Meyer's NT Commentary
Luke 15:2. οἱ Φαρισ.] With Lachm. and Tisch. read οἵ τ. Φαρισ., in accordance with B D L א. The τε is certainly not an addition of the transcribers.
Luke 15:9. Instead of συγκαλεῖται Tisch. has συγκαλεῖ, on important yet not preponderating evidence [Tisch. 8 has συνκαλεῖ]. It is from Luke 15:6, where συγκαλεῖ is decisively attested.
Luke 15:14. ἱσχυρός] A B D L R א, min. have ἱσχυρά. Recommended by Griesbach, adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. Those MSS. preponderate, and the masculine is an amendment, in accordance with customary usage, and according to Luke 4:25. Comp. on Acts 11:28.
Luke 15:16. γεμίσαι τὴν κοιλίαν αὐτοῦ ἀπό] B D L R א, min. vss. have χορτασθῆναι ἐκ. An interpretation.
Luke 15:17. περισσεύουσιν] A B P and a few min. Tit. have περισσεύονται-g0-. Rightly; the active was introduced, in accordance with the wonted usage.
The ὧδε added by Griesb. is not found, indeed, in important authorities, and it stands in B L א, Lachm. after λιμῷ, but it has plainly been absorbed by ἐγὼ δέ; hence also the placing of it before λιμῷ, in accordance with D R U, min. vss. Chrys., is, with Griesb. Scholz, Tisch., to be preferred [Tisch. 8 has λιμῷ ὧδε].
Luke 15:19. Before οὐκέτι Elz. has καί, but in opposition to decisive evidence. Moreover, at Luke 15:21 this καί is to be deleted, on preponderating evidence.
Luke 15:22. Lachm. and Tisch. [not Tisch. 8] have ταχύ before ἐξενέγκατε, in accordance with B L X א, vss., also Vulg. It. Jer. D also adds weight to the evidence with ταχέως. ταχύ is to be regarded as genuine. Copyists would have added a more familiar word as εὐθέως, or at least as, with D, ταχέως (Luke 14:21). ταχύ does not occur at all elsewhere in Luke; still the omission is not to be explained by this fact, but simply as an old clerical error.
τὴν στολήν] τήν has decisive MSS. against it, and is, according to Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted as an addition.
Luke 15:23. ἐνέγκαντες] B L R X א, Vulg. It. Copt. Sahid. have φέρετε. So Tisch. The participle is an attempt to improve the style. D also testifies in favour of the imperative by ἐνέγκατε (Luke 15:22).
Luke 15:24 καὶ ἀπολ.] καί is rightly condemned by Griesb., on decisive evidence, and deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. The second ἦν, however, has against it, in D Q, min., evidence too feeble for it to be deleted. Yet, according to A B L א*, it must be placed before ἀπολ. (Lachm. Tisch.). The position after ἀπολ. is a harmonizing of it with νεκρ. ἦν.
Luke 15:32. Instead of ἀνέζησεν, read with Tisch., following B L R Δ א, min., ἔζησεν. The former is from Luke 15:24.
In the same manner is to be explained the omission of καί before ἀπολ. in Tisch. (following D X א). But ἦν is here to be deleted, on decisive MSS. (Lachm. Tisch.; condemned also by Griesb.).
Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.Luke 15:1-2. Introduction to a new, important, and for the most part parabolic set of discourses (down to Luke 17:10), which were uttered after the incidents previously narrated on the continuance of the journey (Luke 14:25), and are set forth by Luke in accordance with his source of the story of the journey. After that exacting discourse, to wit, Luke 14:25-35, many of the publicans and sinners at once attached themselves to Jesus (which psychologically was intelligible enough); and He was so far from rejecting them, that He even fraternized with them at table. This arouses the murmuring of the Pharisees, and thereupon He takes the opportunity of directing the discourse as far as Luke 15:32 to these (Luke 15:3), and then of addressing Luke 16:1-13 to His followers; whereupon He again being specially induced (Luke 16:14) discourses anew against the Pharisees (Luke 16:15-31), and finally closes the scene with instructions to His disciples.
ἦσαν ἐγγιζ.] They were actually engaged in, busied with, drawing near to Him. The usual view: solebant accedere, is arbitrary, because in that way the connection with what precedes is needlessly abandoned.
πάντες] a hyperbole of simple narrative. The throng of such people became greater and greater. Comp. Luke 5:29 f.
καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτ.] as Matthew 9:10.
διεγόγγυζον] διά “certandi significationem addit,” Hermann, ad Viger. p. 856. Hence always of several, whose alternate murmuring is meant, Luke 19:7; Sir 34:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 16:8; Exodus 17:3, and elsewhere; Heliodor. vii. 27.
προσδέχεται] receives them, does not reject them. It is quite general, and only with κ. συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς does any special meaning come in.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?Luke 15:4-7. Comp. on Matthew 18:12-14. But in Luke there is still the primitive freshness in the pictorial representation, nevertheless the reference and the application are different.
ἐπί] after, with the purpose of fetching it. See Bernhardy, p. 252.
Luke 15:5. ἐπὶ τ. ὤμους ἑαυτοῦ] on his own shoulders; ἑαυτοῦ strengthens the description of the joyous solicitude which relieves the beloved creature from further running alone.
φίλους] kinsmen, as at Luke 7:6.
Luke 15:9. ἔσται] The future refers to every circumstance of the kind that occurs.
ἤ ἐπὶ κ.τ.λ.] As to ἤ without a preceding comparative, see on Matthew 18:8, and Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 309 [E. T. 360]. By the ninety and nine righteous Jesus means the legally righteous, whom He characterizes by οἵτινες (quippe qui) οὐ χρείαν ἔχ. μεταν. from the legal standpoint, not from that of the inner character. They need not repentance, so far as they have not swerved from the standard prescribed by the law, while in a purely moral relation their condition may be altogether different, and as a rule was altogether different (as in the case of the Pharisees). Hence, moreover, is explained the greater joy over a single sinner that repents. The eldest son in the parable of the prodigal son is distinctively and aptly described as such a righteous man, so that, in accordance with the context, an actually virtuous man (as usually) cannot be conceived of, for in that case the greater joy would have to be regarded as only an anthropopathic detail (“quia insperata aut prope desperata magis nos afficiunt,” Grotius).
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?Luke 15:8-10. The same teaching by means of a similar parable, which, however, is not found also in Matthew, yet without express repetition of the comparative joy.
συγκαλεῖται] convocat sibi, describing the action more precisely than συγκαλεῖ, Luke 15:6. Comp. Luke 9:1, Luke 23:13; Acts 10:24; Acts 28:17.
ἐνώπ. τ. ἀγγέλων τ. θεοῦ] a special expression of what is meant by ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, Luke 15:7. The joy of God is rendered perceptible, as He, surrounded by the angels, allows it to be recognised in the presence of them. Comp. Luke 12:8.
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And he said, A certain man had two sons:Luke 15:11. Jesus Himself has very definitely declared the doctrinal contents of the two foregoing parables, Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10. In order now by more special detail and by all the liveliness of contrast to make palpable this doctrine, and especially the growth and course of sin, the growth and course of repentance, the joy of God thereupon, and the demeanour of the legally righteous towards this joy, He adds a third parable, as distinguished and complete in its psychological delicacy and its picturesque truth in depicting human circumstances and affections as in its clear and profound insight into the divine disposition,—the pearl among the doctrinal utterances of Jesus, which are preserved to us by Luke alone, and among all parables the most beautiful and most comprehensive. The parable has nothing to do with Matthew 21:28-30 (in opposition to Holtzmann, p. 155), nor is it a new form of the parable of the lost sheep (Eichthal). By the youngest son Jesus denotes generally the sinner who repents, by the eldest son generally the legally righteous; not specially by the former the publicans, and by the latter the Pharisees (so also Wittichen, Idee Gottes als d. Vaters, p. 35 ff.); the application, however, of the characteristic features in question to both of these could not be mistaken any more than the application of the doctrine declared in Luke 15:7. The interpretation of the two sons—of the eldest by the Jews, of the youngest by the Gentiles, in accordance with the relation of both to Christianity (already Augustine, Quaest. Ev. ii. 33; Bede, and others; recently carried out in great detail, especially by Zeller in the Theol. Jahrb. 1843, p. 81 f.; Baur, ibid. 1845, p. 522 f.; Baur, d. kanon. Evang. p. 510 f.; comp. Schwegler, Nachapost. Zeitalter, II. p. 47 f.; Ritschl, Evang. Marcions, p. 282 f.; Volkmar, Evang. Marcions, p. 66 f., 248; Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 198; Schenkel, p. 195)—confuses the applicability of the parable with its occasion and purpose, and was in the highest degree welcome to the view which attributed to the gospel a tendential reference to later concrete conditions; but, in accordance with the occasion of the whole discourse as stated at Luke 15:1-2, and in accordance with the doctrine of the same declared at Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10, it is wholly mistaken, comp. Köstlin, p. 225 ff. It did not at all enter into the purpose of the compilation to refer to such a secondary interpretation (in opposition to Weizsäcker). Moreover, the more this parable is a triumph of the purely ethical aspect of the teaching of Jesus, and the more important it is on the side of practical Christianity, so much the more have we to guard against attaching undue significance to special points which constitute the drapery of the parable, and to details which are merely artistic (Fathers, and especially Catholic expositors down to the time of Schegg and Bisping, partially also Olshausen). Thus, for example, Augustine understood by the squandered means, the image of God; by the λιμός, the indigentia verbi veritatis; by the citizen of the far country, the devil; by the swine, the demons; by the husks, the doctrinas saeculares, etc. So, in substance, Ambrose, Jerome, and others. Diverging in certain particulars, Theophylact and Euthymius Zigabenus.
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.Luke 15:12-13. Ὁ νεώτερος] νεώτερον δὲ ὀνομάζει τὸν ἁμαρτωλὸν ὡς νηπιόφρονα καὶ εὐεξαπάτητον, Euthymius Zigabenus.
τὸ ἐπιβάλλου μέτος] the portion falling to my share, that which belongs to me, Herod. iv. 115; Dem. 312. 2, 317. 1; Diod. Sic. xiv. 17; Polyb. xviii. 24. 1, vi. 34. 1, and elsewhere. See also Wetstein and Kypke, I. p. 289. According to the Hebrew law of inheritance, there fell to the younger son only half as much as the first-born received (Deuteronomy 21:17; Michaelis, Mos. R. § 79; Saalschütz, p. 820 f.). The son asks that this his future portion of inheritance be given to him in advance. The father grants “non quod oportebat, sed quod licebat facere,” Maldonatus. An agreement, according to an approximate estimate, must be presupposed. But the granting of his request is a necessary part of the parable, on account of human freedom. “Discedentes a se non prohibet, redeuntes amplectitur,” Maldonatus.
διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς] to both the sons, in such wise, however, as to reserve to himself until his death the right of usufruct over the portion of the eldest, and the latter remained in his service, Luke 15:29-31.
τὸν βίον] Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43 : that whereon the family lived, i.e. nothing else than their means. Hesiod. Op. 230. 575; Herod. i. 31, viii. 51, and frequently. Paulus (comp. Michaelis) makes, without reason, a distinction between this and οὐσία, which, according to him, is the whole means, saying that the father, however, divided merely his stock of provisions, not his capital. See, on the other hand, Luke 15:31.
Luke 15:13. μετʼ οὐ πολλ. ἡμέρ.] The greediness for unlimited pleasure urged him to haste.
ἅπαντα] what, namely, he had received as his portion of the inheritance, partly in natura, partly in money in settlement of what could not be taken with him.
ἀσώτως] recklessly, Dem. 1025. 19; Josephus, Antt. xii. 4. 8. Comp. on Ephesians 5:18. The sinful nature is developed from an independence which, under the influence of sinful longing, shakes itself loose from God (comp. Psalm 73:27) by the satisfaction of immoral pleasure.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.Luke 15:14-17. The divine ordinance of external misery, however, in connection with the consequences of sin, reawakens consideration and self-knowledge and the craving after God!
ἰσχυρά] (see the critical remarks) comp. on Luke 4:25.
κατὰ τὴν χώραν] κατά of extension, throughout, as Luke 8:39. Winer, p. 356 [E. T. 499].
καὶ αὐτός] and he, on his part.
ἤρξατο] The commencement of his new state is regarded as important.
Luke 15:15. ἐκολλήθη] he clave to, attached himself to, makes the obtrusiveness of his action palpable.
καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτόν] The previous object becomes the subject. See Stallbaum, ad Protag. p. 320 A, B; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 4. 5; Bernhardy, p. 468.
βόσκειν χοίρους] to keep swine; what an ignominous occupation for the ruined Jew!
Luke 15:16. γεμίσαι τ. κοιλίαν αὐτοῦ] to fill his belly (comp. Themist. Or. xxiii. p. 293 D); a choice expression for the impetuous craving of the hungry man.
ἀπό] from, i.e. by means of a portion, as with verbs of eating, Winer, p. 179 [E. T. 248].
κεράτιον] Cornicle, the sweetish fruit of the locust-tree (ceratonia siliqua of Linnaeus), used as food for swine, and by the poor as a means of nourishment, Galen. VI. p. 355. See Bochart, Hieroz. I. p. 708; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. V. p. 198 f.; Robinson, Pal. III. p. 272.
κ. οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ] not food (Wolf, Rosenmüller, Paulus), but, according to the context, κεράτια. When the swine driven home were fed therewith, which was the occupation of others, he was hungry even for that brutish provender, and no one gave it to him. No man troubled himself concerning the hungry one, to satisfy him even in this manner. That he should eat with the swine is appropriately not regarded as a possibility. Moreover, it is not presupposed that he received still worse food than κεράτια (Kuinoel, de Wette), but only that he received his maintenance on account of the famine in excessively small quantity, by reason whereof his hunger was so great that he, etc.
Luke 15:17. εἰς ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἐλθών] εἰς ἑαυτόν preceding, in contrast to the external misery, but having come to himself (i.e. having recovered his senses). See examples in Kypke. Comp. ἐν ἑαυτῷ γίνεσθαι, Xen. Anab. i. 5. 17; Acts 12:11. It is the moral self-understanding, which had become strange and remote to him, in respect of his condition and his need.
περισς. and λιμῷ are correlative; ἄρτων is not contrasted with κερατίοις (Olshausen), but περισς. ἄρτ. is the contrast to the little bread, which did not appease his hunger. περισσεύονται (see the critical remarks) is passive. They are provided with more than enough, receive superfluity of bread, Matthew 13:12; Matthew 25:29. Comp. περισσεύειν τινά, 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Athen. ii. p. 42 B.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,Luke 15:18-19. With this coming to himself and longing is associated the corresponding determination, namely, to turn back to God, to confess to Him his guilt and unworthiness, and to petition for grace. In this petition, however, the humility which belongs to the consciousness of guilt sets aside the thought of complete restoration.
εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν] against heaven. Comp. Matthew 18:15; Matthew 18:21, and elsewhere; εἰς τὸ θεῖον, Plat. Phaedr. p. 243 C. Heaven does not denote God, but is, as the abode of the Godhead and of the pure spirits, personified, so that this holy heavenly world appears as injured and offended by sin.
ἐνώπιον σοῦ] comp. 1 Samuel 7:6; 1 Samuel 10:1; Psalm 51:4; Tob 3:3; Jdt 5:17; Susann. 23. The meaning is: I have so sinned that I have transgressed before Thee, i.e. in relation to Thee. The moral relation of the deed to the offended subject is thus rendered palpable, as though this subject had suffered in respect of the deed; the moral reference is set forth as visible. Grotius, moreover, well says: “Non in aetatem, non in malos consultatores culpam rejicit, sed nudam parat sine excusatione confessionem.”
Luke 15:19. οὐκέτι] not: not yet (Paulus), but: no longer.
ποίησόν με κ.τ.λ.] i.e. place me in the position of being as one of thy day-labourers. Comp. Genesis 48:20; Isaiah 41:15. Without ὡς the petition would aim at the result of making him a day-labourer; with ὡς its purport is: although he is a son, yet to place him no otherwise than if he were one of the day-labourers.
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.Luke 15:20-24. God’s compassion in the carrying out of the repentant resolve; after it is carried out, the joyous receiving of him again to perfect sonship.
καὶ ἀναστὰς κ.τ.λ.] the resolution is no sooner taken than its execution begins.
πρὸς τ. πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ] to his own father; no other became the refuge of the unhappy son. There is an affecting touch in ἑαυτοῦ.
κατεφίλησεν] he kissed him again and again; see on Matthew 26:48.
Luke 15:21. The ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τ. μισθ. σου of Luke 15:19 is repressed by the demeanour of his father’s love; the deeply moved son cannot bring these words to his lips in the presence of such paternal affection. A psychologically delicate and significant representation.
Luke 15:22. “Filio respondet re ipsa,” Bengel.
στολὴν τὴν πρώτην] a robe, the first that we have in the house—to wit, according to its rank and worth, i.e. τὴν τιμιωτάτην, Euthymius Zigabenus. The idea—the one that had previously been worn by him (Theophylact, Calovius), which would be the righteousness lost in Adam—is opposed to Luke 15:13 in the service of dogmatic interpretation. Moreover, αὐτοῦ would have been added in that connection. With regard to the article after the anarthrous substantive, see Winer, p. 126 f. [E. T. 174 f.]. The στολή is the long and wide overcoat of the people of distinction, Mark 12:38; Mark 16:5; Revelation 6:11. The δακτύλιος, i.e. signet ring (Herod. ii. 0.318), and the ὑποδήματα (slaves went bare footed), are signs of the free man, which he who had returned was to be as a son of the house.
Luke 15:23. τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτ.] the well-known one which stands in the stall.
θύσατε] slaughter, as at Luke 15:30, not: sacrifice (Elsner).
φαγόντες εὐφρανθ.] not: laeti epulemur (Kuinoel), but: epulantes laetemur. Beware of forced interpretations like the following: according to Olshausen (comp. Jerome, Euthymius Zigabenus, and others), the στολὴ πρώτη denotes the divine righteousness (Revelation 3:18; Revelation 7:13; Revelation 19:8); the ring, the seal of the Spirit; the sandals, the capacity to walk in God’s ways (Ephesians 6:15): according to Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Euthymius Zigabenus, Theophylact, and others, the fatted calf is Christ! Comp. also Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 381.
Luke 15:24. νεκρὸς ἦν κ. ἀνέζ. κ.τ.λ.] is meant by the father in a moral sense: νέκρωσιν μὲν καὶ ἀπώλειαν φησὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ἀναζώωσιν δὲ καὶ εὕρεσιν τὴν ἀπὸ τῆς μετανοίας, Euthymius Zigabenus. A well-known mode of speaking of death and life (Matthew 4:16; Matthew 8:22; 1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 5:14; Romans 6:13; passages from the Rabbins, Schoettgen, Hor. p. 877 f.; from the classical writers, Bornemann, Schol. p. 97). In favour of this view it is manifest of itself that the father says absolutely νεκρὸς ἦν, which he cannot mean in the literal sense of the words; further, that after the approach related in Luke 15:20 f. his soul could be full only of the moral change of his son’s condition; finally, that he utters the same words, Luke 15:32, to the eldest son, who, being acquainted with the previous condition of his brother (Luke 15:30), could understand them only morally. The utterance of the servant, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν, Luke 15:27, is not opposed to this; for he speaks thus of the returned son of the house, only generally of his condition as it first presents itself to him, beyond which the slave has not to go. He has the right feeling of discretion, that respectfully, in accordance with his position, it does not become him to repeat the judgment of the father, but rather to abide by that external circumstance (that he has received him back sound). Even this feature belongs to the lifelike delicate points of this history. On all accounts the view is to be dismissed of Paulus, de Wette, and Bleek: νεκρός, dead as far as I am concerned (by his remoteness and his dissolute life, and ἀπολωλώς: lost, in the sense of disappeared).
εὐφραίνεσθαι] to be glad. The feast is naturally understood according to Luke 15:23.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.Luke 15:25-32. The legally righteous one. Instead of sharing the divine joy over the converted sinner, he is envious, regards himself—in respect of his legality, according to which he has been on his guard against momentary transgression—as neglected, and judges unlovingly about his brother, and discontentedly about God. A striking commentary on Luke 15:7; and how fitted to put to the blush the murmuring Pharisees and scribes, Luke 15:2!
συμφων. κ. χορῶν] not: the singing and the dancing (Luther), but, without the article: concert and choral dance, מָחוֹל, מְחוֹלָה. Music and dancing (commonly given by hired people) belonged to the entertainments of solemn festivals. See Matthew 14:6; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. in loc.; Wetstein.
Luke 15:26. τί εἴη ταῦτα] what this would be likely to signify. Comp. Acts 10:17. See Matthiae, § 488. 7; Krüger, ad Xen. Anab. i. 10. 14.
Luke 15:27. The slave mentions only the fatted calf, because this happened to be most closely associated with the festival of music and dancing.
ὑγιαίνοντα] not: morally safe and sound (ἀποβαλόντα τὴν νόσον διὰ τῆς μετανοίας, Euthymius Zigabenus, Kypke, Kuinoel, and many more), but, as is only fitting in the mouth of the slave (comp. on Luke 15:24), bodily safe and sound.
Luke 15:28. οὖν] in consequence of this refusal of the son. Yet, as with Lachmann and Tischendorf, the more strongly attested δέ is to be read.
παρεκάλει] he exhorted him to come in,—he spoke him fair; see on 1 Corinthians 4:13.
Luke 15:29. καὶ ἐμοί] The ἐμοί placed first has the emphasis of wounded selfish feeling. Contrast Luke 15:30.
ἔριφον] a young kid, of far less value than the fatted calf! Still more significant is the reading ἐρίφιον in B, Sahid. (a young kidling), which Ewald approves, and the delicacy of which the transcribers might easily have passed over. Comp. Matthew 25:33; Tob 2:11.
Luke 15:30. ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος] this son of thine, in the highest degree contemptuous. He was not going to call him his brother. On the other hand, the father, Luke 15:32 : ὁ ἀδελφός σου οὗτος. How bitter, moreover, is: “who has devoured for thee thy living,” and μετὰ πορνῶν, as contrasted with μετὰ τῶν φιλῶν μου!
Luke 15:31. τέκνον] full of love.
σὺ πάντοτε κ.τ.λ.] represents to the heart of the jealous brother the two great prerogatives that he had above his brother (hence the emphatic σύ). Thy constant association with me (while, on the other hand, thy brother was separated far and long from me), and the circumstance that my whole possessions belong to thee (as to the future heir of all, Luke 15:12), ought to raise thee far above such envious dispositions and judgments!
Luke 15:32. εὐφρανθῆναι] stands first with the emphasis of contrast, in opposition to such ill-humour.
ἔδει] not to be supplemented by σέ, but generally it was fitting or necessary,—a justification of the prearranged joy of the house, which, under the circumstances, was a moral necessity.
ἔζησεν] (see the critical remarks) was dead, and has become alive, Matthew 9:18; John 5:25; Romans 14:9.
REMARK.—(1) The exclusive title to the κληρονομία, which, according to Luke 15:31, is adjudged to those who are legally upright, has its justification in principle; οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου δικαιωθήσονται, Romans 2:13.—(2) For the adoption of sinners into this prerogative, which belongs in principle to the legally righteous, the parable indicates the method of self-knowledge, of repentance, and of confidence in the grace of God (faith). But the interposition of this grace through the death of reconciliation, and consequently the more specific definition of that confidence, Jesus leaves unnoticed, leaving these particulars to the further development of faith and doctrine after the atoning death had taken place; just as, moreover, He in general, according to the synoptic Gospels, limits Himself only to single hints of the doctrine of reconciliation as seed-corn for the future (Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; otherwise in John).—(3) As the reality does not correspond to the idea of legal righteousness, He points to the example of the son who has continued in outward conformity to the law, but therewith is proud of his virtue, unbrotherly and unfilial, and consequently holds up to the Pharisees a mirror for self-contemplation, the picture in which must tell them how very much they also needed repentance (in order to see the title in principle to legal righteousness realized in themselves), instead of censuring the fellowship of Jesus with publicans and sinners (Luke 15:7; Luke 15:1-2).
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
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.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.