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Luke 15:1-10

Context
The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Coin

15:1 Now all the tax collectors 1  and sinners were coming 2  to hear him. 15:2 But 3  the Pharisees 4  and the experts in the law 5  were complaining, 6  “This man welcomes 7  sinners and eats with them.”

15:3 So 8  Jesus 9  told them 10  this parable: 11  15:4 “Which one 12  of you, if he has a hundred 13  sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture 14  and go look for 15  the one that is lost until he finds it? 16  15:5 Then 17  when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 15:6 Returning 18  home, he calls together 19  his 20  friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 15:7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner 21  who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people 22  who have no need to repent. 23 

15:8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins 24  and loses 25  one of them, 26  does not light a lamp, sweep 27  the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 15:9 Then 28  when she has found it, she calls together her 29  friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice 30  with me, for I have found the coin 31  that I had lost.’ 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels 32  over one sinner who repents.”

1 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

2 tn Grk “were drawing near.”

3 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

4 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

5 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.

6 tn Or “grumbling”; Grk “were complaining, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

7 tn Or “accepts,” “receives.” This is not the first time this issue has been raised: Luke 5:27-32; 7:37-50.

8 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Jesus’ telling of the parable is in response to the complaints of the Pharisees and experts in the law.

9 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

10 sn Them means at the minimum the parable is for the leadership, but probably also for those people Jesus accepted, but the leaders regarded as outcasts.

11 tn Grk “parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

12 tn Grk “What man.” The Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used here in a somewhat generic sense.

13 sn This individual with a hundred sheep is a shepherd of modest means, as flocks often had up to two hundred head of sheep.

14 tn Or “desert,” but here such a translation might suggest neglect of the 99 sheep left behind.

15 tn Grk “go after,” but in contemporary English the idiom “to look for” is used to express this.

16 sn Until he finds it. The parable pictures God’s pursuit of the sinner. On the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, see John 10:1-18.

17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

18 tn Grk “And coming into his…” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

19 sn A touch of drama may be present, as the term calls together can mean a formal celebration (1 Kgs 1:9-10).

20 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215). It occurs before “neighbors” as well (“his friends and his neighbors”) but has not been translated the second time because of English style.

21 sn There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. The pursuit of the sinner is a priority in spite of the presence of others who are doing well (see also Luke 5:32; 19:10). The theme of repentance, a major Lukan theme, is again emphasized.

22 tn Here δικαίοις (dikaioi") is an adjective functioning substantivally and has been translated “righteous people.”

23 tn Or “who do not need to repent”; Grk “who do not have need of repentance.”

24 sn This silver coin is a drachma, equal to a denarius, that is, a day’s pay for the average laborer.

25 tn Grk “What woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses.” The initial participle ἔχουσα (ecousa) has been translated as a finite verb parallel to ἀπολέσῃ (apolesh) in the conditional clause to improve the English style.

26 tn Grk “one coin.”

27 tn Grk “and sweep,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

28 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

29 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

30 sn Rejoice. Besides the theme of pursuing the lost, the other theme of the parable is the joy of finding them.

31 tn Grk “drachma.”

32 sn The whole of heaven is said to rejoice. Joy in the presence of God’s angels is a way of referring to God’s joy as well without having to name him explicitly. Contemporary Judaism tended to refer to God indirectly where possible out of reverence or respect for the divine name.



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