Psalms 23:5b (AMP)
In the Amplified version of Psalm 23:5, it says my [brimming] cup runs over. That word translated “runs over” in the Hebrew is rewāyāh. The Complete Words Study Old Testament Dictionary defines rewāyāh as a feminine noun referring to abundance; a state of overflowing. It refers to an overabundance of something. It is used figuratively of the cup of life and blessing from the Lord (Ps. 23:5). It refers to the richness, safety, and blessing of God’s deliverance from enemies (Ps. 66:12).
From Vine’s there is a Hebrew word translated “to fill” which also indicates this state of overflow: “Mālēʾ (also mālâ) can also mean “to fill up” in an exhaustive sense: “…And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exod. 40:34). In this sense an appetite can be “filled up,” “satiated,” or “satisfied.” Male is sometimes used in the sense “coming to an end” or “to be filled up,” to the full extent of what is expected.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary gives us this for Psalm 23:5:
23:5. In this verse the scene changes to a banquet hall where a gracious host provides lavish hospitality. Under this imagery the psalmist rejoiced in the Lord’s provision. What was comforting to David was that this was in the presence of his enemies. Despite impending danger, the Lord spread out a table for him, that is, God provided for him.
The image of anointing the head with oil, which was refreshing and soothing, harmonizes with the concept of a gracious host welcoming someone into his home. In view of the table and the oil David knew that his lot in life (his cup) was abundant blessing from the Lord. (emphasis added)
In the Greek, this word found in Vine’s dictionary gives me insight into this idea of superabundance.
Usage Notes: is translated “overflowing” in Jas. 1:21, RV. See ABUNDANCE, A, No. 2. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. ~ James 1:21 (NKJV)
**In this instance it is indicative of the overflow – exceedingly great nature – of wickedness and man’s amoral condition rendering him in need of salvation.
Usage Notes: “to abound more exceedingly,” Rom. 5:20, is used in the Middle Voice in 2 Cor. 7:4, RV, “I overflow (with joy),” AV, “I am exceeding (joyful).” See ABUNDANCE, B, No. 2. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, ~ Romans 5:20 (NKJV)
** Now I want you to see this. In this passage of Scripture – the word translated abound or abounded three times is two different Greek words. The highlighted word abounded, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” is the Greek Strong’s 5248, hyperperisseuō. But the other two words rendered “abound, abounded” are Greek Strong’s 4121, pleonazō: defined in Strong’s as “from
So we can read this Romans 5:20 to say: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might increase, to be made or done more, to superabound or have over (it’s way). But where sin increased, was made to be or done more, superabounded or had it’s way, grace [increased, was made to be or done more, superabounded or had its way] exceedingly more.” (Bold lettering indicates translation taken from definitions provided, emphasis added is mine).
I just have to sit here a minute and take that in!
And if I got back to the Bible Knowledge Commentary to reconcile what I have just stated:
5:20-21. A remaining question in this discussion is, Where does the Mosaic Law fit into all this and why? Paul explained, The Law was added so that the trespass (paraptōma, cf. vv. 15-19) might increase (“abound”). The word “added” should be rendered “came in beside,” for it translates the verb pareisēlthen. Two similar verbs, eisēlthen and diēlthen, were used in verse 12. Galatians 2:4 is the only other place in the New Testament that uses the Greek verb for “came in beside.”
Is the statement in Romans 5:20a a purpose or a result clause? The coming of the Mosaic Law (clearly meant here in light of vv. 13-14) did result in the abounding of “the trespass” (the consequence of any law), but (also in the light of vv. 13-14 and 4:15) the Mosaic Law came in “so that” (purpose) abounding sin might be recognized as abounding trespass.
The result was that where sin increased (lit., “abounded”; cf. 5:20) grace increased all the more (“overflowed superlatively”; cf. “overflow” in v. 15). What a contrast! No matter how great human sin becomes, God’s grace overflows beyond it and abundantly exceeds it. No wonder Paul wrote that God’s grace “is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9). God’s goal (hina, so, introduces a purpose clause) is that His grace might reign through righteousness (the righteousness of Christ provided for people) to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Once again Paul spoke of reigning in connection with life. In verse 17 those who received God’s gift “reign in life” through Christ. Here God’s grace is personified as reigning and bringing eternal life.
By the time the Apostle Paul had reached this point he had not only described how God’s provided righteousness is revealed in justification but he also was anticipating how it is to be revealed through regeneration and sanctification.
DID YOU GET THAT? The Law came not just as a set of rules to live by, but to exemplify the overflow of sinfulness in the HUMAN condition. Thus, making us realize our need for God’s OVERFLOWING, SUPERABUNDANT and EXCEEDINGLY MORE Grace! Whereever sin has increased or is increasing in the World, God’s Grace always increases more!
OH MY THAT IS A REVELATION to build our lives on.
I’m overwhelmed. I mean… Really. I need to get on my knees and type this from the floor because it is so what I have been living out of for the last two or three years, but unable to fully explain until just now.
You see, God’s grace is all we need. We don’t have to work and earn it. His Word tells us so much about this – David realized that God was all He needed, not just the provider but the Provision Himself. Just as I wrote in the study of the Hebrew name Jehovah Jireh. Living every day totally dependent on God and the power and guidance of His Holy Spirit we have all we need to do all He requires of us through Christ who paid it all. Not some, not on time, but all was paid by grace and receive it by faith.
Living in superabundance is so beautifully expressed in the song from which the title of this post comes… I’ve included it at the end of this post.
Where sin abounds in my life, grace has the opportunity to abound even more. That is why Jesus said of the woman who anointed His feet with oil that those who have been forgiven much love much – because we give back out of the overflow of the grace that we have received.
“I’m drinkin’ from a saucer, ’cause my cup has overflowed.” ~ From “Drinking from a Saucer” written by Jimmy Dean
Much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, may God’s blessings truly abound in your life this Holiday Season as you sip from your saucer and may your cup always run over.