15:3 So 6 Jesus 7 told them 8 this parable: 9 15:4 “Which one 10 of you, if he has a hundred 11 sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture 12 and go look for 13 the one that is lost until he finds it? 14 15:5 Then 15 when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 15:6 Returning 16 home, he calls together 17 his 18 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 19 who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people 20 who have no need to repent. 21
15:25 “Now his older son was in the field. As 35 he came and approached the house, he heard music 36 and dancing. 15:26 So 37 he called one of the slaves 38 and asked what was happening. 15:27 The slave replied, 39 ‘Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fattened calf 40 because he got his son 41 back safe and sound.’ 15:28 But the older son 42 became angry 43 and refused 44 to go in. His father came out and appealed to him, 15:29 but he answered 45 his father, ‘Look! These many years I have worked like a slave 46 for you, and I never disobeyed your commands. Yet 47 you never gave me even a goat 48 so that I could celebrate with my friends! 15:30 But when this son of yours 49 came back, who has devoured 50 your assets with prostitutes, 51 you killed the fattened calf 52 for him!’ 15:31 Then 53 the father 54 said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that belongs to me is yours. 15:32 It was appropriate 55 to celebrate and be glad, for your brother 56 was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.’” 57
1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
2 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.
3 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
4 tn Or “grumbling”; Grk “were complaining, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
5 tn Or “accepts,” “receives.” This is not the first time this issue has been raised: Luke 5:27-32; 7:37-50.
6 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.
7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 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.
9 tn Grk “parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
10 tn Grk “What man.” The Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used here in a somewhat generic sense.
11 sn This individual with a hundred sheep is a shepherd of modest means, as flocks often had up to two hundred head of sheep.
12 tn Or “desert,” but here such a translation might suggest neglect of the 99 sheep left behind.
13 tn Grk “go after,” but in contemporary English the idiom “to look for” is used to express this.
14 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.
15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
16 tn Grk “And coming into his…” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
17 sn A touch of drama may be present, as the term calls together can mean a formal celebration (1 Kgs 1:9-10).
18 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.
19 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.
20 tn Here δικαίοις (dikaioi") is an adjective functioning substantivally and has been translated “righteous people.”
21 tn Or “who do not need to repent”; Grk “who do not have need of repentance.”
22 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.
23 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
24 sn The phrase against heaven is a circumlocution for God. 1st century Judaism tended to minimize use of the divine name out of reverence.
25 sn The younger son launches into his confession just as he had planned. See vv. 18-19.
26 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.
27 sn With the instructions Hurry! Bring the best robe, there is a total acceptance of the younger son back into the home.
28 tn Grk “hand”; but χείρ (ceir) can refer to either the whole hand or any relevant part of it (L&N 8.30).
29 sn The need for sandals underlines the younger son’s previous destitution, because he was barefoot.
30 tn Grk “And bring.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
31 tn Or “the prize calf” (L&N 65.8). See also L&N 44.2, “grain-fattened.” Such a calf was usually reserved for religious celebrations.
32 tn The participle φαγόντες (fagontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
33 sn This statement links the parable to the theme of 15:6, 9.
34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the father’s remarks in the preceding verses.
35 tn Grk “And as.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
36 sn This would have been primarily instrumental music, but might include singing as well.
37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the older son hearing the noise of the celebration in progress.
38 tn The Greek term here, παῖς (pais), describes a slave, possibly a household servant regarded with some affection (L&N 87.77).
39 tn Grk “And he said to him.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated. The rest of the phrase has been simplified to “the slave replied,” with the referent (the slave) specified in the translation for clarity.
40 tn See note on the phrase “fattened calf” in v. 23.
41 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the younger son) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
42 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the older son, v. 25) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
43 tn The aorist verb ὠργίσθη (wrgisqh) has been translated as an ingressive aorist, reflecting entry into a state or condition.
44 sn Ironically the attitude of the older son has left him outside and without joy.
45 tn Grk “but answering, he said.” This is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “but he answered.”
46 tn Or simply, “have served,” but in the emotional context of the older son’s outburst the translation given is closer to the point.
47 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to bring out the contrast indicated by the context.
48 sn You never gave me even a goat. The older son’s complaint was that the generous treatment of the younger son was not fair: “I can’t get even a little celebration with a basic food staple like a goat!”
49 sn Note the younger son is not “my brother” but this son of yours (an expression with a distinctly pejorative nuance).
50 sn This is another graphic description. The younger son’s consumption had been like a glutton. He had both figuratively and literally devoured the assets which were given to him.
51 sn The charge concerning the prostitutes is unproven, but essentially the older brother accuses the father of committing an injustice by rewarding his younger son’s unrighteous behavior.
52 sn See note on the phrase “fattened calf” in v. 23.
53 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the parable.
54 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the father) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
55 tn Or “necessary.”
56 sn By referring to him as your brother, the father reminded the older brother that the younger brother was part of the family.
57 sn The theme he was lost and is found is repeated from v. 24. The conclusion is open-ended. The reader is left to ponder with the older son (who pictures the scribes and Pharisees) what the response will be. The parable does not reveal the ultimate response of the older brother. Jesus argued that sinners should be pursued and received back warmly when they returned.