Biblical Archaeology Review 34:3, May/June 2008

Strata: The Bible in the News

The Cup That Runneth Over

By Leonard J. Greenspoon

In the world of modern Bible translation, my cup “runneth over” (from Psalm 23:5) only in the King James Version. Elsewhere, for the most part, it overflows (as in such diverse versions as the NASB, NRSV, NIV, NAB and CEVb). Exceptions—such as the NJV’s “brims over” or The Message’s “brims with”—are rare. For poetic evocation, you can count me as a “traditionalist” on this: Nothing quite gets the point across as well as the KJV. And, so it would seem, the popular press agrees: “my cup runneth over” and over in countless stories, especially in the headlines.

The qualms expressed by a correspondent for The Irish Times reflect one category of “cups”: “Week two of the World Cup and my cup runneth over with irritation: gaping, pitch-sized holes in the TV schedules and the incessant buzz of speculation, despair and schadenfreude as, one by one, overpaid thoroughbreds in knee-socks go head to head with the opposition only to be stretchered off again five minutes later, metatarsals twanging and kneecaps popping.”

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