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Luke 15:11-24

Context
The Parable of the Compassionate Father

15:11 Then 1  Jesus 2  said, “A man had two sons. 15:12 The 3  younger of them said to his 4  father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate 5  that will belong 6  to me.’ So 7  he divided his 8  assets between them. 9  15:13 After 10  a few days, 11  the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered 12  his wealth 13  with a wild lifestyle. 15:14 Then 14  after he had spent everything, a severe famine took place in that country, and he began to be in need. 15:15 So he went and worked for 15  one of the citizens of that country, who 16  sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 17  15:16 He 18  was longing to eat 19  the carob pods 20  the pigs were eating, but 21  no one gave him anything. 15:17 But when he came to his senses 22  he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food 23  enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 15:18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned 24  against heaven 25  and against 26  you. 15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me 27  like one of your hired workers.”’ 15:20 So 28  he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home 29  his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; 30  he ran and hugged 31  his son 32  and kissed him. 15:21 Then 33  his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven 34  and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 35  15:22 But the father said to his slaves, 36  ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, 37  and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger 38  and sandals 39  on his feet! 15:23 Bring 40  the fattened calf 41  and kill it! Let us eat 42  and celebrate, 15:24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again – he was lost and is found!’ 43  So 44  they began to celebrate.

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

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

3 tn Grk “And the.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

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

5 tn L&N 57.19 notes that in nonbiblical contexts in which the word οὐσία (ousia) occurs, it refers to considerable possessions or wealth, thus “estate.”

6 tn L&N 57.3, “to belong to or come to belong to, with the possible implication of by right or by inheritance.”

7 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the father’s response to the younger son’s request.

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

9 sn He divided his assets between them. There was advice against doing this in the OT Apocrypha (Sir 33:20). The younger son would get half of what the older son received (Deut 21:17).

10 tn Grk “And after.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

11 tn Grk “after not many days.”

12 tn Or “wasted.” This verb is graphic; it means to scatter (L&N 57.151).

13 tn Or “estate” (the same word has been translated “estate” in v. 12).

14 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the sequence of events in the parable. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.

15 tn Grk “joined himself to” (in this case an idiom for beginning to work for someone).

16 tn Grk “and he.” Here the conjunction καί (kai) and the personal pronoun have been translated by a relative pronoun to improve the English style.

17 sn To a Jew, being sent to the field to feed pigs would be an insult, since pigs were considered unclean animals (Lev 11:7).

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

19 tn Or “would gladly have eaten”; Grk “was longing to be filled with.”

20 tn This term refers to the edible pods from a carob tree (BDAG 540 s.v. κεράτιον). They were bean-like in nature and were commonly used for fattening pigs, although they were also used for food by poor people (L&N 3.46).

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

22 tn Grk “came to himself” (an idiom).

23 tn Grk “bread,” but used figuratively for food of any kind (L&N 5.1).

24 sn In the confession “I have sinned” there is a recognition of wrong that pictures the penitent coming home and “being found.”

25 sn The phrase against heaven is a circumlocution for God.

26 tn According to BDAG 342 s.v. ἐνωπιον 4.a, “in relation to ἁμαρτάνειν ἐ. τινος sin against someone Lk 15:18, 21 (cf. Jdth 5:17; 1 Km 7:6; 20:1).”

27 tn Or “make me.” Here is a sign of total humility.

28 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the son’s decision to return home. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.

29 tn Grk “a long way off from [home].” The word “home” is implied (L&N 85.16).

30 tn Or “felt great affection for him,” “felt great pity for him.”

sn The major figure of the parable, the forgiving father, represents God the Father and his compassionate response. God is ready with open arms to welcome the sinner who comes back to him.

31 tn Grk “he fell on his neck,” an idiom for showing special affection for someone by throwing one’s arms around them. The picture is of the father hanging on the son’s neck in welcome.

32 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the son) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

33 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

34 sn The phrase against heaven is a circumlocution for God. 1st century Judaism tended to minimize use of the divine name out of reverence.

35 sn The younger son launches into his confession just as he had planned. See vv. 18-19.

36 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.

37 sn With the instructions Hurry! Bring the best robe, there is a total acceptance of the younger son back into the home.

38 tn Grk “hand”; but χείρ (ceir) can refer to either the whole hand or any relevant part of it (L&N 8.30).

39 sn The need for sandals underlines the younger son’s previous destitution, because he was barefoot.

40 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.

41 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.

42 tn The participle φαγόντες (fagontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

43 sn This statement links the parable to the theme of 15:6, 9.

44 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the father’s remarks in the preceding verses.



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