My Cup Runneth Over
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"My Cup Runneth Over" is a quotation from the Hebrew Bible (Psalm 23:5) and means "I have more than enough for my needs" though interpretations and usage may vary. Notably, it can be employed sarcastically to indicate that someone, e.g. one's host, is being less than generous.
In the Bible
This phrase, in Hebrew כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה, kosi rewaya, is translated in the traditionally used King James Version as my cup runneth over. Newer translations of the phrase include "my cup overflows" and "my cup is completely full." The 23rd psalm, in which this phrase appears, uses the image of God as a shepherd and the believer as a sheep well cared-for. Julian Morgenstern has suggested that the word translated as "cup" could contain a double meaning: both a "cup" in the normal sense of the word, and a shallow trough from which one would give water to a sheep. Other interpreters have suggested that verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 23 do not carry forward the "shepherd" metaphor begun in verse 1, but that these two verses are set in some other, entirely human, setting. Andrew Arterbury and William Bellinger read these verses as providing an metaphor of God as a host, displaying hospitality to a human being. Thus, alongside other actions in Psalm 23, such as preparing a table, and anointing one's guest with oil, providing a full or even overflowing cup for him to drink from can be read as an illustration of God's generosity to the Psalmist.
|"My Cup Runneth Over"|
|Single by Ed Ames|
|from the album My Cup Runneth Over|
The phrase is the title of a popular song written by Harvey Schmidt with lyrics by Tom Jones, featured in the 1966 Broadway musical, I Do! I Do!, which starred Robert Preston and Mary Martin. The most popular recording of the song was made by Ed Ames in 1967, which was a #8 pop (#9 Can.) and #1 AC hit in the United States. Another version of the song is performed by popular New Zealand barbershop quartet, the Musical Island Boys.
The quotation has been used extensively in other music. Rapper Project Pat employed the quotation in its most literal sense when he stated "Patron in my cup runneth over" in his song "I Keep That" from his post-incarceration album Crook by da Book: The Fed Story. Rap artists Eminem and Jay-Z have used it in "Rabbit Run" and "Can't Knock the Hustle" respectively, and Eminem has also used the phrase "His cup just runneth over, oh no!" in the song "Forever", while actor and musician Drake used it in "Ignant Shit" as well as in a collaborative song with Eminem called "Forever"; Justin Timberlake also uses the phrase "Sipping from your cup 'til it runneth over" on Jay-Z's song "Holy Grail". Rapper T.I. uses the term in his song "sorry", where the first words spoken on the track are "My cup runneth over...". Rock musicians have also used the phrase. It is in the opening lyrics of "December" by Collective Soul and in the opening line of the Alice in Chains song "Bleed the Freak", while the death metal band Aborted include the phrase as a lyric in "Pestiferous Subterfuge" and the virtual band Gorillaz referenced the phrase in "All Alone". A variation is also used in the song "So Appalled" from rapper/producer Kanye West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy when fellow rapper Cyhi the Prynce says "My cup overrunneth with hundreds," referring to one-hundred dollar bills. This line is also similar to rapper Jay-Z's line in his song "Can't Knock the Hustle" from his album Reasonable Doubt when he too says "My cup runneth over with hundreds." The words are exactly repeated in the song "Manifest" by the Fugees in their 1996 album The Score.
The quotation is also used in the 1966 Broadway musical "The Apple Tree" directed by Mike Nichols with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Bock and Harnick with contributions from Jerome Coopersmith. It starred Barbara Harris, Alan Alda, and Larry Blyden. It is used in the song "Gorgeous."
The quotation also features prominently in the Bob Marley song "My Cup" and in the Dennis Brown song "Here I come". It is also used by Tavares in their disco hit-song "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel". It also features in the song "Desert Sand" by UB40 and in the Brandon Flowers song, "Magdalena", from the album Flamingo.
It also features in The Stone Roses' song "Tightrope", on their album Second Coming and in Andrew Bird's song "I want to see Pulaski at Night", which is also featured in the second season premiere episode of Orange Is the New Black.
In video games
"My cup runneth over!" is screamed as an expression of ecstasy by the fictional character William Bedford Diego in the 1999 video game System Shock 2, while in World of Warcraft, fictional character Blood Prince Valanar uses the phrase during the "Blood Prince Council" encounter. Also Pandaren Brewmaster from Dota 2 uses it. "Your cup runneth over!" is also an Achievement//Trophy in Devil May Cry 4. In an easter egg in "Day of the Tentacle" there is a Victorian photograph resembling the character Max from Sam & Max Hit the Road with the caption "The late Max Attucks, his petard runneth over." In the MOBA, Smite, it is the name of a Match of the Day, where teams begin the match at max level, accompanied with 12,000 gold to purchase items.
"Thy cup runneth over" was the catch-phrase of the coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on the Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). In the animated series Daria, the title character uses the phrase sarcastically in the episode "I Loathe a Parade". This term has also been referred to in ABC's new series GCB.
In the first episode of the second season of Sex and the City, Samantha says "His cup runneth over", referring to a football player who wears a protective cup.
In an "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" segment on the topic of driveways, Rooney uses a modified version of the phrase: "Like the garage, the driveway is never quite big enough. There never has been a driveway big enough in the whole history of driveways. Our driveways runneth over."
In Fate/Zero, the lines "yea,though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over," by Kirei Kotomine.
In the animated science-fiction comedy series Rick and Morty the expression is used sarcastically when Rick searches for a new planet, he and his family can live on. Rick: "How many planets in the milkyway are at least 90% similar to earth?" Computer: "765 known planets." Rick: "How many of those are outside Federal Jurisdiction" Computer: "3" Rick: "See, our cup runneth over!"
The phrase is also used as the title for Cherry Whytock's book My Cup Runneth Over: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts.
The theatre production Avenue Q uses the line when Rod expresses how overwhelmed he is at the sight of his new boyfriend that his roommate Nicky had found for him on the internet. "Sweet suffering Jesus! My cup runneth over!"
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- NIV, ESV, NASB, Holman Bible.
- Morgenstern, Julian. “Psalm 23.” Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 65, no. 1, 1946, p. 18., www.jstor.org/stable/3262214.
- For bibliographic information about various suggested settings, see Arterbury, Andrew E., and William H. Bellinger. “‘Returning’ to the Hospitality of the Lord A Reconsideration of Psalm 23,5-6.” Biblica, vol. 86, no. 3, 2005, pp. 387–388., www.jstor.org/stable/42614606.
- Arterbury, Andrew E., and William H. Bellinger. “‘Returning’ to the Hospitality of the Lord A Reconsideration of Psalm 23,5-6.” Biblica, vol. 86, no. 3, 2005, pp. 387–395., www.jstor.org/stable/42614606.
- "Ed Ames - My Cup Runneth Over (Vinyl, LP)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
- "Musical Island Boys". Musical Island Boys. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
- The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996