Luke 15:1-32

Luke 15:1-32
Narrative Lectionary 333


Now all the tax collectorsI and sinnersII were coming nearIII to listenIV to him. 

Notes on verse 1

I “tax collectors” = telones. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is tax collector, one who worked for the Romans taking taxes from Jews. It also meant the toll house. Literally, this is “paying at the end.”
II “sinners” = hamartolos. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. This is sinning, sinful, sinner. It referred to missing the mark or falling short. The term was also used in archery for missing the target.
III “coming near” = eggizo. From eggus (nearby or near in time). This is extremely close by – approaching, at hand, immediately imminent.
IV “listen” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

And the PhariseesV and the scribesVI were grumblingVII and saying, “This fellow welcomesVIII sinners and eats with them.”

Notes on verse 2

V “Pharisees” = Pharisaios. From Aramaic peras (to divide, separate) and from Hebrew parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect active in the 1st century. Their name meant separate in the sense of wanting to live a life separated from sin. Whereas the Sadducees were part of the priestly line and inherited their religious position and responsibilities, Pharisees were regular people who studied the scriptures and offered guidance to regular folk. Sadducees were often wealthier and willing to sacrifice their identity to rub elbows with Roman society. Pharisees were often more concerned with what it meant to follow God without compromising what made them different as followers of God. Sadducees primarily believed in that which was written down (the first five books of the Bible) and Pharisees believed in the Bible and the traditions of the elders. Pharisees had a very wide range of interpretations and diversity of opinion. Their standard mode of religious engagement was lively debate with one another. To argue religion with another teacher was to recognize that they had something of value to offer.
VI “scribes” = grammateus. From gramma (what is drawn or written so a letter of the alphabet, correspondence, literature, learning); from grapho (to write). This is a writer, scribe, or secretary. Within Judaism, it was someone learned in the Law, a teacher. Also used in the Bible of the town-clerk of Ephesus. See Sirach 38:24-39:11 for a lengthier, positive passage about who scribes were and what they meant in society.
VII “grumbling” = diagogguzo. 2x in NT – grumbling of Pharisees and scribes before the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:2 & when Jesus agreed to eat with Zacchaeus in Luke 19:7. From dia (through, for the sake of, across, thoroughly) + gogguzo (to murmur or grumble; an onomatopoeia to sound similar to the cooing of doves; figuratively, it is simmering displeasure that is muffled – a dull, constant murmuring). This is to grumble or murmur like the ongoing hum of a dove or bee. It is intense, negative complaining as amplified through a crowd.
VIII “welcomes” = prosdechomai. 14x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is to receive, welcome, expect, accept. It is reception with a warm, personal welcome or active waiting. It can also mean endurance or patience.

3 So he told them this parable:IX “Which oneX of you, having a hundred sheepXI

Notes on verses 3-4a

IX “parable” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.
X “one” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
XI “sheep” = probaton. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.

and losingXII one of them, does not leaveXIII the ninety-nine in the wildernessXIV and goXV after the one that is lost until he findsXVI it? 

Notes on verse 4b

XII “losing” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
XIII “leave” = kataleipo. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + leipo (to leave behind, remain, lack, abandon, fall behind while racing). This is to leave or leave behind, abandon, forsake, leave in reserve.
XIV “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.
XV “go” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
XVI “finds” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

When he has found it, he laysXVII it on his shouldersXVIII and rejoices.XIX

Notes on verse 5

XVII “lays” = epitithemi. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to lay on or place on, whether in a friendly or aggressive way.
XVIII “shoulders” = omos. 2x in NT. Perhaps from phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is shoulder as a place to carry burdens.
XIX “rejoices” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).

6 And when he comes home,XX he calls togetherXXI his friendsXXII and neighbors,XXIII saying to them, ‘Rejoice withXXIV me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 

Notes on verse 6

XX “home” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
XXI “calls together” = sugkaleo. 8x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to summon or call together.
XXII “friends” = philos. This is dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person.
XXIII “neighbors” = geiton. 4x in NT. From ge (earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area). This is a neighbor as someone whose land is next door. It can also mean friend.
XXIV “rejoice with” = sugchairo. Related to “rejoices” in v5. 7x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + chairo (see note XIX above). This is to rejoice with, sympathize in joy, or share God’s grace.

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joyXXV in heavenXXVI over one sinner who repentsXXVII than over ninety-nine righteousXXVIII persons who needXXIX no repentance.XXX

Notes on verse 7

XXV “joy” = chara. Related to “rejoices” in v5 & “rejoice with” in v6. From chairo (see note XIX above). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
XXVI “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
XXVII “repents” = metanoeo. From meta (with, among, after, beyond) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect)}. This is to change how one thinks, to reconsider, to repent. It refers to a change of thinking, which means a change of purpose and behavior.
XXVIII “righteous” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
XXIX “need” = chreia. From chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.
XXX “repentance” = metanoia. Related to “repents” in v7. From metanoeo (see note XXVII above). This is literally to change one’s mind – to choose to think differently and so to act differently because of a moral compunction. It is an intentional change to the inner self. This word shares a root with the English “paranoia.”

8 “Or what womanXXXI having ten silver coins,XXXII if she loses one of them, does not lightXXXIII a lamp,XXXIV

Notes on verse 8a

XXXI “woman” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XXXII “silver coins” = drachme. 3x in NT – all in Luke 15:8-9. From drassomai (to grasp, catch, trap); perhaps related to drakon (dragon, large serpent, Satan; one who sees); from derkomai (to look). This is a drachma, which is a Greek coin that is silver.
XXXIII “light” = hapto. 5x in NT. This is to touch, cling, light on fire.
XXXIV “lamp” = luchnos. 14x in NT. Perhaps from the base of leukos (bright, white, brilliant); from luke (light). This is a lamp that is portable and fueled by oil. It can mean light in a literal or figurative sense.

sweepXXXV the house,XXXVI and searchXXXVII carefullyXXXVIII until she finds it? 

Notes on verse 8b

XXXV “sweep” = saroo. 3x in NT. From sairo (to brush off). This is to sweep or clean out by sweeping.
XXXVI “house” = oikia. Related to “home” in v6. From oikos (see note XX above). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.
XXXVII “search” = zeteo. This is to seek, search for, desire. It is searching for something by inquiring or investigation. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. There is a Hebrew figure of speech “to seek God’s face” so it can also mean to worship God. Alternately, you could seek someone’s life i.e. plot to kill them.
XXXVIII “carefully” = epimelos. 1x in NT. From epimeles (careful, worrying about); akin to epimeleomai (to attend to, care for); {from epi (on, upon, to, against, what is fitting) + melo (to think about something, take an interest; to care or worry about something)}. This is carefully or diligently.

When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there isXXXIX joy in the presence ofXL the angelsXLI of GodXLII over one sinner who repents.”

Notes on verses 9-10

XXXIX “is” = ginomai. Related to “woman” in v8. See note XXXI above.
XL “in the presence of” = enopios. Related to “one” in v4. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (see note X above). This is literally in the eye of, before, in presence.
XLI “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
XLII “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

11 Then Jesus said, “There was a manXLIII who had two sons.XLIV 12 The youngerXLV of them said to his father,XLVI

Notes on verses 11-12a

XLIII “man” = anthropos. Same as “one” in v4. See note X above.
XLIV “sons” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
XLV “younger” = neos. This is young, new, fresh, or youthful. This is brand new as opposed to novel (which is kainos in Greek).
XLVI “father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

‘Father, give me the shareXLVII of the propertyXLVIII that will belongXLIX to me.’ So he dividedL his propertyLI between them. 

Notes on verse 12b

XLVII “share” = meros. Related to “sinners” in v1. See note II above.                      
XLVIII “property” = ousia. 2x in NT – both in Luke 15. From eimi (to be, exist). This is property, wealth, goods, or substance.
XLIX “will belong” = epiballo. Related to “parable” in v3. 18x in NT. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + ballo (see note IX above). This is to place on, fall, lay, throw over, think about, waves crashing, emotions emerging.
L “divided” = diaireo. 2x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + haireo (to choose, take). This is to divide or distribute.
LI “property” = bios. 10x in NT – including the widow’s mite story where she gave all she had to live on in Mark 12:44 and Luke 21:4. This is physical life, livelihood, goods, or the way one lives one’s life.

13 A fewLII days later the younger son gatheredLIII all he had and traveledLIV to a distant country,LV

Notes on verse 13a

LII “a few” = ou + polus. Literally “not many.”
LIII “gathered” = sunago. Related to “angels” in v10. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (see note XLI above). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
LIV “traveled” = apodemeo. 6x in NT. From apodemos (to go abroad, sojourn in a foreign country); {from apo (from, away from) + demos (district, multitude, rabble, assembly; Greeks bound by similar laws or customs); {from deo (to tie, bind, compel, declare unlawful)}}. This is to travel abroad, be away from home. This word shares a root with “democracy” and “Nicodemus.”
LV “country” = chora. From chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is space, land, region, fields, open area – the countryside in contrast to the town.

and there he squanderedLVI his propertyLVII in dissoluteLVIII living. 

Notes on verse 13b

LVI “squandered” = diaskorpizo. 9x in NT. From dia (through, on account of, across, thoroughly) + skorpizo (to scatter, distribute, dissipate, waste). This is to separate or disperse. Figuratively, it can be squander or waste.
LVII “property” = ousia. Same as “property” in v12. See note XLVIII above.
LVIII “dissolute” = asotos. 1x in NT. From the same as asotia (profligacy, unsaved); {from a (not, without) + sozo (to save, heal, rescue); {from sos (safe, well, rescued)}}. This is literally something that can’t be saved or something that is wasted. Figuratively, is is prodigally or riotous.

14 When he had spentLIX everything, a severeLX famineLXI took placeLXII throughout that country, and he beganLXIII to be in need.LXIV 

Notes on verse 14

LIX “spent” = dapanao. 5x in NT. From dapane (cost or expense); from dapto (to devour). This is to spend, squander, waste.  It can be used literally for spending money or figuratively for expending energy or using time.
LX “severe” = ischuros. From ischuo (to be strong, healthy and vigorous, able, have power, prevail; strength that engages a resisting force); from ischus (strength, might, power, force, ability; power that engages immediate resistance). This is strong – first of physical strength. Later, also used figuratively for forcible, powerful, mighty, vehement, or sure.
LXI “famine” = limos. Related to “leave” In v14. 12x in NT. Probably from leipo (see note XIII above). This is hunger, famine, or lacking.
LXII “took place” = ginomai. Same as “is” in v10. See note XXXIX above.
LXIII “began” = archomai. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or rule.
LXIV “be in need” = hustereo. 16x in NT– same verb used by the rich young man when he asks Jesus what do I still lack? (Mt 19:20); used in the parable of the prodigal son to describe him as impoverished (Lk 15:14); used when the wine ran out at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:3); all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23); used in describing the body of Christ – that we give greater honor to the inferior member (1 Cor 12:24). From husteros (last, later). This is to fall behind, come late, be interior, suffer need, be left out., to fail to meet a goal.

15 So he went and hiredLXV himself out to one of the citizensLXVI of that country, who sentLXVII him to his fieldsLXVIII to feedLXIX the pigs. 

Notes on verse 15

LXV “hired” = kollao. 12x in NT. From kolla (glue). This is to glue together. So it is joining, spending time with, or being intimately connected to. It can be used for marriage, joining the church, clinging, or adhering to something. It was also used medically for uniting wounds.
LXVI “citizens” = polites. 4x in NT. From polis (a city or its inhabitants; is a town of variable size, but one that has walls); probably from the same as polemos (war, quarrel, strife; battle, whether one time or on-going); {from pelomai (to bustle) or from polus (much, many, abundant)}. This is citizen or townsperson.
LXVII “sent” = pempo. This is to send, put forth, or dispatch. This often refers to a temporary errand. It is sending someone with a focus on the place they departed from. By contrast, another Greek word, hiemi, emphasizes the destination and yet another word, stello, focuses on the motion that goes with the sending.
LXVIII “fields” = agros. This is a field as a place where one grows crops or pastures cattle. It can also refer to a farm or lands. This is one of the roots of “agriculture.”
LXIX “feed” = bosko. 9x in NT– 6x of the Gadarene/Gerasene demoniacs, 2x of Jesus appearing to Peter saying “tend my lambs” and “feed my sheep,” and 1x of the Prodigal Son feeding the pigs.. This is to feed or pasture a flock. Figuratively, it can mean to nourish spiritually.

16 He would gladlyLXX have filledLXXI himselfLXXII with the podsLXXIII that the pigs were eating;LXXIV and no one gave him anything. 

Notes on verse 16

LXX “would gladly” = epithumeo. 16x in NT. From epi (on, upon, fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}. This is desire, lust, longing for, setting one’s heart on. It is a longing whether good or bad. In either case, passion and yearning is set on the object of desire.
LXXI “filled” = gemizo. 8x in NT. From gemo (to be full, swell, at capacity, actions taken to fulfill a goal). This is to fill up or load, be swamped as a boat with water.
LXXII “himself” = koilia + autos. Literally “his belly.” From koilos (hollow). This is belly or organs in the abdomen. So, it could be stomach, womb, or heart. Figuratively, this refers to one’s inner self.
LXXIII “pods” = keration. 1x in NT. From keras (horn or something horn-shaped; horn in a literal or figurative sense – that which prevails or a symbol of power); from kar (hair). This is literally something that is horned. It is particularly used for carob pods or husks.
LXXIV “eating” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.

17 But when he came to himself he said,LXXV ‘How many of my father’s hired handsLXXVI have breadLXXVII enough and to spare,LXXVIII but here I am dyingLXXIX of hunger!LXXX 

Notes on verse 18

LXXV “said” = phemi. From phao (to shine). This is to declare, say, or use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view.
LXXVI “hired hands” = misthios. 3x in NT – all in Luke 15. From misthos (wages, pay, salary; reward, recompense, punishment; pay for services rendered in a literal or figurative way, good or bad). This is a hired servant – a worked that is paid compared to a slave.
LXXVII “bread” = artos. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
LXXVIII “have…enough and to spare” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
LXXIX “dying” = apollumi. Same as “losing” in v4. See note XII above.
LXXX “hunger” = limos. Same as “famine” in v14. See note LXI above.

18 I will get upLXXXI and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinnedLXXXII against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthyLXXXIII to be calledLXXXIV your son; treatLXXXV me like one of your hired hands.”’ 

Notes on verses 18-19

LXXXI “get up” = anistemi. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
LXXXII “sinned” = hamartano. Related to “sinners” in v1 & “share” in v12. See note II above.
LXXXIII “worthy” = axios. Related to “angels” in v10 & “gathered” in v13. From ago (see note XLI above). This is related to weight or worth – deserving, suitable, corresponding, due reward.
LXXXIV “called” = kaleo. Related to “calls together” in v6. See note XXI above.
LXXXV “treat” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.

20 So he set offLXXXVI and went to his father. But while he wasLXXXVII still far off, his father sawLXXXVIII him and was filled with compassion;LXXXIX

Notes on verse 20a

LXXXVI “set off” = anistemi. Same as “get up” in v18. See note LXXXI above.
LXXXVII “was” = apecho. 19x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to be distant, have fully, abstain, be paid, be distant, be enough. It is having something by detaching it from something else or releasing something else.
LXXXVIII “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LXXXIX “filled with compassion” = splagchnizomai. 12x in NT– 8x of Jesus having compassion on people or crowds. From splanxnon (inner organs, entrails; seen as the root of emotions). This is moved to compassion from deep within oneself – visceral empathy or sympathy, being deeply moved.

he ranXC and put his arms around himXCI and kissedXCII him. 

21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’XCIII 

Notes on verses 20b-21

XC “ran” = trecho. 20x in NT. To run, make progress, rush. This is running like an athlete in a race. Figuratively, to work quickly towards a goal in a focused way.
XCI “put his arms around him” = epipipto + epi + ho + trachelos + autos. Literally “fell upon his neck.” Epipipto is 11x in NT. From epi (on, upon, to, against, what is fitting) + pipto (to fall in a literal or figurative sense). This is fall upon. It could be in the sense of pressing in on, being seized with fear, being embraced (as in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:20), bending over, being insulted, or the Spirit falling on people. So, it is coming upon someone with more or less affection or violence. Trachelos is 7x in NT. Probably from trachus (rough, uneven). This is the neck or throat. It can also refer to an embrace. It shares a root with the word “trachea.”
XCII “kissed” = kataphileo. Related to “friends” in v6. 6x in NT– 2x of Judas’s betrayal, 2x of the woman who washes Jesus’s feet and kisses them (Lk 7:38, 45), 1x when the father kisses the prodigal son (Lk 15:20), and 1x when Paul kisses the Ephesian elders goodbye (Acts 20:37). From kata (down, against, according to) + phileo (friendship love and fondness with personal attachment; kiss as a sign of love deriving from this personal affection -cherishing); {from philos (see note XXII above)}. This is kissing with great emotion or kissing repeatedly, earnestly, affectionately.
XCIII Some manuscripts add “make me as one of your hired servants.”

22 But the father said to his slaves,XCIV ‘Quickly,XCV bring outXCVI a robeXCVII—the bestXCVIII one—

Notes on verse 22a

XCIV “slaves” = doulos. Related to “traveled” in v13. Perhaps from deo (see note LIV above). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
XCV “quickly” = tachu. 12x in NT. From tachus (quickly, promptly; without unreasonable delay). This is quickly, but not immediately. It is without undue delay.
XCVI “bring out” = ekphero. Related to “shoulders” in v5. 8x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + phero (see note XVIII above). This is to produce, carry forth, yield.
XCVII “robe” = stole. Related to “get up” in v18. 9x in NT – 2x of the long robes that scribes like to wear to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 1x of an angel at the resurrection, 1x of the robe for the prodigal son, 5x for saints in heaven. From stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); from histemi (see note LXXXI above). This is a robe that is long and flowing, associated with elites. It is a sign of dignity.
XCVIII “best” = protos. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief.

and put it onXCIX him; putC a ringCI on his fingerCII and sandalsCIII on his feet. 

Notes on verse 22b

XCIX “put…on” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (to go down, sink, or set)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
C “put” = didomi. Literally “give.”
CI “ring” = daktulios. 1x in NT. From daktulos (finger); probably from deka (ten). This is a ring that is worn on your finger.
CII “finger” = cheir. This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.
CIII “sandals” = hupodema. Related to “traveled” in v13 & “slaves” in v22. 10x in NT. From hupodeo (to bind under wear on the feet); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + deo (see note LIV above)}. This is a sandal – something bound under the sole.

23 And getCIV the fattedCV calfCVI and killCVII it,

Notes on verse 23a

CIV “get” = phero. Related to “shoulders” in v5 & “bring out” in v22. See note XVIII above.
CV “fatted” = siteutos. 3x in NT – all in Luke 15. From sitos (any kind of grain that you can eat. It is usually wheat, but it can also be barley and other grains). This is grain-fed or fattened.
CVI “calf” = moschos. 6x in NT. This is a young cow of either sex or young shoot.
CVII “kill” = thuo. Related to “would gladly” in v16. 14x in NT. See note LXX above.

and let us eatCVIII and celebrate;CIX 24 for this son of mine was deadCX and is alive again;CXI he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

Notes on verses 23b-24

CVIII “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
CIX “celebrate” = euphraino. 14x in NT. From eu (good, well, well done) + phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); {perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb)}. This is to be glad, revel, feast. It is having a positive outlook, rejoicing.
CX “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead of lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
CXI “is alive again” = anazao. 2x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + zao (to live literally or figuratively). This is to live again, revive, resurrect. It can be literal or figurative.

25 “Now his elderCXII son was in the field; and when he came and approachedCXIII the house, he heard musicCXIV and dancing.CXV 

Notes on verse 25

CXII “elder” = presbuteros. From presbus (old man). This is an elder as one of the Sanhedrin and also in the Christian assembly in the early church.
CXIII “approached” = eggizo. Same as “coming near” in v1. See note III above.
CXIV “music” = sumphonia. Related to “said” in v17. 1x in NT. From sumphonos (harmonious, agreeing, consent; having one voice i.e. a shared understanding); {from sun (with, together with) + phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); {probably from phemi (see note LXXV above)}}. This is where the word “symphony” comes from. It is music with harmonized instruments.
CXV “dancing” = choros. 1x in NT. This is a group dance, usually in a ring – a choir dancing. It might imply that they were also singing. It is where the word “chorus” comes from.

26 He calledCXVI one of the slavesCXVII and askedCXVIII what was going on. 

Notes on verse 26

CXVI “called” = proskaleo. Related to “calls together” in v6 & “called” in v19. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + kaleo (see note XXI above). This is to call to oneself, summon.
CXVII “slaves” = pais. Perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is child, youth, servant, or slave.
CXVIII “asked” = punthanomai. 12x in NT. This is to ask in order to learn. It is not to ask a favor (erotao in Greek), to demand something felt to be owed (aiteo), to search for a hidden thing (zeteo), or to ask for urgent help (deomai). This is to figure something out through questions.

27 He replied, ‘Your brotherCXIX has come,CXX and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him backCXXI safe and sound.’CXXII 

Notes on verse 27

CXIX “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
CXX “come” = heko. This is to come or arrive as at a final destination or goal. It can also mean being present in a literal or figurative sense.
CXXI “got…back” = apolambano. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to receive back, separate, to get one’s due.
CXXII “safe and sound” = hugiaino. 12x in NT. From hugies (healthy, whole, pure, normal, restored, wholesome; figuratively, sound or true teaching); from the base of auxano (to grow or enlarge, whether literal or figurative). This is healthy, sound, reasonable, pure, total health. This is the root that “hygiene” comes from.

28 Then he became angryCXXIII and refusedCXXIV to go in. His father came out and began to pleadCXXV with him. 

Notes on verse 28

CXXIII “became angry” = orgizo. 8x in NT. From orge (impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment); from orgao (something that teems or stews; this is anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; it can also be anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.). This is being angry, enraged, exasperated. It is a fixed, sustained anger.
CXXIV “refused” = ou + thelo. Literally “was not willing.” Thelo is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
CXXV “plead” = parakaleo. Related to “calls together” in v6 & “called” in v19 & “called” In v26. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (see note XXI above). This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.

29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen!CXXVI For all these years I have been working like a slaveCXXVII for you, and I have never disobeyedCXXVIII your command;CXXIX yet you have never given me even a young goatCXXX so that I might celebrate with my friends. 

Notes on verse 29

CXXVI “listen” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
CXXVII “working like a slave” = douleo. Related to “traveled” in v13 & “slaves” and “sandals” in v22. From doulos (see note XCIV above). This is to be a slave, be in bondage, to serve, obey, be devoted. It is to be a slave in a literal or figurative sense.
CXXVIII “disobeyed” = parerchomai. From para (from beside, by) + erchomai (to come, go). This is pass by, neglect, disregard. Figuratively, it can mean to perish or to become void.
CXXIX “command” = entole. Related to “tax collectors” in v1. From entellomai (to charge, command, give orders or instructions); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish); {from telos (see note I above)}}. This is an order, command, ordinance, or law. It focuses on the purpose of the command and its end result.
CXXX “young goat” = eriphos. 2x in NT. Perhaps from erion (wool); from eiros (wool). This is a male goat.

30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devouredCXXXI your propertyCXXXII with prostitutes,CXXXIII you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 

Notes on verse 30

CXXXI “devoured” = katesthio. Related to “eating” in v16. 15x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + esthio (see note LXXIV above). This is to eat up, to consume totally so that there is nothing left. It can also be to annoy, injure, or squander.
CXXXII “property” = bios. Same as “property” in v12. See note LI above.
CXXXIII “prostitutes” = porne. 12x in NT. From pornos (fornicator or immoral person); perhaps from pernemi (to sell off or export); related to piprasko (to sell with travel involved; to sell into slavery; to be devoted to); from perao (to travel); from peran (over, beyond). This is prostitute. Can be used figuratively to refer to a community that is taken with idolatry.

31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son,CXXXIV you are alwaysCXXXV with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had toCXXXVI celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

Notes on verses 31-32

CXXXIV “son” = teknon. From tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is a child, descendant, or inhabitant.
CXXXV “always” = pantote. From pas (all, every, each) + tote (then, whether past or future); {from hote (when); from ho (the)}. This is literally every when. It is always, at all times.
CXXXVI “had to” = dei. Related to “traveled” in v13 & “slaves” and “sandals” in v22 & “working like a slave” in v29. From deo (see note LIV above). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.

Image credit: “The Seeker” by Mike Moyers, 2010.

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