Luke 15:13
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.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(13) Took his journey into a far country.—Such instances of emigration were, we may believe, familiar things in most towns of Galilee and Judæa. The young man left his home, and started, bent on pleasure or on gain, for Alexandria, or Rome, or Corinth, and rumour came home of riotous living, and a fortune wasted upon harlots, sabbaths broken, synagogues unvisited, perhaps even of participation in idol feasts. In the interpretation that lies below the surface, the “far country” is the state of the human spirit, of the Gentile world, in their wanderings far off from God. The “riotous living” is the reckless waste of noble gifts and highest energies on unbridled sensuality of life, or sensuous, i.e., idolatrous, forms of worship. The fearful history traced in Romans 1:19-32, is but too faithful a picture of the wanderings of the younger son.

Riotous.—The exact meaning of the word is prodigal, thriftless.

Luke 15:13-16. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together — Having gotten possession of his fortune, he lost no time, but, gathering together all he had, took his journey into a far country — That he might be wholly from under the eye of his parent, who was a person of great piety, and be freed from the restraints of religion, he went into a distant land, among the heathen, (Luke 15:15,) where was neither the knowledge nor worship of God, choosing such companions as were most agreeable to his vicious inclinations, and, connected with these, he wallowed in unbounded riot and debauchery. Thus sinners, through a spirit of infidelity, independence of God, pride, self-conceit, and the love of pleasure, soon go far from God, far from his favour and image; far from the fear and love of him, and all design and desire of pleasing him: and in this state of alienation and distance from him, employ to his dishonour the time and talents he had intrusted them with, to be used for his glory, ζωντες ασωτως, living intemperately, imprudently, foolishly, as the word implies, not considering that God will call them to an account for their abuse of his gifts. And when he had spent all — When this wretched course of intemperance, riot, and folly had clouded his understanding, weakened his memory, vitiated his affections, brought infirmity and disease upon his body, and he had squandered away the whole property he had received of his father, it so happened, through the righteous judgment of God upon him, that there arose a mighty famine in that land — Where he sojourned; and he began to be in want — Of the very necessaries of life. Observe, reader, in that country which is far from God; in that state of heart and life, in which men are alienated from the knowledge and love of him, and shut out from all intercourse with him, they will ere long find a mighty famine arising, and will be in extreme want of every thing calculated to make them happy. And went and joined himself to a citizen of that country — Finding no shelter or relief among those who had been his associates in vice, and had shared in the spoils of his substance; and yet being unable to brook the mortification of returning home in such circumstances; to keep himself from starving in the famine, he went still farther into the country, that was far from his father’s house, and submitted to accept the most disgraceful employment that a Jew could be engaged in; he hired himself to a person, who, thinking such a worthless creature unfit for any better post, sent him into his fields to feed swine, an employment to which, however mean and disagreeable, this unhappy youth, who had once lived in so much plenty and splendour, was forced to submit. Thus sinners, by wandering far from God, into the ways of vice and misery, join themselves to Satan and his servants, the genuine citizens of that country which is far from God, where they are employed in ministering to the lusts and pleasures of others, that is, in feeding the devil’s swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks, &c. — The wages he earned by this ignominious service were not sufficient, in a time of such great scarcity, to purchase him as much food of any kind as would satisfy the cravings of his appetite. Being half starved, therefore, he often looked on the swine with envy as they were feeding, and wished that he could have filled his belly with the husks which they devoured; a circumstance this, which beautifully and forcibly shows the extremity of his misery. And no man gave unto him — There was none that took so much pity upon him as to give him one morsel of food; so sparing did the famine make them, and so much did every one despise this foolish and scandalous prodigal. Thus sinners would fain satisfy themselves with carnal pleasures and worldly comforts, the husks which the swine eat, but the endeavour is vain and fruitless, for the enjoyment of no creature can give true happiness to the intelligent and immortal mind of man, formed and designed to find it in God only.

15:11-16 The parable of the prodigal son shows the nature of repentance, and the Lord's readiness to welcome and bless all who return to him. It fully sets forth the riches of gospel grace; and it has been, and will be, while the world stands, of unspeakable use to poor sinners, to direct and to encourage them in repenting and returning to God. It is bad, and the beginning of worse, when men look upon God's gifts as debts due to them. The great folly of sinners, and that which ruins them, is, being content in their life-time to receive their good things. Our first parents ruined themselves and all their race, by a foolish ambition to be independent, and this is at the bottom of sinners' persisting in their sin. We may all discern some features of our own characters in that of the prodigal son. A sinful state is of departure and distance from God. A sinful state is a spending state: wilful sinners misemploy their thoughts and the powers of their souls, mispend their time and all their opportunities. A sinful state is a wanting state. Sinners want necessaries for their souls; they have neither food nor raiment for them, nor any provision for hereafter. A sinful state is a vile, slavish state. The business of the devil's servants is to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, and that is no better than feeding swine. A sinful state is a state constant discontent. The wealth of the world and the pleasures of the senses will not even satisfy our bodies; but what are they to precious souls! A sinful state is a state which cannot look for relief from any creature. In vain do we cry to the world and to the flesh; they have that which will poison a soul, but have nothing to give which will feed and nourish it. A sinful state is a state of death. A sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, destitute of spiritual life. A sinful state is a lost state. Souls that are separated from God, if his mercy prevent not, will soon be lost for ever. The prodigal's wretched state, only faintly shadows forth the awful ruin of man by sin. Yet how few are sensible of their own state and character!Gathered all together - Collected his property. If he had received flocks or grain, he sold them and converted them into money. As soon as this arrangement had been made he left his father's house.

Took his journey - Went, or traveled.

Into a far country - A country far off from his father's house. He went probably to trade or to seek his fortune, and in his wanderings came at last to this dissipated place, where his property was soon expended.

Wasted his substance - Spent his property.

In riotous living - Literally, "Living without saving anything." He lived extravagantly, and in the most dissolute company. See Luke 15:30. By his wandering away we may understand that sinners wander far away from God; that they fall into dissolute and wicked company; and that their wandering so far off is the reason why they fall into such company, and are so soon and so easily destroyed.

13. not many days—intoxicated with his new—found resources, and eager for the luxury of using them at Will.

a far country—beyond all danger of interference from home.

wasted, &c.—So long as it lasted, the inward monitor (Isa 55:2) would be silenced (Isa 9:10; 57:10; Am 4:6-10).

riotous living—(Lu 15:30), "with harlots." Ah! but this reaches farther than the sensualist; for "in the deep symbolical language of Scripture fornication is the standing image of idolatry; they are in fact ever spoken of as one and the same sin, considered now in its fleshly, now in its spiritual aspect" (Jer 3:1-15; Eze 16:1-17:24) [Trench].

See Poole on "Luke 15:12"

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together,.... That his father had divided to him, all his goods and substance: as soon as a man has any internal substance, any considerable degree of natural knowledge, he immediately sets out from God, and employs it against him, in reasoning against him, against his being, his works, his providence, his purposes, his revelation, and will; as soon as a man has the exercise of his reason, as soon as he can think and speak, nay, as soon as he is born, he goes astray from God, speaking lies; and as soon as a wicked man has of this world, what his carnal heart desires, he is for living independent of God, and his providence; he is for gathering together all for himself, in order to spend it on his lusts, and at a distance from his father, the father of his mercies, of whom he is not mindful; and to whom he says, depart from me, having no regard to his worship and service, to his honour and glory, to his cause and interest:

and took his journey into a far country; which sets forth the state of alienation a sinner is in, while unconverted; he is afar off from God, from God the Father; from the presence of God, and communion with him: from the knowledge of God, and desire after it; from love to him, or fear of him; and from the life of God, or a living soberly, righteously, and godly; and from Christ, from the knowledge of him, from faith in him, love to him, fellowship with him, and subjection to his ordinances; and from the Spirit of God, and every thing that is spiritual; and from all that is good, from the law of God, and from the righteousness of it, and from righteous men:

and there wasted his substance in riotous living; his internal substance, his knowledge and understanding, even in natural things, and became brutish, and even like the beasts that perish; and his worldly substance in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness, with harlots, as in Luke 15:30 whereby he was brought to a piece of bread, and to the want of it,

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.
Luke 15:13. μετʼ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας: to be joined to ἀπεδήμησεν: he went away as soon as possible, when he had had time to realise his property, in haste to escape into wild liberty or licence.—μακράν: the farther away the better.—ἀσώτως (α pr. and σώζω, here only in N.T.), insalvably; the process of reckless waste, free rein given to every passion, must go on till nothing is left. This is what undisciplined freedom comes to.

13. not many days after] This shadows forth the rapidity (1) of national, and (2) of individual degeneracy. “In some children, says

Sir Thomas Elyot in The Governour, “nature is more prone to vice than to vertue, and in the tender wittes be sparkes of voluptuositie, whiche norished by any occasion or objecte, encrease oftentymes into so terrible a fire, that therwithall vertue and reason is consumed.” The first sign of going wrong is a yearning for spurious liberty.

took his journey into a far country] The Gentiles soon became ‘afar off’ from God (Acts 2:39; Ephesians 2:17), “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”—So too the individual soul, in its temptations and its guiltiness, ever tries in vain to escape from God (Psalm 139:7-10) into the ‘far country’ of sin, which involves forgetfulness of Him. Jer. Ep. 146. Thus the younger son becomes “Lord of himself, that heritage of woe.”

with riotous living] Literally, “living ruinously”—asotos. The adverb occurs here only, and is derived from a ‘not,’ and σώζω ‘I save.’ The substantive occurs in 1 Peter 4:4; Ephesians 5:18. Aristotle defines asotia as a mixture of intemperance and prodigality. For the historical fact indicated, see Romans 1:19-32. Th t individual fact needs, alas! no illustration. One phrase—two words—is enough. Our loving Saviour does not dwell upon, or darken the details, of our sinfulness.

Luke 15:13. Ἀσώτως) A word employed with great propriety. Ἄσωτος, ὁ δἰ αὐτὸν ἀπολλύμενος, i.e. one destroyed by himself, his own worst enemy; Aristot. b. iv. Eth. ch. 1, where ἀσωτία is excess of liberality conjoined with intemperance. [In this state, he was dead to his Fatherland, Luke 15:24.—V. g.]

Luke 15:13All

Everything was taken out of the father's hands.

Took his journey (ἀπεδήμησεν)

Answering to our phrase went abroad.

Wasted (διεσκόρπισεν)

The word used of winnowing grain. See on Matthew 25:24.

With riotous living (ζῶν ἀσώτως)

Lit., living unsavingly. Only here in New Testament. The kindred noun, ἀσωτία, is rendered by the Rev., in all the three passages where it occurs, riot (Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4). See note on the last passage.

Luke 15:13 Interlinear
Luke 15:13 Parallel Texts

Luke 15:13 NIV
Luke 15:13 NLT
Luke 15:13 ESV
Luke 15:13 NASB
Luke 15:13 KJV

Luke 15:13 Bible Apps
Luke 15:13 Parallel
Luke 15:13 Biblia Paralela
Luke 15:13 Chinese Bible
Luke 15:13 French Bible
Luke 15:13 German Bible

Bible Hub

Luke 15:12
Top of Page
Top of Page