From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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15:1                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Now the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners were everywhere in the habit of coming close to Him to listen to Him;

WEB:              Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him.

Young’s:         And all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming nigh to him, to hear him,
Conte (RC):   Now tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to him, so that they might listen to him.


15:1                 Then drew near unto Him.  Neither the time nor the place is definitely indicated; but only the fact that somewhere there was a great concourse of the despised publicans and their associates to Him, in the course of which the incident to be related took place.  [52] 

all.   The word emphasizes the freedom with which He allowed anyone of that class to approach Him and share His teachings.  [52]

the publicans [tax collectors, NKJV].  St. Chrysostom says that their very life was legalized sin and specious greed.  [56] 

                        and sinners.  “The sinners” mean in general the degraded and outcast classes.  [56]

Or:  The Pharisees classed as "sinners" all who failed to observe the traditions of the elders, and especially their traditional rules of purification. It was not so much the wickedness of this class as their legal uncleanness that made it wrong to eat with them. Compare Galatians 2:12-13.  [53]

                        for to hear Him.  In the days before sound amplifiers, the best way to hear a person speaking on the street or in the synagogue was to be as close to him as feasible.  [rw]



15:2                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and this led the Pharisees and the Scribes indignantly to complain, saying, "He gives a welcome to notorious sinners, and joins them at their meals!"

WEB:              The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them."

Young’s:         and the Pharisees and the scribes were murmuring, saying -- This one doth receive sinners, and doth eat with them.'
Conte (RC):   And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This one accepts sinners and eats with them."


15:2                 And the Pharisees and scribes.  In this case and probably most others, their convictions either matched or were closely parallel.  [rw] 

                        murmured.  This complaint is one with which we are already familiar (5:30; 7:34).  [52]

They affected to suppose that if Jesus treated sinners kindly he must be fond of their society, and be a man of similar character.  They considered it disgraceful to be with them or to eat with them, and they, therefore, brought a charge against Him for it.  They would not suppose that he admitted them to his society for the purpose of doing them good; nor did they remember that the very object of His coming was to call the wicked from their ways and to save them from death.  [11]

                        this man receiveth sinners.  Even their touch was regarded as unclean by the Pharisees.  But our Lord, who read the heart, knew that the religious professors were often the worse sinners before God, and He associated with sinners that He might save them.  It is this yearning of redemptive love which finds its richest illustration in these three parables.  They contain the very essence of the Glad Tidings, and two of them are peculiar to Luke.  [56] 

                        You can’t reach someone with the Truth if you are unable to talk with them with courtesy.  It isn’t a matter of approving what they’ve done—quite a few that Jesus dealt with could surely have written “X-rated” autobiographies; our world did not either invent sin or give approval to some of its worst practitioners.  Yet Jesus was always far more concerned with what they could become, rather than with what they were.  If they insisted on continuing to wear their chains, He had at least given them the opportunity to break out of them.  That decision they—like today—had to make for themselves.  [rw]

                        and eateth with them.  The philosopher Seneca made a practice of dining with his slaves, and when challenged for an innovation so directly in the teeth of all customary proprieties and so offensive to the Roman mind, he defended himself by saying that he dined with some because they were worthy of his esteem and with others that they might become so.  The action and its defense were alike admirable.  But it was even a greater shock to the Pharisees and, if possible, even more unaccountable, that Jesus should prefer the society of notorious sinners to their own irreproachable manners and decorous conversation.  They were honestly surprised and [startled] by His treatment of these [amoral and immoral tax collectors].  [37]  



15:3                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    So in figurative language He asked them,

WEB:              He told them this parable.    

Young’s:         And he spake unto them this simile, saying,
Conte (RC):   And he told this parable to them, saying:


15:3                 And He speak this parable unto them, saying.  In these three parables we have pictures of the bewildered sinner (3-7); the unconscious sinner 8-10); the voluntary sinner (11-32).  [56]



15:4                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Which of you men, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in their pasture and go in search of the lost one till he finds it?

WEB:              "Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn't leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? 

Young’s:         'What man of you having a hundred sheep, and having lost one out of them, doth not leave behind the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go on after the lost one, till he may find it?
Conte (RC):   "What man among you, who has one hundred sheep, and if he will have lost one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the one whom he had lost, until he finds it?


15:4                 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them.  And yet out of this large flock the good shepherd grieves for one which strays.  There is an Arab saying that God has divided pity into a hundred parts, and kept ninety-nine for Himself.  [56]

                        doth not leave the ninety and nine.  The sheep are left of course under minor shepherds, not uncared for.  Some see in the Lost Sheep the whole human race, and in the ninety-nine the Angels:  as though mankind were but a hundredth part of God’s flock.  [56]

                        in the wilderness.  Not a desert place, but uncultivated plains; pasturage. Note that the sheep are being pastured in the wilderness. A traveller, cited anonymously by Trench, says: "There are, indeed, some accursed patches, where scores of miles lie before you like a tawny Atlantic, one yellow wave rising before another. But far from infrequently there are regions of wild fertility where the earth shoots forth a jungle of aromatic shrubs" (Parables).  [2]

                        and go after that which is lost, until he find it?  The Talmudists taught—and their teaching, no doubt, is but the reflection of what was taught in the great rabbinical schools of Jerusalem before its ruin—that a man who had been guilty of many sins might, by repentance, raise himself to a higher degree of virtue than the perfectly righteous man who had never experienced his temptations.  If this were so, well argues Professor Bruce, "surely it was reasonable to occupy one's self in endeavouring to get sinners to start on this noble career of self-elevation, and to rejoice when in any instance he had succeeded.  But it is one thing to have correct theories, and another to put them into practice . . . So they found fault with One (Jesus) who not only held this view as an abstract doctrine, but acted on it, and sought to bring those who had strayed furthest from the paths of righteousness to repentance, believing that, though last, they might yet be first."  [18]


                        In depth:  Does the parable intend to teach that all the lost will be found [3]?  The point sometimes made in applying this language that in all cases the lost must be found, and that the search will never cease until they be found is not warranted by other Scriptures nor required in this.  (See for example chapter 13:34, 35).  But in order to bring out and exhibit the joys resulting from the finding, it was essential to the completeness of the parabolic representation that the owner should continue to seek until he found it.  If the parable meant to imply that there was a preordained certainty of finding all, there would of course be no special occasion for joy in the finding of one.  The fact of the joy, therefore, indicates the contingency and uncertainty of the seeking.



15:5                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And when he has found it, he lifts it on his shoulder, glad at heart.

WEB:              When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing.        

Young’s:         and having found, he doth lay it on his shoulders rejoicing,
Conte (RC):   And when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing.


15:5                 And when he hath found it.  Hence the search is ultimately successful.  [rw]

                        he layeth it on his shoulders.  Literally, “his own shoulders.”  [56]

A familiar practice with shepherds when the creature is sick, fatigued, or in any way unable to travel on its own feet.  [52]  

rejoicing.  Alike in the retrieval of his own loss, and in the rescue of his sheep from danger and distress.  [52]

All anger against the folly of the wanderer is swallowed up in love, and joy at its recovery.  “He bare our sins in His own body,” 1 Peter 2:24.  We have the same metaphor in the Psalm of the shepherd king (Psalm cxix. 176; compare Isaiah liii. 6; John 10:11), and in the letter of the Apostle, to whom had been addressed the words, “Feed my sheep,” 1 Peter 2:25.  This verse supplied a favourite subject for the simple and joyous art of the catacombs.  Tertullian, De Pudic. 7.  [56]  



15:6                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then coming home he calls his friends and neighbours together, and says, 'Congratulate me, for I have found my sheep--the one I had lost.'

WEB:              When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'        

Young’s:         and having come to the house, he doth call together the friends and the neighbours, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I found my sheep -- the lost one.
Conte (RC):   And returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: 'Congratulate me! For I have found my sheep, which had been lost.'


15:6                 And when he cometh home.  Evidently bringing the sheep thither, which he will not trust again readily to the risks of the wilderness.  [52]

                        he calleth together his friends and neighbours.  Those he would have most interest in sharing the good news with.  [rw] 

                        saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.  Why should they celebrate?  For one thing they could just as easily be in the same situation.  What happened to him today, could easily happen to them next week.  Indeed, unwillingness to share the joy of success of one’s neighbor should make you question whether you are much of a neighbor or “friend” in the first place.  [rw]



15:7                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    I tell you that in the same way there will be rejoicing in Heaven over one repentant sinner--more rejoicing than over ninety-nine blameless persons who have no need of repentance.

WEB:              I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.   

Young’s:         'I say to you, that so joy shall be in the heaven over one sinner reforming, rather than over ninety-nine righteous men, who have no need of reformation.
Conte (RC):   I say to you, that there will be so much more joy in heaven over one sinner repenting, than over the ninety-nine just, who do not need to repent.


15:7                 I say unto you, that likewise.  The unspoken logic is that if mere mortals—subject to error in so many ways—know to respond to the joy and success of others, that on the heavenly plane the same is true as well.  [rw]

                        joy shall be in heaven.  Among the angels of God.  Compare Luke 15:10.   They see the guilt and danger of people; they know what God has done for the race, and they rejoice at the recovery of any from the guilt and ruins of sin.  [11]

                        over one sinner that repenteth.  The active side of conversion, that is, what a man himself must do in response to the divine love which seeks him, could not be exhibited in the parable but is carefully portrayed in the application.  The lost sheep is passive, but the lost sinner is not really “found” until he repents.  [3]

                        more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.  It isn’t that being “just” is being overlooked or not credited with all it deserves.  Rather the joy is appropriate and needed because one who needs to become exactly that has finally done so.  He or she has now accomplished what these others have already done.  [rw]

See verse 32.  The “Pharisees and scribes” in an external sense were “just persons,” for as a class their lives were regular, though we learn from Josephus and the Talmud that many individuals among them were guilty of flagrant sins.  But that our Lord uses the description with a holy irony is seen from the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (see 18:9).  They trust in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.  They did need repentance, but did not want it.  It was a fixed notion that God had “not appointed repentance to the just, and to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee” (Prayer of Manasses).  [56]



15:8                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully till she finds it?

WEB:              Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn't light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? 

Young’s:         'Or what woman having ten drachms, if she may lose one drachma, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek carefully till that she may find?
Conte (RC):   Or what woman, having ten drachmas, if she will have lost one drachma, would not light a candle, and sweep the house, and diligently search until she finds it?


15:8                 Either.  It was a custom with Christ thus to duplicate parables illustrative of one main truth (5:36-39; 13:19-21), with only incidental differences.  Here He may have desired to bring home to the hearts of women the intensity of Divine love toward the ruined and wretched by an illustration drawn from their own sphere.  [52]

what woman.  i.e., any woman of the implied economic background would act this way.  It is a universal reaction of the poor to financial loss that they have the potential to rectify themselves.  [rw]

                        having ten pieces of silver.  “The piece of silver” was the Greek drachma, the Roman denarius.  This amount would be more, proportionally, to a poor woman, than the one sheep to the shepherd [in the previous parable].  [52] 

Each represented a day’s wages.  These small silver coins were worn by women as a sort of ornamental fringe around the forehead (the semedi).  [56]

                        if she lose one piece.  The loss might seem less trying than that of a sheep, but (1) in this case it is a tenth (not a hundredth) part of what the woman possesses; and (2) the coin has on it the image and superscription of a king (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 22:20).  [56]   

                        doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  These are actions parallel to the hard and patient exploration of the shepherd through the wilderness, and are equally natural, considering that the house would be dark—without glazed windows and probably with no floor but the trodden earth.  [52]

                        We should notice the thorough and deliberate method of the search.  Some see in the woman a picture of the Church, and give a separate meaning to each particular; but “if we should attribute to every single word a deeper significance than appears, we should not seldom incur the danger of bringing much into Scripture which is not at all contained in it.”  --Zimmermann.  [56]



15:9                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, and says, "'Congratulate me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.'

WEB:              When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.'   

Young’s:         and having found, she doth call together the female friends and the neighbours, saying, Rejoice with me, for I found the drachm that I lost.
Conte (RC):  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying: 'Rejoice with me! For I have found the drachma, which I had lost.'


15:9                 And when she hath found it.  Not all searches are successful—in 2013 they are finally fairly sure they have verified where Amelia Earnhart crashed in the Pacific in the 1930s!—but some are concluded after intense but relatively short effort.  The searcher here does not smile and go about her business; what has been found is far too important to her to do just that.  [rw]

                        she calleth her friends.  Female friends, for the noun is used in the feminine form.  [2]

                        and her neighbours together.  Distinguishing between “friends” and “neighbours.”  The stress is on her “friends” (since they are mentioned first) since they will be the ones with the greatest interest, but even her “neighbours” who have no great liking for her will surely be nodding their heads in passing pleasure that something as important as this has finally been found.  [rw]     

                        Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece.  It was not done for her and she herself was able to accomplish it after persistent effort.  [rw]

                        Aside:  She does not say “my piece.”  If the woman be intended to represent the Church, the lost of the “piece” entrusted to her may be in part, at least, her own fault.  [56]

which I had lost.  Through her own carelessness.  Of the sheep, Jesus says "was lost."  "A sheep strays of itself, but a piece of money could only be lost by a certain negligence on the part of such as should have kept it" (Trench).  In the one case, the attention is fastened on the condition of the thing lost; in the other, upon the sorrow of the one who has lost.  [2]



15:10                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "I tell you that in the same way there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one repentant sinner."

WEB:              Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting."    

Young’s:         'So I say to you, joy doth come before the messengers of God over one sinner reforming.'
Conte (RC):   So I say to you, there will be joy before the Angels of God over even one sinner who is repentant."


15:10               Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.  By thus reaffirming the heavenly joy (Luke 15:7), Jesus sought to shame the Pharisees out of their cold-blooded murmuring (Luke 15:2).  [53]
                        “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”  Ezekiel 33:11.  [56]

                        one sinner.  God does not grant salvation to groups, but to individuals.  Hence every single individual who sits their life aright is joyously accepted by God as the latest addition to His ever expanding kingdom.  [rw]



15:11                                                   Translations

Weyouth:       He went on to say, "There was a man who had two sons.

WEB:              He said, "A certain man had two sons.   

Young’s:         And he said, 'A certain man had two sons,
Conte (RC):   And he said: "A certain man had two sons.


15:11               And he said, A certain man had two sons.  These two sons represent the professedly religious (the elder) and the openly irreligious (the younger). They have special reference to the two parties found in Luke 15:1, 2--the publicans and sinners, and the Pharisees.  [53]

                        Or:  The primary applications of this divine parable,--which is peculiar to Luke, and would alone have added inestimable value to his Gospel—are (1) to the Pharisees and the “sinners”—i.e., to the professedly religious, and the openly irreligious classes; and (2) to the Jews and Gentiles.  This latter application however only lies indirectly in the parable, and it is doubtful whether it would have occurred consciously to those who heard it.  This is the Evangelium in Evangelio.  How much it soars above the conceptions of Christians, even after hundreds of years of Christianity, is shewn by the “elder-brotherly spirit” which has so often been manifested (e.g. by Tertullian and all like him) in narrowing its interpretation.  [56]



15:12                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    The younger of them said to his father, "'Father, give me the share of the property that comes to me.' "So he divided his wealth between them.

WEB:              The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of your property.' He divided his livelihood between them.           

Young’s:         and the younger of them said to the father, Father, give me the portion of the substance falling to me, and he divided to them the living.
Conte (RC):   And the younger of them said to the father, 'Father, give me the portion of your estate which would go to me.' And he divided the estate between them.


15:12               And the younger of them said to his father.  Unwilling to wait until the most appropriate time, he is impatient.  Not just to get his hands on “cold hard cash” but to get as far away from home as he can.  He is, of course, operating under the delusion that this will guarantee his happiness.  He is thoroughly blind to the reality that we can make our life miserable no matter where we are.  That he is about to learn the long, hard, painful way.  [rw]

                        Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.  According to the Jewish law of inheritance, if there were but two sons, the elder would receive two portions, the younger the third of all movable property. A man might, during his lifetime, dispose of all his property by gift as he chose.  If the share of younger children was to be diminished by gift or taken away, the disposition must be made by a person presumably near death.  No one in good health could diminish, except by gift, the legal portion of a younger son.  The younger son thus was entitled by law to his share, though he had no right to claim it during his father's lifetime.  The request must be regarded as asking a favor (Edersheim).  [2]

                        And he divided unto them his living.  “Living” is the same as “goods,” or, “property,” in the previous sentence, only thought of here as the basis of a livelihood.  As we see later that the father is still at the head of the place (verses 22, 31), we understand that the partition to the elder brother was only provisional; allowing to him the income, perhaps, above the father’s support, until his death.  God does not constrain men to what is best for them, at the sacrifice of their freedom.  [52] 



15:13                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    No long time afterwards the younger son got all together and travelled to a distant country, where he wasted his money in debauchery and excess.

WEB:              Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living.

Young’s:         'And not many days after, having gathered all together, the younger son went abroad to a far country, and there he scattered his substance, living riotously;
Conte (RC):   And after not many days, the younger son, gathering it all together, set out on a long journey to a distant region. And there, he dissipated his substance, living in luxury.


15:13               And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey.  Having made his decision, he was not going to waste any time carrying it out.  One can easily imagine critical words from his older brother and odd looks from the servants.  [rw]

                        into a far country.  A country far off from his father's house. He went probably to trade or to seek his fortune, and in his wanderings came at last to this dissipated place, where his property was soon expended.  [11]

                        The Gentiles soon became “afar off” from God (Acts 2:39; Ephesians 2:17), “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”—So too the individual soul, in its temptations and its guiltiness, ever tries in vain to escape from God (Psalms cxxxix. 7-10) into the “far country” of sin, which involves forgetfulness of Him.   Jerome, Epistle 146.  Thus the younger son becomes “Lord of himself, that heritage of woe.”  [56] 

                        and there wasted his substance.  Some people spend their money to make more money.  Yet others spend money on anything and everything they wish, giving no thought to the possibility that one day there will be nothing left.  Assuming that he was more or less “working” at some trade during all of this, even if he was making any profit it was more than eliminated by that which he lost through his behavior, which is described as being “with riotous living.”  [rw] 

                        with riotous living.  Literally, “living ruinously”—asotos.  The adverb occurs here only, and is derived from a “not,” and “I save.”  The substantive occurs in 1 Peter 4:4; Ephesians 5:18.  Aristotle defines asotia as a mixture of intemperance and prodigality.  For the historical fact indicated, see Romans 1:19-32.  The individual fact needs, alas!  no illustration.  One phrase—two words—is enough.  Our loving Saviour does not dwell upon, or darken the details, of our sinfulness.  [56]



15:14                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    At last, when he had spent everything, there came a terrible famine throughout that country, and he began to feel the pinch of want.

WEB:              When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 

Young’s:         and he having spent all, there came a mighty famine on that country, and himself began to be in want;
Conte (RC):   And after he had consumed it all, a great famine occurred in that region, and he began to be in need.


15:14               And when he had spent all.  He’s dead broke, penniless.  He already has it bad; now he’s about to see his situation turn into a nightmare.  [rw]

                        there arose a mighty famine in that land.  Famines were common in Eastern nations. They were caused by the failure of the crops--by a want of timely rains, a genial sun, or sometimes by the prevalence of the plague or of the pestilence, which swept off numbers of the inhabitants.  [11]

                        Interpreting the disaster as caused by other problems:  The "mighty famine" may be understood to represent difficult times.  War or political convulsions, so common in those days, may have speedily brought about the ruin of many like the prodigal of our story, and his comparatively small fortune would quickly have been swallowed up.  [18]

                        God has given him his heart’s desire and sent leanness withal into his bones.  The worst famine of all is “not a famine of bread or a thirst of water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11); and in such a famine even “the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst (verse 13).  “They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns; broken cisterns, that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13.  [56] 

                        and he began to be in want.  In spite of being penniless he was able to continue, for a while, doing enough day labor—and relying upon occasional charity?—to somehow get by.  But now those options were becoming erratic in their success and he was beginning to learn how bad things could become.  With the emphasis of “beginning to learn” for things were going to get a lot worse still.  [rw]




15:15                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    So he went and hired himself to one of the inhabitants of that country, who sent him on to his farm to tend swine;

WEB:              He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs.     

Young’s:         and having gone on, he joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him to the fields to feed swine,
Conte (RC):   And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that region. And he sent him to his farm, in order to feed the swine.


15:15               And he went.  The wording argues that he initiated the action.  Others weren’t looking for new workers—after all there was a famine  and there would have been a problem of too many workers for the amount of labor that needed to be performed.  In this labor surplus situation the odds were against him but he, at least seemingly, had overcame them.  (Though it turned out he hadn’t done as much good for himself as he thought.)  [rw]    

                        and joined himself.  The verb means to glue or cement. Very expressive here, implying that he forced himself upon the citizen, who was unwilling to engage him, and who took him into service only upon persistent entreaty. "The unhappy wretch is a sort of appendage to a strange personality" (Godet).  [2]

                        to a citizen of that country.  Symbolic/sermonic application of the language:  By “the citizen of the far country” is indicated either men hopelessly corrupt and worldly; or perhaps the powers of evil.  We observe that in this far-off land, the Prodigal, with all his banquets and his lavishness, has not gained a single friend.  Sin never forms a real bond of pity and sympathy.  The cry of tempters and accomplices ever is, “What is that to us?  See thou to that.”  [56] 

                        and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  As he had received him reluctantly, so he gave him the meanest [worst] possible employment.  An ignominious occupation, especially in Jewish eyes. The keeping of swine was prohibited to Israelites under a curse.  [2]

                        The intensity of this climax could only be duly felt by Jews, who had such a loathing and abhorrence for swine that they would not even name them, but spoke of a pig as dabhar acheer, “the other thing.”  [56]



15:16                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    and he longed to make a hearty meal of the pods the swine were eating, but no one gave him any.

WEB:              He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any.

Young’s:         and he was desirous to fill his belly

from the husks that the swine were eating, and

no one was giving to him.
Conte (RC):   And he wanted to fill his belly with

the scraps that the swine ate. But no one would

give it to him.


15:16               And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat.  “Husks” gives the effect intended, but does not translate the Greek word; that designates the fruit of a tree common about the eastern end of the Mediterranean, called the carob tree.  They contain a slight amount of coarse nutriment, and, in lack of better provender, are sometimes fed to cattle and swine, and are even eaten, in extreme need, by the poorest people.  This distressed man, apparently, did not regard them as suited to satisfy the appetite, still less as able to afford real nourishment; but would have crammed his belly with them to assuage the gnawings of hunger.  [52]

                        and no man gave unto him.  Some have understood this as meaning "no one gave him anything--any bread or provisions;" but the connection requires us to understand it of the "husks."  He did not go a begging--his master was bound to provide for his wants; but the provision which he made for him was so poor that he would have preferred the food of the swine.  He desired a portion of "their food," but that was not given him.  A certain quantity was measured out for "them," and "he" was not at liberty to eat it himself.  Nothing could more strikingly show his deep degradation.  [11]



15:17                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "But on coming to himself he said, "'How many of my father's hired men have more bread than they want, while I here am dying of hunger!

WEB:              But when he came to himself he said, 'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I'm dying with hunger!           

Young’s:         'And having come to himself, he said, How many hirelings of my father have a superabundance of bread, and I here with hunger am perishing!
Conte (RC):   And returning to his senses, he said: 'How many hired hands in my father's house have abundant bread, while I perish here in famine!


15:17               And when he came to himself.  All sin is insanity; all wickedness is madness.  A wicked man is not himself.  He has lost self-control; all his best memories have been darkened or forgotten; and he is no longer to be counted a sane man in the true and proper sense of that term.  Wickedness blinds the intellectual faculties, disorders a man's vision--spiritual, intellectual, moral; gives him exaggerated    notions of all other persons and things.  [49]

                        he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare.  However out of place he had felt at home (and we are provided no indication of the reason for it), it was still better than the situation he now faced.  Desperation forced him to rise above his own prejudices and self-centeredness.  [rw]

                        and I perish with hunger!  A most pitiful end, and shameful, surely, if it can be avoided, to perish here, in this estrangement from my father; in rags, debasement, and the contempt of strangers.  [52]



15:18                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    I will rise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you:

WEB:              I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.      

Young’s:         having risen, I will go on unto my father, and will say to him, Father, I did sin -- to the heaven, and before thee,
Conte (RC):  I shall rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.


15:18               I will arise and go to my father.  The youth in the parable had loved his father and would not doubt about his father’s love; and in the region which the parable shadows forth, the mercy of God to the returning penitent has always been abundantly promised.  Isaiah lv. 7; Jeremiah 3:12; Hosea 14:1, 2, etc.; and throughout the whole New Testament.  [56]

                        Perhaps I am too much a cynic, but I hesitate to affirm that the parable is telling us that the son “had loved his father.”  At the very least, however, he clearly respected his father and his willingness to forgive.  Not every parent would—there is such a thing as “burning all the bridges.”  Yet he knew enough of his father’s past record of behavior that he felt confident that he would accept his return (instead of turning him away) and find something useful for him to do to provide for himself at least on the level of a simple employee.  He had no ground on which to expect anything more after his outrageous behavior.  But that much he was absolutely sure of.  [rw]     

                        and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.  He does not whitewash his behavior.  He did not make a mere “mistake.”  He did not act “immaturely.”  He had “failed to think it out.”  He is brutally honest about himself:  I have sinned.”  He is ready to make the step that separates the deluded from the forgiven.  [rw]



15:19                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    I no longer deserve to be called a son of yours: treat me as one of your hired men.'

WEB:              I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants."'           

Young’s:         and no more am I worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hirelings.
Conte (RC):   I am not worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired hands.'


15:19               And am no more worthy to be called thy son.  The humility of his confession indicates that the phrase "riotous living" (Luke 15:13) means more than merely a reckless expenditure of money.  [53]

                        make me as one of thy hired servants.  Of course he can never be anything less than a son but he can plead to be treated on a level with the hired servants.  He makes no attempt to use the sonship to wedge himself back into the family; he simply seeks the mercy of being treated like a paid employee.  [rw]



15:20                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "So he rose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and pitied him, and ran and threw his arms round his neck and kissed him tenderly.

WEB:              "He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 

Young’s:         'And having risen, he went unto his own father, and he being yet far distant, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and having ran he fell upon his neck and kissed him;
Conte (RC):   And rising up, he went to his father. But while he was still at a distance, his father saw him, and he was moved with compassion, and running to him, he fell upon his neck and kissed him.


15:20               And he arose and came to his father.  Repentance is here pictured as a journey.  It is more than a mere emotion or impulse.  [53]

                        But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him.  As if he had never ceased expecting that the son would become wiser, and return to the father’s roof, he was perpetually on the watch.  As soon, apparently, as he had come within the range of vision, the father recognized the child.  [52]

and had compassion.  Seeing his ragged, pitiable condition.  [53]

and ran.  Notwithstanding his age and paternal dignity.  [52]

                        and fell on his neck and kissed him.  This was a sign at once of affection and reconciliation. (A kiss is a sign of affection, 1 Samuel 10:1; Genesis 29:13.)  This must at once have dissipated every doubt of the son about the willingness of his father to forgive and receive him.  [11]



15:21                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'Father,' cried the son, 'I have sinned against Heaven and before you: no longer do I deserve to be called a son of yours.'

WEB:              The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

Young’s:         and the son said to him, Father, I did sin -- to the heaven, and before thee, and no more am I worthy to be called thy son.
Conte (RC):   And the son said to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. Now I am not worthy to be called your son.'


15:21               And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned.  Like a true penitent he grieves not for what he has lost, but for what he has done.  Here again the language of David furnishes the truest and most touching comment, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin,” Psalms 32:5.  The Prodigal’s penitence is not mere remorse or sorrow for punishment.  [56]

                        against heaven.  Rendered by some “unto heaven,” as though the magnitude of his iniquity was to be represented as towering even to heaven and filling all the intervening space.  But, rather, heaven as the abode of God and angels and all that is holy, is personified, and sin is thought of as a violation of its will and spirit and example.  (Meyer)  [52]

                        and in thy sight.  You know I have sinned; you aren’t blind to it.  I’m not asking you to be.  Which translates into the unsaid words:  “I know I have sinned against both God and you.  Forgive me—please.”  [rw]

and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  You have acted in an honorable and forthright manner.  I have not.  You have acted in the way a father should be willing to act, but I have failed to act as a son should.  The moral/ethical quality inherent in a sonship relationship I have lost due to my thickheadedness and my behavior.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Should the words “make me as one of thy hired servants” be added here (their presence in verse 19 being unquestioned) [52]?  Westcott and Hort add, “make me as one of thy hired servants,” whether rightly the text critics must decide.  The sentence is found in the three most important manuscripts of this passage, with other uncials, which are supported by various auxiliary authorities.  Against it are the greater number of uncials, with many subsidiary authorities. 

What seems to have contributed largely to its exclusion from most critical texts is the fact that Augustine, not finding it in his copies, has, in his comments on the verse, show such beautiful reasons for the omission, compared with verse 19, that we feel that the prodigal ought not to have repeated these words to his father.  It is easy to see, however, what propriety the Latin Father might have discovered in them, had he been familiar with one of the early texts in which they were found. 

If we understand that sentence not to have been spoken here, the better explanation of the omission is that the father was too eager, in his joy, to hear more of [the] confession.       



15:22                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "But the father said to his servants, "'Fetch a good coat quickly--the best one--and put it on him; and bring a ring for his finger and shoes for his feet.

WEB:              "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.       

Young’s:         'And the father said unto his servants, Bring forth the first robe, and clothe him, and give a ring for his hand, and sandals for the feet;
Conte (RC):   But the father said to his servants: 'Quickly! Bring out the best robe, and clothe him with it. And put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.


15:22               But the father said to his servants.  It is as though he had purposely cut short the humble self-reproaching words of shame which would have entreated him to make his lost son like one of his hired servants.  “While they are yet speaking, I will hear,” Isaiah lxv. 24.  [56]  

Bring forth the best robe.  The one best suited to denote love and honor.  [52]

                        Compare the remarkable scene of taking away the filthy rags from the High Priest Joshua, and clothing him with change of raiment, in Zechariah 3:1-10.  It is literally “the first robe” and some have explained it of the robe he used to wear at home—the former robe.  [56]

and put it on him. Serve as his dresser.  Another sign of being fully restored into the family without any grudge or resentment.  [rw]

                        and put a ring on his hand.  To "give" a ring was a mark of favor, or of affection, or of conferring office.  Compare  Genesis 41:42; Esther 8:2.  Here it was expressive of the "favor" and affection of the father.  [11]

            and shoes on his feet.  Both the ring and the shoes are marks of a free man.  Slaves went barefoot.  [2]

                        The reference shows us how flat out, totally destitute he was:  he could not even afford a pair of sandals for his extremely long walk back home.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Sermonic expansions of the language that may make an effective lesson but were unlikely to be part of Jesus’ original intent when He spoke the words [56].  Some have given special and separate significance to the best robe, as corresponding to the “wedding garment,” the robe of Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:9); and have identified the seal-ring with Baptism (Ephesians 1:13, 14); and the shoes with the preparation of the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15; Zechariah 10:12); and in the next verse have seen in the “fatted calf” an allusion to the Sacrifice of Christ, or the Eucharist.  Such applications are pious and instructive afterthoughts, though the latter is as old as Irenaeus; but it is doubtful whether the elaboration of them does not weaken the impressive grandeur and unity of the parable, as revealing the love of God even to His erring children.  We must not confuse Parable with Allegory.  The one dominant meaning of the parable is that God loved us even while we were dead in sins, Ephesians 2:1, 5.  [56]



15:23                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Fetch the fat calf and kill it, and let us feast and enjoy ourselves;

WEB:              Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate;           

Young’s:         and having brought the fatted calf, kill it, and having eaten, we may be merry,
Conte (RC):   And bring the fatted calf here, and kill it. And let us eat and hold a feast.


15:23               And bring hither the fatted calf.  The fatted calf, according to Eastern custom, was held in readiness for some great occasion (Genesis 18:7; 1 Samuel 28:24; 2 Samuel 6:13), and with some the custom still exists.  [53]

                        There was a custom in the large Palestinian farms that always a calf should be fattening ready for festal occasions.  [18]

                        The Greek word is used also for a heifer, or young bullock, of greater age than we mean by “calf.”  The article points to a definite, well-known animal, kept for a special feast, perhaps in hope of this very occasion.  [52]

                        and kill it.  The verb translated kill is specifically appropriate to the idea of “sacrifice.”  We cannot consistently suppose that it was used fully in that sense here, but when the father says “sacrifice it,” his feeling reaches after something more interesting and solemn than an ordinary meal.  [52]

                        and let us eat, and be merry.  No neighbors or friends are mentioned so, presumably, the father has in mind the general household:  A member of it has now “returned to the fold.”  Who better to have a feast and rejoice than the members of that household, however important or insignificant?  [rw]



15:24                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    for my son here was dead and has come to life again: he was lost and has been found.' "And they began to be merry.

WEB:              for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.' They began to celebrate.  

Young’s:         because this my son was dead, and did live again, and he was lost, and was found; and they began to be merry.
Conte (RC):   For this son of mine was dead, and has revived; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to feast.


15:24               For this my son was dead.  This is capable of two significations:  1. "I supposed" that he was dead, but I know now that he is alive.  2. He was "dead to virtue" - he was sunk in pleasure and vice.  The word is not unfrequently thus used.  See 1 Timothy 5:6; Matthew 8:22; Romans 6:13.  It is probable that this latter is the meaning here.  [11]

                        Or:  Dead to me, dead to virtue, dead to happiness.  [52]

                        and is alive again.  The being dead typifies the state of sin and exposure to eternal punishment (Romans 8:6); and the coming to life is the entrance upon that state of freedom from sin and service to God, the end of which is “everlasting life” (Romans 6:22, 23; compare 1 John 3:14).  [52]

he was lost, and is found.   Repeats the thought, and, as would seem, in a way designed to bring this recovery into the manifest series of the lost sheep and the lost piece of silver [earlier in this chapter].  [52]

And they began to be merry.  This is for the present parable the parallel to the rejoicing of the shepherd and the woman (verses 8, 9) and has also its counterpart in the joy of God and His angels.  [52] 



15:25                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Now his elder son was out on the farm; and when he returned and came near home, he heard music and dancing.

WEB:              "Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing.         

Young’s:         'And his elder son was in a field, and as, coming, he drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing,
Conte (RC):   But his elder son was in the field. And when he returned and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.


15:25               Now his elder son was in the field.  Toiling in a spirit which he himself, in verse 29, calls “service,” or, literally, “bond-service,” to his father.  [52]

                        and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.  This was a part of the merry-making of the household, significant of the joy of pardon; but the tired and joyless soul of the Pharisee and worker out of his own righteousness, knows nothing of this.  Suspicious, jealous, and destitute of true [parental] confidence, he does not go to his father in sympathy or for explanation.  [52]  

                        A cautionary note on the dancing?  Our Lord expresses no opinion about its "propriety."  He simply states "the fact," nor was there occasion for comment on it.  His mentioning it cannot be pleaded for its lawfulness or propriety, any more than his mentioning the vice of the younger son, or the wickedness of the Pharisees, can be pleaded to justify their conduct.  It is an expressive image, used in accordance with the known customs of the country, to express joy.  It is farther to be remarked, that if the example of persons in Scripture be pleaded for dancing, it can be only for just such dances as they practiced--for sacred or triumphal occasions.  [11]


                        In depth:  The inappropriateness some have found in the second half of the parable [56].  Many have felt a wish that the parable had ended with the moving and exquisite scene called up by the last words; or have regarded the remaining verses as practically a separate parable.  Such a judgment—not to speak of its presumption—shews a narrow spirit.  We must not forget that the Pharisees no less than publicans [stood in] need of repentance.  The elder son is still a son, nor any his faults intrinsically more heinous—though more perilous because more likely to lead to self-deception—than those of the younger.  Self-righteousness is sin as well as unrighteousness, and may be even a worse sin, Matthew 21:31, 32; but God has provided for both sins a full Sacrifice and a free forgiveness.  [56]



15:26                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Then he called one of the lads to him and asked what all this meant.

WEB:              He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on.          

Young’s:         and having called near one of the young men, he was inquiring what these things might be,
Conte (RC):   And he called one of the servants, and he questioned him as to what these things meant.


15:26               And he called one of the servants.  Noticeably not his father, the one who one would have expected to have the fullest and most complete explanation of what was—clearly unexpectedly—happening.  [rw] 

and asked what these things meant.  Cheerfulness and rejoicing were things so strange in that abode of slavish propriety, that their natural manifestations were a mystery.  [52]



15:27                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'Your brother has come,' he replied; 'and your father has had the fat calf killed, because he has got him home safe and sound.'

WEB:              He said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.'        

Young’s:         and he said to him -- Thy brother is arrived, and thy father did kill the fatted calf, because in health he did receive him back.
Conte (RC):   And he said to him: 'Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safely.'


15:27               And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.  The servant told him all he knew; the change in the brother’s character would not come within his range of notice.  [52]



15:28                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Then he was angry and would not go in. But his father came out and entreated him.

WEB:              But he was angry, and would not go in. Therefore his father came out, and begged him.           

Young’s:         'And he was angry, and would not go in, therefore his father, having come forth, was entreating him;
Conte (RC):   Then he became indignant, and he was unwilling to enter. Therefore, his father, going out, began to plead with him.


15:28               And he was angry, and would not go in.  The impulse of a natural fraternal affection would have been to rush in and signify delight at the wanderer’s safe return.  But this man’s conduct was like that of the Pharisees toward the publicans whom Christ won to His kingdom.  His base feeling partook of vexation that favor should be shown to an unworthy member of the family, a grudging of joy to others in which he could not sympathize, and grumbling for the consumption of property which would be only a loss to him.  He would have nothing to do with it all.  [52]

                        therefore came his father out.  He might justly have left him sulking to his own damage, yet he symbolizes God in his universal kindness, desiring the salvation of Pharisee as well as publican.  [52]

and intreated [pleaded with, NKJV] him.  We may imagine the arguments by which he would try to induce the reluctant spirit to join the festive company within.  [52]



15:29                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'All these years,' replied the son, 'I have been slaving for you, and I have never at any time disobeyed any of your orders, and yet you have never given me so much as a kid, for me to enjoy myself with my friends;

WEB:              But he answered his father, 'Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.          

Young’s:         and he answering said to the father, Lo, so many years I do serve thee, and never thy command did I transgress, and to me thou didst never give a kid, that with my friends I might make merry;
Conte (RC):   And in response, he said to his father: 'Behold, I have been serving you for so many years. And I have never transgressed your commandment. And yet, you have never given me even a young goat, so that I might feast with my friends.


15:29               And he answering said to his father.  It is evident from Luke 15:12, that the father gave him his portion when his profligate brother claimed his; for he divided his whole substance between them. And though he had not claimed it, so as to separate from, and live independently of, his father, yet he might have done so whenever he chose; and therefore his complaining was both undutiful and unjust.  [1]

                        Lo, these many years.  “Many years:  Hence we are talking of an extended period of time.  He has a well established, long-term pattern of behavior.  In a very real sense he is “pouting:”  “I deserved better than this!”  What he doesn’t say is fascinating:  There is no mention of his ever asking for such a special gift.  There is no mention of something happening that brought such great joy that such a feast should have been given—but the father passed by the opportunity.  Only then might he have had a legitimate complaint.  [rw]

                        do I serve thee.  Rather, “I am thy slave.”  He does not say “Father:  and evidently regards the yoke not as perfect freedom but as distasteful bondage.  The slave is ever dissatisfied; and this son worked in the spirit of a “hired-servant.”  [56]

                        neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment.  We have here reproduced the spirit, almost the very words, of the well-known answer of the young man in the gospel story, who was no doubt a promising scion of the Pharisee party:  "All these things have I kept from my youth up."  The same thought was in the mind, too, of him who thus prayed in the temple:  "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are," etc. (Luke 18:11, 12).  [18]         

                        and yet thou never gavest me a kid.  To say nothing of a calf or heifer.  His selfishness and jealousy appear in his emphasis on “me:” to “me, thou never gavest.”  [52]

that I might make merry with my friends.  Honest and virtuous people, as they are.  [52]

                        It sounds like the elder son had been just as disgruntled with things as the younger one, but had simply “kept his mouth shut” rather than say anything.  Is this why bitterness had so rotted out his heart that he reacts so harshly?  Without even taking time to learn that the younger had not even attempted to return as kin, but simply as paid servant?  [rw] 



15:30                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    but now that this son of yours is come who has eaten up your property among his bad women, you have killed the fat calf for him.'

WEB:              But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.'    

Young’s:         but when thy son -- this one who did devour thy living with harlots -- came, thou didst kill to him the fatted calf.
Conte (RC):   Yet after this son of yours returned, who has devoured his substance with loose women, you have killed the fatted calf for him.'


15:30               But as soon as this thy son was come.  Every syllable breathes rancour.  He disowns all brotherhood [“thy son,” not “my brother”]; and says “came” not “returned,” and tries to wake his father’s anger by saying “thy living,” and malignantly represents the conduct of his erring brother in the blackest light.  [56]

                        which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.  The loss of the property evidently offends him as much as the vice.  And observe that it is a brother’s comment which alone informs us, specifically, of this most degraded trait of the prodigal’s excess, even if it were true, and necessarily involved in the charge of “riotous living.”  [52]



15:31                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'You my dear son,' said the father, 'are always with me, and all that is mine is also yours.

WEB:              "He said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.

Young’s:         'And he said to him, Child, thou art always with me, and all my things are thine;
Conte (RC):   But he said to him: 'Son, you are with me always, and all that I have is yours.


15:31               And he said unto him, Son.  The Greek is “child,” a term of more tender affection.  The father’s impartial love has regard for both.  [52]

                        Thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  This is an answer to the objection that no special exhibitions of favor had been made to the elder son.  There had been no occasion for them; he had shared in the daily abundance of the father’s house.  There had been no room for them; he was always there, and the celebration of a return could only be made when there had been a departure.  The Saviour does not, in this connection, pass judgment on the question whether the Pharisees, represented by the elder son, were as righteous as they claimed to be (verse 29).  [52] 

                        Religionists of the Elder-brother type cannot realize the truth that they are not impoverished by the extension to others of God’s riches (Matthew 20:14).  Let us hope that after this appeal the elder son also went in.  [56]  



15:32                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    We are bound to make merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has come back to life, he was lost and has been found.'"

WEB:              But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.'"     

Young’s:         but to be merry, and to be glad, it was needful, because this thy brother was dead, and did live again, he was lost, and was found.'
Conte (RC):   But it was necessary to feast and to rejoice. For this brother of yours was dead, and has revived; he was lost, and is found.' "


15:32               It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad.  This emphasizes the duty of joy and gladness, as opposed to the sullen moroseness of the elder son.  Joy and mirth are appropriate and pleasing in the sight of God on fit [appropriate] occasions; and the bringing up of the outcast, the lost, to peace and virtue, is eminently a fit occasion.  [52]

                        for thy brother.  For he is thy brother, and I thy Father, though thou wouldest refuse this name to him, and didst not address that title to me.  [56]

                        was dead, and is alive again.  Alive in his soul, in his conscience, in his reason, in his sense of right; alive in his broken-heartedness.  That is the point at which true life begins.  [49]

                        and was lost, and is found.  His moral compass had been busted and he wandered throughout the jungles of rebellion and sin, but now had found the road back to rationality and just behavior.  [rw]


                        In depth:  The direct applications of the prodigal son parable [52].  Some have interpreted this parable as indicating the Jewish nation by the elder son and the Gentiles by the younger.  Doubtless, we can apply it, in several particulars, to the contrast between these two sections of mankind; but its primary reference was, clearly, as pointed out above.  And on the principle that every Scripture is applicable to all men, in proportion as they are such as those originally addressed by it, we may find it true of every sin-sick, repenting, believing soul, over against the worldly, hard, impenitent, self-sufficient neighbor, who feels no need of repentance and sees no sense in it.


                        In depth:  Overview of the three parables in this chapter [53].  A comparison of the three preceding parables brings out many suggestive points, thus:

(1) The first parable (Luke 15:3-7) illustrates Christ's compassion.  A sentient, suffering creature is lost, and it was bad for "it" that it should be so.  Hence it must be sought, though its value is only one out of a hundred.  Man's lost condition makes him wretched.

(2)  The second parable (Luke 15:8-10) shows us how God values a soul.  A lifeless piece of metal is lost, and while it could not be pitied, it could be valued, and since its value was one out ten, it was bad for the "owner" that it should be lost.  God looks upon man's loss as his impoverishment.

(3)  The first two parables depict the efforts of Christ in the salvation of man, or that side of conversion more apparent, so to speak, to God; while the third (Luke 15:11-32) sets forth the responsive efforts put forth by man to avail himself of God's salvation-- the side of conversion more apparent to us.  Moreover, as the parabolic figures become more nearly literal, as we pass from sheep and coin to son, the values also rise, and instead of one from a hundred, or one from ten, we have one out of two!




Books Utilized

(with number code)



1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.


2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.


3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]


4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,



5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.


6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.


7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament: 

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,



8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.


9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.


10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.


11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.


12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.


13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.


14        =          D.D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   


15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  


16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.


17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.


18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,



19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.


20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible ...with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.


21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.


22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.


23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 


24        =          John Albert Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.


25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.


26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.


27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 


28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.


29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.


30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.


31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.


32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.


33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.


34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.


35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 


36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.


37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 


38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,



39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 


40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.


41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.


42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.


43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 


44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  


45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.


46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.


47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].


48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878. 


49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        tureMark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.


50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.


51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.



52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,



53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.


54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.



55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,



56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.