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Luke 15:18-21

15:18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned 1  against heaven 2  and against 3  you. 15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me 4  like one of your hired workers.”’ 15:20 So 5  he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home 6  his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; 7  he ran and hugged 8  his son 9  and kissed him. 15:21 Then 10  his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven 11  and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 12 

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

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

3 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).”

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

5 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.

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

7 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.

8 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.

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

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

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

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

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