapter of 2 Samuel we have Amnon rape Absolom’s sister Tamar. Circumstantial? Yes. Hypergamy isn’t always branch swinging. It is what leads women to AF affairs and maintaining their BB marriage.

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

Well said. The other thing I'd add to the Bathsheba case is that she probably knew her bath was visible from the king's window ...

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy Link

The bath happened at night and required her to be immersed into it. That is a whole lot of water to lug up to the roof. We can imagine she knew and added more lights to stand out more. Obviously the light alone would attract the eyes of anyone at night. But we really have no idea if she knew and planned for him to watch. .

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

Good points.

[–]OsmiumZuluMod | Tulip Peddler | Married 6y0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

If memory serves, the Bible never states where she was bathing (rooftop, backyard, inside, etc) just that she could be seen by David from the roof of the palace. Now, architecturally speaking it may have been common for a mikveh to take place on a rooftop, but that is not scripturally stated.

Most likely she was undergoing her “mikvah” bathing ritual, which required fully nude immersion; no clothes, no jewelry, no dirt even. Thus she was being obedient whereas David was supposed to be out waging war but stayed behind instead.

I think it presses the text too far to say that she was being immodest or intentionally seductive.

All that said, I do believe she was a willing participant in David’s escapades. The Bible nowhere suggests she was raped or coerced. I think this very well could be an example of a woman behaving in accordance to hypergamy and getting the best genetic offspring. After all, she got knocked up and then married David, who she had to share with his other wives. Women would rather share a high value man than have one low status man of their own (not that Uriah was low status, just in comparison to the King).

There are many RP truths in this story to be mined.

[–]Red-CuriousMod | 34M | Married 11 yrs0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Agreed entirely.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (9 children) | Copy Link

Bathsheba perhaps? Although the argument can be made that she was forced into the King’s bed. The Bible was written in a male dominated culture. It will be hard to find hypergamy in open shameless action.

[–]SeamusAwl1 point2 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

I highly doubt that. Since he sired Solomon with her later. No. Most likely she went to bath on the roof to entice the king. After all, her husband was a Hittite and not an Israelite.

David had Uriah murdered not to guard his mate, but to hide his sin. He wouldnt have called Uriah home so he could sleep with his “mate” if he was truly guarding her. But Uriah didnt want to out of respect for his men.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

That's the conventional interpretation. Uriah was no dummy either. HE would have known what was going on and refused to sleep with his wife as an honorable way to defy the king and not be his fool. Everyone bathed on their roof. There is no indication in scripture that she did this intentionally to lure the king.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

No indication that she didn’t either. But he didnt rape her. Bathsheba went willingly and wanted to have sex with David. Otherwise God through Nathan would have pointed out the rape. He didnt. As for a contemporary interpretation of why Uriah was killed. Just read the account in 2 Samuel 11.

David called Uriah home. Had spies watch Uriah to see if he went home. He didnt. And David asked him why he didnt go hone. Then David got Uriah drunk, he still didnt go home. So David finally had Uriah killed.

[–]WhitifiedBlue Target BAZOOKA0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

if i'm a feminist, I will want Bathsheba (the woman) to look like the good guy, and for David (the man) to look like the bad guy.

So I will want to interpret Bathsheba to be just doing what she does everyday, bath in an area where a KING can just pass by and notice her bathing and see her naked. But noooo, there's no intention to entice said King whatsoever. Yep. So David raped her! gasp

Coincidentally, this new interpretation I'm about to arrive at, will be completely at odds with the traditional interpretation. And the traditional interpretation will, oddly, somehow provide a bit of insight as to the true nature of women, that the BluePill World doesn't want you to hear about.

So I don't know about you but my gut tells me this whole "everyone bathed on their roof, David RAPED her!!!" interpretation is BS.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

You have a good point. The interpretation I heard of this being done against her will came from someone I know who tends to react against some of the more dogmatic fundamentalist interpretations.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Just look at the scripture.

2 Samuel 11:4 (NKJV) Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her own house.

She was taking the Mikvah bath when spotted by David. That ritualized bath was for a woman to be cleansed after her menstrual cycle. She must do that before she can have sexual relations. Her husband Uriah was off fighting a war. This is speculative, but was she just trying to be "clean" in case Uriah came home unexpectedly and ravished her? Or was she hoping the King would spot her and she wanted to be ready for that. Considering that she didn't put up any fight, but willingly came to him, I think it was the later.

Back to the bible. Just two chapters later in 2 Samuel 13:11-14, we get a depiction of Amnon raping Tamar. None of this language was used for Bathsheba's time with David. Because no rape occurred.

[–]dontbedenied0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Good point on Uriah, I forgot about that.

[–]dontbedenied0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I'm happy to hear other interpretations, but from the little research I've done on Bathsheba, it seems like she was basically coerced through power to have a sexual relationship with David. It almost sounds like she was raped.

On top of that, David basically had her husband murdered. That sounds like an extreme and ancient form of mate-guarding. If anything the whole thing sounds like the opposite of hypergamy to me.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

please explain how this series construes hypergamy in this verse. I mean, they're talking about how to set up the woman's sister it sounds like, matchmaking not hypergamy.

[–] points points | Copy Link

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[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

idk if i would go as far as your first statement. that smacks of absolutist guff. maybe you have some other pieces of evidence to support your claim?

[–] points points | Copy Link

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[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

idk about that interpretation. Could be. Might not. But remember: logical positivism does not prevail in Scripture. Just because something is in the Bible doesn't mean it's kosher. Look at Judges 19 and there's not even a real denunciation of any of that from the skyward vault of heaven. So, does that mean it's cool to play Dexter w the hoes in this day and age? That's a little proof by contradiction there

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy Link

I’m sorry I feel like this thread is taking on many different angles. Can you tell me, again, what are we trying to discover?

In one sense I feel like we’re discounting Bathsheba saying she’s into hypergamy, next we’re discounting David for mate guarding.

I’m not arguing either way, I’m just a little lost on what we’re talking about and how the two relate

[–]dontbedenied1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Well the topic of discussion is "hypergamy in the Bible", which allows for many different angles.

You don't think David was mate guarding? I mean, he had his competition murdered. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on that.

From what I've read about Bathsheba, she didn't really have an opportunity to exercise hypergamy, based on the little information we have about her. Though again I'm happy to hear all points of view.

[–]Finuul0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

The Bible seems pretty clear about David's intent in killing Uriah. It wasn't to mate guard, it was to protect himself from having his sin discovered. The Bible gives no indication that David was threatened by Uriah as a sexual competitor.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

He wasnt. In fact David had Uriah to come home with the hopes that Uriah would have sex with Bathsheba. That is sooo far from mate guarding.

[–]Finuul0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

True true.

[–]SeamusAwl0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

David couldn’t possibly be mate guarding. He specifically asked for Uriah to come home just so he would have sex with Bathsheba. Mate guarding is trying to prevent just that. It was as it says - to cover up the adulterous affair.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

I think mate guarding happens all the time. Even today.

I think there are more extreme forms than others - ie. David killing Bathsheba’s husband.

Today, husbands won’t invite their wives out to certain places, for fear men will woo her away. Maybe she’s just kind to all men, but men take it as sexual interest and then it sets the husband off.

Today, in the Muslim culture, women wear hijabs and niqabs so other men can’t look at them inappropriately but also, so the woman can’t entice men to Want to copulate.

There are many methods of mate guarding husbands put on their wives because they see them as their responsibility and possession.

Money is another way. I read somewhere, if man pays for a woman’s lifestyle and “new breasts”, he in some way is mate guarding her. He has direct ownership (in his mind) over her body. It’s his to enjoy and show off at will.

I’m not saying mate guarding is wrong. In some respects, it’s natural. There is a point where it can become illegal as in the case of Bathsheba and David.

I will say this, some women love the men who mate guard because they feel adored, protected and cared for. Call it what you will. Some may be grossed out by the topic.

I don’t know the David and Bathsheba story too well. I was raise catholic and we spent most time on the New Testament. If I were Bathsheba I would have been very afraid of David... maybe that was part of David’s plan. I’m not sure, that’s a whole other level of mate guarding.

[–]SeamusAwl1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

David having Uriah killed was not mate guarding. If it was, it was the weirdest example of mate guarding I have ever heard.

Read 2 Sam 11:6-14. Uriah was called home so that he would have sex with Bathsheba, who was pregnant from her affair with David. He didnt have sex with her so David decided to get him drunk the next night so he would have sex with her. He still didnt have sex with her. Then he had Uriah killed on the battlefield.

Mate guarding isnt about trying to force someone else to have sex with your mate. It just isnt.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Okay so he wasn’t guilty of mate guarding, just infidelity, lol. Point taken, thank you for clarifying.

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