And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave to him.
Jump to: Alford • Barnes • Bengel • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Exp Grk • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • ICC • JFB • Kelly • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Meyer • Parker • PNT • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • VWS • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He would fain have filled his belly.—It is singular that very many of the best MSS. give the simpler reading, “desired to be filled or satisfied.” It is open to suppose either that they shrank from the reading in the text as too coarse, or that the later MSS. introduced “filled his belly” as more vivid and colloquial; or, as seems probable, that there may have been a variation of phrase even in the original autograph MSS. of St. Luke.
The husks that the swine did eat.—The word is generic, but it is commonly identified with the long bean-like pods of the carob-tree, or Ceratonia siliqua, or St. John’s bread, in which some have seen the “locusts” of Matthew 3:4. They contain a good deal of saccharine matter, and are commonly used as food for swine in Syria and Egypt. Spiritually, they answer to the sensual pleasures in which men who are as the swine, identified with brute appetites, find adequate sustenance. The soul that was born to a higher inheritance cannot so satisfy itself. It seeks to be “like a beast with lower pleasures,” but it is part of the Father’s discipline that that baser satisfaction is beyond its reach.
The husks - The word "husks" with us denotes the outward covering of grain. In this there is little nourishment, and it is evident that this is not intended here; but the word used here denotes not only "husks," but also leguminous plants, as beans, etc. It is also used to denote the fruit of a tree called the "carob or kharub-tree," which is common in Ionia, Syria, and Rhodes. The tree is more bushy and thick set than the apple tree, and the leaves are larger and of a much darker green. The following is Dr. Thomson's description of the fruit of this tree ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 22): "The 'husks' - a mistranslation - are fleshy pods, somewhat like those of the locust-tree, from six to ten inches long and one broad, laid inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe. I have seen large orchards of this kharub in Cyprus, where it is still the food which the swine do eat. The kharub is often called John's Bread, and also Locust-tree, from a mistaken idea about the food of the Baptist in the wilderness." The cut will give an idea of these "pods," or "husks," as they are called in our translation.
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 the evil of his condition, or the deep degradation, and pollution, and wretchedness of sin.
the husks—"the hulls of a leguminous plant which in the East is the food of cattle and swine, and often the nourishment of the poorest in times of distress" [Stier].
no man gave … him—not this food, for that he had, but anything better (Jer 30:14). This was his lowest depth—perishing unpitied, alone in the world, and ready to disappear from it unmissed! But this is just the blessed turning-point; midnight before dawn of day (2Ch 12:8; 33:11-13; Jer 2:19).See Poole on "Luke 15:11"
that the swine did eat, self-righteous persons, like himself; for such an one was now the publican and sinner become, though he did not continue so. Christ's lambs and sheep do not eat such food, nor will, nor can they, only swinish, selfish persons; this is suitable to their nature, they eat it, and live upon it; which shows them to be unrenewed, and that their taste is not changed.
And no man gave unto him: not the husks, though this is the sense of the Arabic version, which renders it, "neither did he obtain them"; and so it seems to be ours and others: but these were at hand, which he might have taken himself, and did; nor is it reasonable to think he should wait to have them given him by another; or that he should be restrained from them; but it is to be understood of bread, or proper food, and that no man gave that unto him: and the words, as Calvin observes, may be read causally, "for no man gave to him"; and so are a reason why he craved husks, because no man gave him any bread: the citizen, or legal preacher, to whom he joined himself, gave him none; nor the swine, the self-righteous persons, to whom he was sent, and with whom he conversed, gave him none; he had nothing under the ministry, nor in conversation, that was proper food to him; there were nothing but these husks that presented, and he tried to satisfy himself with them; and indeed none but Christ can give the true bread, the bread of life, to those that are hungry, and in want.And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 15:16. ἐπεθύμει, etc., he was fain to fill his belly with the horn-shaped pods of the carob-tree. The point is that he was so poorly fed by his new master (who felt the pinch of hard times, and on whom he had small claim) that to get a good meal of anything, even swine’s food, was a treat. γεμίσαι τ. κ., though realistic, is redeemed from vulgarity by the dire distress of the quondam voluptuary. Anything to fill the aching void within!—οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου, no one was giving him: this his experience from day to day and week to week. Giving what? Not the pods, as many think, these he would take without leave, but anything better. His master gave him little—famine rations, and no other kind soul made up for the lack. Neither food nor love abounded in that country. So there was nothing for it but swine’s food or semi-starvation—or home!16. he would fain] Literally, “he was longing.”
filled his belly with] The plain expression—purposely adopted to add the last touch to the youth’s degradation—gave offence to some copyists, who substituted for it the verb ‘to be fed.’ The reading adopted in our text is, however, certainly the true one, and perhaps implies that from such food nothing could be hoped for but to allay the pangs of famine. He only hopes to ‘fill his belly,’ not to sate his hunger. Even the world’s utmost gorgeousness and most unchecked sensuality could not avail to raise the soul of men or of nations out of utter misery.
the husks that the swine did eat] Literally, “the carob-pods of which the swine were eating.” The word rendered ‘husks’ means ‘little horns,’ i.e. the long, coarse, sweetish, bean-shaped pods of the carob tree (ceratonia siliqua, St John’s bread tree), which were only used by the poorest of the population. Some (incorrectly) give the same meaning to the ἀκρίδες (‘locusts’) which formed the food of St John the Baptist.
and no man gave unto him] No one ‘was giving,’ or ‘chose to give’ him either the husks or anything else. Satan has no desire for, and no interest in, even the smallest alleviation of the anguish and degradation of his victims. Even the vile earthly gifts, and base sensual pleasures, are withheld or become impossible. “Who follozvs pleasure, pleasure slays.”Luke 15:16. Γεμίσαι, fill) The greater was his emptiness, the greater in proportion was his appetite.—τῶν κερατίων) The Syriac Version has חרובא, from which the opinion seems in part to have originated, and in part is confirmed, namely, that of those who understand the word not of the husks of leguminous plants (pulse, beans, etc.), but of the fruit of the carob tree (“St John’s bread”), called καῤῥουβία (from which comes the French word carrouges), which was the food used by the poorest of men and by swine: as is the view of Maldonatus, Bochart, Drusius, Simonius, and before them, some one or other in the Greek Lexicon brought out by ten writers at Basle, 1584. Add Buxt. Lexicon Talm., who, col. 821, shows that חרוב is a species of tree. No doubt all κεράτια are siliquæ, leguminous plants; whether all siliquæ are to be called by the name, κεράτια, I know not.
 i.e. All κεράτια are ‘siliquæ’ no doubt; but the carob is a ‘siliqua’ of a particular species, “Siliqua Græca.” Therefore it is not certain that this particular siliqua was called κεράτια.—E. and T.Verse 16. - And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. So low was this poor lost man reduced, that in his bitter hunger he even came to long for the coarse but nutritious bean with which the herd was fed. These swine were of some value when fattened for the market; but he, the swineherd, was valueless - he might starve. The husks in question were the long bean-shaped pods of the carob tree (Caratonia siliqua), commonly used for fattening swine in Syria and Egypt. They contain a proportion of sugar. The very poorest of the population occasionally use them as food.
Longing desire. Imperfect tense, he was longing, all the while he was tending the swine.
Filled his belly (γεμίσαι τὴν κοιλίαν)
The texts vary. The Rev. follows the reading χορτασθῆναι, "He would fain have been filled," using the same word which is employed of filling those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6, see note), and of the five thousand (Matthew 14:20). He had wanted the wrong thing all along, and it was no better now. All he wanted was to fill his belly.
Carob-pods. The word is a diminutive of κέρας, a horn, and means, literally, a little horn, from the shape of the pod. The tree is sometimes called in German Bockshornbaum, Goat's-horn-tree. "The fleshy pods are from six to ten inches long, and one broad, lined inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe" (Thomson, "Land and Book"). The shell or pod alone is eaten. It grows in Southern Italy and Spain, and it is said that during the Peninsular War the horses of the British cavalry were often fed upon the pods. It is also called Saint John's bread, from a tradition that the Baptist fed upon its fruit in the wilderness. Edersheim quotes a Jewish saying, "When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they become repentant."
LinksLuke 15:16 Interlinear
Luke 15:16 Parallel Texts
Luke 15:16 NIV
Luke 15:16 NLT
Luke 15:16 ESV
Luke 15:16 NASB
Luke 15:16 KJV
Luke 15:16 Bible Apps
Luke 15:16 Parallel
Luke 15:16 Biblia Paralela
Luke 15:16 Chinese Bible
Luke 15:16 French Bible
Luke 15:16 German Bible