2 Corinthians 4:8 “Crushed” and the REB Translation Rendering

I was looking up the Thayer’s definition of the Greek word στενοχωρέω (stenochōreō) commonly translated as crushed.

2 Corinthians 4:8a
We are pressured in every way but not crushed;

Thayer Definition:
1) to be in a narrow place
2) to straiten, compress, cramp, reduce to straits
2a) to be sorely straitened in spirit

From this definition I’m not getting why the word crushed is so commonly used. It’s reminiscent of Psalm 34:18 but that’s different. I don’t have TDNT or BDAG.

At the risk of being disrespectful to Scripture, my own very bad paraphrase would be:
“It feels like the world is caving in on us but we are not smushed;”

Any insight into why crushed it used?

The main reason for this post is I looked this up in the REB and think it’s magnificent and want to type it out for those of you who don’t have the translation. You’ll see they chose the word cornered.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11
But we have only earthenware jars to hold this treasure, and this proves that such transcendent power does not come from us; it is God’s alone. 8 We are hard pressed, but never cornered; bewildered, but never at our wits’ end; 9 hunted, but never abandoned to our fate; struck down, but never killed. 10 Wherever we go we carry with us in our body the death that Jesus died, so that in this body also the life that Jesus lives may be revealed. 11 For Jesus’s sake we are all our life being handed over to death, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in this mortal body of ours. 12 Thus death is at work in us, but life in you.

7 Responses to “2 Corinthians 4:8 “Crushed” and the REB Translation Rendering”

  1. 1 Suzanne

    I think you are right that “crushed” is not necessarily literal. It seems to have come from the RSV. I just want to point out that you cannot use the Greek codepoints for στενοχωρέω that you have in your blogpost in the LSJ lexicon at Philogic because you are using a source which has combining accents. Philologic does not accept the form of Greek that you are using. May I ask you where you got the word στενοχωρέω from. In this case, you can solve the problem by using the online Greek inputter and type the word without any accents at all. στενοχωρεω Now put that into the search box at LSJ at Philologic and you will get the correct entry. Would you like a tutorial for the LSJ sometime. This is probably TMI but I noticed that those pesky combining accents are still around and Philologic does not accept them. Hope that works. 🙂

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    I copied στενοχωρέω from e-Sword which was from the KJV Strong’s number within the Thayer’s definition. The Strong’s definition has the same thing.

    I’d love an LSJ tutorial since I’m a little lost with this.

    I was able to do as you instructed above and search for the word. Where is Liddell and Scott’s in relation Thayer’s and TDNT time wise?


  3. 3 Suzanne

    LSJ is always the best and covers all time. Something like that. 🙂  I’ll work on something more specific for the blog.

  4. 4 ElShaddai Edwards

    We are hard pressed, but never cornered; bewildered, but never at our wits’ end; hunted, but never abandoned to our fate; struck down, but never killed.

    I think you’re right, Jeff, there’s a very attractive consistency to the REB’s rendering that really captures the sense of being pursued as prey by sin and death, but never captured.

  5. 5 David Patton

    Appreciate a scripture zealot very much. We are also zealots for the Spirit  as the life and light giver. Just wanted to say that “crushed” works better for me in that “hard pressed” seems descriptive of the affliction we fight against which tries to constrain, render impotent, disturb, rob confidence, incite fear, tempt us to save ourselves by compromising, render irrelevant, doubt and resent God’s authority. Crushed speaks to me of being taken out.  Whereas cornered definitely works, crushed dovetails nicely with the idea of being in a “press”.Blessings upon you!

  6. 6 Stan McCullars

    Another passage beautifully expressed in the REB. Thanks for posting.

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    You’re welcome. I love reading it when I want something different and it’s even better to come across something where the literary style of the translation really makes you marvel.

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