The Parable of the Lost Son

11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets[a] to them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered(A) his estate in foolish living.(B) 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing.[b] 15 Then he went to work for[c] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.(C) 16 He longed to eat his fill from[d] the carob pods[e] the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. 17 When he came to his senses,[f] he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger![g] 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned(D) against heaven(E) and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthy(F) to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion.(G) He ran, threw his arms around his neck,[h] and kissed(H) him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe(I) and put it on him; put a ring(J) on his finger[i] and sandals(K) on his feet. 23 Then bring the fattened calf(L) and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again;(M) he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he summoned one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’[j]

28 “Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets[k] with prostitutes,(N) you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’

31 “‘Son,’[l] he said to him, ‘you are always with me,(O) and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Read full chapter


  1. Luke 15:12 Or living; lit livelihood
  2. Luke 15:14 Lit and he began to be in need
  3. Luke 15:15 Lit went and joined with
  4. Luke 15:16 Other mss read to fill his stomach with
  5. Luke 15:16 Seed casings of a tree used as food for cattle, pigs, and sometimes the poor
  6. Luke 15:17 Lit to himself
  7. Luke 15:17 Or dying in the famine; v. 14
  8. Luke 15:20 Lit He ran, fell on his neck
  9. Luke 15:22 Lit hand
  10. Luke 15:27 Lit him back healthy
  11. Luke 15:30 Lit livelihood, or living
  12. Luke 15:31 Or Child