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Luke 15:18-24

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  15:22 But the father said to his slaves, 13  ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, 14  and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger 15  and sandals 16  on his feet! 15:23 Bring 17  the fattened calf 18  and kill it! Let us eat 19  and celebrate, 15:24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again – he was lost and is found!’ 20  So 21  they began to celebrate.

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.

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

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

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

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

17 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.

18 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.

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

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

21 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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