Prodigal Son Revisited
A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.” So he divided his wealth between them.
And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’”
So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to celebrate.
Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.” But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.” And he said to him, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.” [But he refused to join the celebration.
Early the next morning, the older son went to work in the field, waiting for his brother to join him. But, he never came. The longer he worked, the angrier he got. That evening, once again he heard music and dancing coming from his father’s house. Inside he found his father and brother still feasting and celebrating. Enraged he cried out, “Why do you spend what is not yours? You are drinking my wine, eating my food. Am I your slave?” But the father replied, “Since we are eating your food and drinking your wine, come, dine with us!” But he refused to join the celebration.
The next morning, while working in the field, the older son thought to himself, “I’m tired of doing all the work. If the fattened calf shall be slain, I shall eat it with my friends.” So that night he had a party, feasting and drinking with all of his friends until the sun came up, then he slept the day away. This happened for several nights until one day the younger son confronted his brother, “Wake up! How long will you lie around in your drunkenness? Are you not wasting your inheritance?”