And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
The "husks that the swine did eat" are familiarly known as the pods of the Ceratonia siliqua of Linnaeus. It is a noble tree, stretching all along the southern points of the shores of the Mediterranean, and sometimes farther northward, from Spain to Palestine. Greece and Cyprus are the most favoured places, but southern Italy is beautiful with these trees. The foliage is dark green — evergreen; the pod is thick, and filled with a viscous, sweetish sub. stance, from which is obtained a very useful dibs or molasses, which is often made to take the place of a similar product from the grape. These pods are to be seen now and then for sale in New York and Philadelphia. The smaller merchants often ridiculously call them "locusts and wild honey," with about as much reason, and with just the same mistake, as those who call them "St. John's bread." The pod is thickish, and generally breaks up when dry, the pieces still holding the beans; not dropping them out as peas are dropped. The kharub bean can scarcely be shelled — except when fresh, and then not easily. Not only the beans, but the pods themselves, are an article of food for both beast and man. They are exported to Europe and America, and ground up to serve many purposes of food, and perhaps adulteration. One may look over the newspaper lists of arrivals of vessels at Constantinople, and often see that by far the greater number of vessels were loaded with kharub beans or pods, and most of them from Limassol in Cyprus. To be sure these vessels are very small, and one large steamer has the capacity of a hundred of them; but in numbers these kharub cargoes appear to lead the list in Constantinople. The identity of the fruit of the kharub-tree with these "husks" does not depend upon the Greek alone of the New Testament, but in the Peshitto Syriac rendering, the Syriac and Arabic names of both tree and fruit, and the tradition of the country which has kept the name. In Spain the same Arabic name is still retained, together with the article attached. In Italy the same name exists, though the writer oftener heard it pronounced carro'ba than carru'ba. In Arabic the accent is on the last syllable. As given in the English dictionaries, its pronunciation has departed about as widely from the original as the information they give has departed from completeness. They lay it down as car'ob. That, however, is more pardonable than the manner in which most English-speaking Hebraists abandon English coincidences with the true Shemitic pronunciation to adopt the mistakes of Germans, or the substitutes which Germans adopted for letters in cases where they "could not frame to pronounce it right." Linnaeus doubtless named the tree Ceratonia siliqua in order to combine both the original Greek and the Latin Vulgate translation. The former is keration and the latter siliquis. With regard to this food as characteristic of the prodigal's present or former condition, no great stress can be laid. Poor people eat it now; in Philadelphia it is sold as a sweatiness to the little boys. It is not likely that the young man found such faro at his father's table. The talmudic proverb, however, says, "When the Israelite must eat rejected food, then he comes to himself." But they have two other proverbs of great beauty in this connection. The first is: " The doors of prayer are sometimes open, sometimes shut; but the doors of repentance are ever open." The other is: "No sin resists sorrow and penitence."
(Prof. Isaac H. Hall.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: