The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.(A) 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’(B) So he divided his property(C) between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth(D) in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.(E) 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned(F) against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.(G)

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.(H) I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe(I) and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger(J) and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;(K) he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.(L)

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry(M) and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property(N) with prostitutes(O) comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”(P)

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The Story of the Lost Son

11-12 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’

12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

25-27 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’

28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’

31-32 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

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11 And he said: A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.

13 And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously.

14 And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.

17 And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father's house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger?

18 I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee:

19 I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son.

22 And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry:

24 Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him.

29 And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.

32 But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.

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The Son Who Left Home

11 Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the ·property [estate; C his inheritance].’ So the father divided the ·property [wealth; assets; L life] between his two sons. 13 ·Then [Some time later; L After not many days] the younger son gathered up all that was his and traveled ·far away to another [to a distant] country. There he ·wasted [squandered; scattered] his money in ·foolish [wild; reckless] living. 14 After he had spent everything, a time came when there was ·no food anywhere [L a severe famine] in the country, and the son ·was poor and hungry [L began to be in need]. 15 So he ·got a job with [hired himself out to] one of the citizens there who sent the son into the fields to feed pigs [C degrading work, since pigs were ritually unclean and detestable animals to Jews]. 16 The son was so hungry that he wanted to ·eat [or fill his stomach with] the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he ·realized what he was doing [came to his senses; L came to himself], he thought, ‘All of my father’s ·servants [hired workers] have ·plenty of [more than enough; abundant] ·food [bread]. But I am here, ·almost dying [perishing] with hunger. 18 I will ·leave and return [get up and go] to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against ·God [L heaven; C Jews often used “heaven” for “God” out of reverence for the divine Name] and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but ·let me be [make me] like one of your ·servants [hired workers].”’ 20 So the son left and went to his father.

“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt ·sorry [compassion] for his son. So the father ran to him [C an undignified act for a family patriarch; evidence of his unrestrained love] and hugged and kissed him. 21 The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against ·God [L heaven; v. 18] and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[a] 22 But the father said to his ·servants [slaves], ‘Hurry! Bring the ·best clothes [L first/best robe; C either the father’s own, or a ceremonial robe for an honored guest] and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger [C probably a signet ring indicating sonship and authority; Gen. 41:42] and sandals on his feet [C slaves went barefoot]. 23 And get our ·fat [fattened; C prepared for slaughter] calf and kill it [C people only occasionally ate meat; such a large animal indicates a major celebration] so we can have a feast and celebrate. 24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “The older son was in the field, and as he came closer to the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26 So he ·called to [summoned] one of the [household] servants and asked what all this meant. 27 The servant said, ‘Your brother has come back, and your father killed the ·fat [fattened; v. 23] calf, because your brother came home ·safely [healthy; safe and sound].’ 28 The older son was angry and ·would not [had no desire to] go in to the feast. So his father went out and ·begged [urged; encouraged] him to come in. 29 But the older son ·said to [answered] his father, ‘[L Look; T Behold] I have served you like a slave for many years and have ·always obeyed [never disobeyed; L never neglected] your commands. But you never gave me even a young goat to ·have at a feast [celebrate] with my friends. 30 But ·your other son [L this son of yours], who ·wasted [squandered; devoured] ·all your money [your property; L your life] on prostitutes, comes home, and you kill the fat [fattened; v. 23] calf for him!’ 31 The father said to him, ‘·Son [Child], you ·are always with [or have always stood by] me, and all that I have is yours. 32 [L But] We had to celebrate and ·be happy [rejoice] because ·your brother [L this brother of yours; v. 30] was dead, but ·now he is alive [has come back to life]. He was lost, but now he is found.’”

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Footnotes

  1. Luke 15:21 son Some Greek copies continue, “but let me be like one of your servants” (see verse 19).