5 When all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites while they[a] crossed, they lost their courage and could not even breathe for fear of the Israelites.[b]
A New Generation is Circumcised
2 At that time the Lord told Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites once again.”[c] 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at the Hill of the Foreskins.[d] 4 This is why Joshua had to circumcise them: All the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt died on the journey through the wilderness after they left Egypt.[e] 5 Now[f] all the men[g] who left were circumcised, but all the sons[h] born on the journey through the wilderness after they left Egypt were uncircumcised. 6 Indeed, for forty years the Israelites traveled through the wilderness until all the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt, the ones who had disobeyed the Lord, died off.[i] For the Lord had sworn a solemn oath to them that he would not let them see the land he had sworn by oath to their ancestors to give them,[j] a land rich in[k] milk and honey. 7 He replaced them with their sons,[l] whom Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised; their fathers had not circumcised them along the way. 8 When all the men[m] had been circumcised, they stayed there in the camp until they had healed. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have taken away[n] the disgrace[o] of Egypt from you.” So that place is called Gilgal[p] even to this day.
10 So the Israelites camped in Gilgal and celebrated the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month in the rift valley plains of Jericho.[q] 11 They ate some of the produce of the land the day after the Passover, including unleavened bread and roasted grain.[r] 12 The manna stopped appearing the day they ate[s] some of the produce of the land; the Israelites never ate manna again.[t] They ate from the produce of the land of Canaan that year.
Israel Conquers Jericho
13 When Joshua was near[u] Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him holding a drawn sword.[v] Joshua approached him and asked him, “Are you on our side or allied with our enemies?”[w] 14 He answered,[x] “Truly I am the commander of the Lord’s army.[y] Now I have arrived!”[z] Joshua bowed down with his face to the ground[aa] and asked, “What does my master want to say to his servant?” 15 The commander of the Lord’s army answered Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you stand is holy.” Joshua did so.
6 Now Jericho was shut tightly[ab] because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter.[ac] 2 The Lord told Joshua, “See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you,[ad] along with its king and its warriors. 3 Have all the warriors march around the city one time;[ae] do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns[af] in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. 5 When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn,[ag] have the whole army give a loud battle cry.[ah] Then the city wall will collapse,[ai] and the warriors should charge straight ahead.”[aj]
6 So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and instructed them, “Pick up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests must carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he told[ak] the army,[al] “Move ahead[am] and march around the city, with armed troops going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
8 When Joshua gave the army its orders,[an] the seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the Lord moved ahead and blew the horns as the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed behind. 9 Armed troops marched ahead of the priests blowing the horns, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark blowing rams’ horns. 10 Now Joshua had instructed the army,[ao] “Do not give a battle cry[ap] or raise your voices; say nothing[aq] until the day I tell you, ‘Give the battle cry.’[ar] Then give the battle cry!”[as] 11 So Joshua made sure they marched the ark of the Lord around the city one time.[at] Then they went back to the camp and spent the night there.[au]
12 Bright and early the next morning Joshua had the priests pick up the ark of the Lord.[av] 13 The seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord marched along blowing their horns. Armed troops marched ahead of them, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark of the Lord blowing rams’ horns. 14 They marched around the city one time on the second day, then returned to the camp. They did this six days in all.
15 On the seventh day they were up at the crack of dawn[aw] and marched around the city as before—only this time they marched around it seven times.[ax] 16 The seventh time around, the priests blew the rams’ horns, and Joshua told the army,[ay] “Give the battle cry,[az] for the Lord is handing the city over to you![ba] 17 The city and all that is in it must be set apart for the Lord;[bb] only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house will live, because she hid the spies[bc] we sent. 18 But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for God. If you take any of it, then you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster.[bd] 19 All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the Lord.[be] They must go into the Lord’s treasury.”
20 The rams’ horns sounded,[bf] and when the army[bg] heard the signal,[bh] they gave a loud battle cry.[bi] The wall collapsed,[bj] and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it.[bk] 21 They annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city,[bl] including men and women, young and old, as well as cattle, sheep, and donkeys. 22 Joshua told the two men who had spied on the land, “Enter the prostitute’s house[bm] and bring out the woman and all who belong to her as you promised her.”[bn] 23 So the young spies went and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and took them to a place outside[bo] the Israelite camp. 24 But they burned[bp] the city and all that was in it, except for the silver, gold, and bronze and iron items they put in the treasury of the Lord’s house.[bq] 25 Yet Joshua spared[br] Rahab the prostitute, her father’s family,[bs] and all who belonged to her. She lives in Israel[bt] to this very day because she hid the messengers Joshua sent to spy on Jericho. 26 At that time Joshua made this solemn declaration:[bu] “The man who attempts to rebuild[bv] this city of Jericho[bw] will stand condemned before the Lord.[bx] He will lose his firstborn son when he lays its foundations and his youngest son when he erects its gates!”[by] 27 The Lord was with Joshua and he became famous throughout the land.[bz]
Achan Sins and is Punished
7 But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches.[ca] Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi,[cb] son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches.[cc] The Lord was furious with the Israelites.[cd]
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (which is located near Beth Aven, east of Bethel) and instructed them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai. 3 They returned and reported to Joshua,[ce] “Don’t send the whole army.[cf] About two or three thousand men are adequate to defeat Ai.[cg] Don’t tire out the whole army, for Ai is small.”[ch]
4 So about 3,000 men went up, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of them and chased them from in front of the city gate all the way to the fissures[ci] and defeated them on the steep slope.[cj] The people’s[ck] courage melted away like water.[cl]
6 Joshua tore his clothes;[cm] he and the leaders[cn] of Israel lay face down on the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening[co] and threw dirt on their heads.[cp] 7 Joshua prayed,[cq] “O, Sovereign Lord! Why did you bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites so they could destroy us? If only we had been satisfied to live on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say now that Israel has retreated[cr] before its enemies? 9 When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will turn against us and destroy the very memory of us[cs] from the earth. What will you do to protect your great reputation?”[ct]
10 The Lord responded[cu] to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying there face down?[cv] 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenantal commandment![cw] They have taken some of the riches;[cx] they have stolen them and deceitfully put them among their own possessions.[cy] 12 The Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they retreat because they have become subject to annihilation.[cz] I will no longer be with you,[da] unless you destroy what has contaminated you.[db] 13 Get up! Ritually consecrate the people and tell them this: ‘Ritually consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, because this is what the Lord God of Israel has said, “You are contaminated,[dc] O Israel! You will not be able to stand before your enemies until you remove what is contaminating you.”[dd] 14 In the morning you must approach in tribal order.[de] The tribe the Lord selects[df] must approach by clans. The clan the Lord selects must approach by families.[dg] The family the Lord selects must approach man by man.[dh] 15 The one caught with the riches[di] must be burned up[dj] along with all who belong to him, because he violated the Lord’s covenant and did such a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”
- Joshua 5:1 tc Another textual tradition has, “while we crossed.”
- Joshua 5:1 tn Heb “their heart[s] melted and there was no longer in them breath (or perhaps “spirit”) because of the sons of Israel.”
- Joshua 5:2 tn Heb “return, circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used here in an adverbial sense to indicate the repetition of an action.
- Joshua 5:3 tn Or “Gibeath Haaraloth.” This name means “Hill of the Foreskins.” Many modern translations simply give the Hebrew name, although an explanatory note giving the meaning of the name is often included.sn The name given to the place, Hill of the Foreskins was an obvious reminder of this important event.
- Joshua 5:4 tn Heb “All the people who went out from Egypt, the males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness in the way when they went out from Egypt.”
- Joshua 5:5 tn Or “indeed.”
- Joshua 5:5 tn Heb “people.”
- Joshua 5:5 tn Heb “all the people.”
- Joshua 5:6 tn Heb “all the nation, the men of war who went out from Egypt, who did not listen to the voice of the Lord, came to an end.”
- Joshua 5:6 tn Some Hebrew mss, as well as the Syriac version, support this reading. Most ancient witnesses read “us.”
- Joshua 5:6 tn Heb “flowing with.”sn The word picture a land rich in milk and honey depicts the land as containing many grazing areas (which would produce milk) and flowering plants (which would support the bees that produced honey).
- Joshua 5:7 tn Heb “their sons he raised up in their place.”
- Joshua 5:8 tn Heb “nation.”
- Joshua 5:9 tn Heb “rolled away.”
- Joshua 5:9 sn One might take the disgrace of Egypt as a reference to their uncircumcised condition (see Gen 34:14), but the generation that left Egypt was circumcised (see v. 5). It more likely refers to the disgrace they experienced in Egyptian slavery. When this new generation reached the promised land and renewed their covenantal commitment to the Lord by submitting to the rite of circumcision, the Lord’s deliverance of his people from slavery, which had begun with the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, reached its climax. See T. C. Butler, Joshua (WBC), 59.
- Joshua 5:9 sn The name Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew verb “roll away” (גַּלַל, galal).
- Joshua 5:10 sn This is the area of the rift valley basin in the vicinity of Jericho (see the note at Josh 4:13).
- Joshua 5:11 tn The Hebrew text adds, “on this same day.” This is somewhat redundant in English and has not been translated.
- Joshua 5:12 tn Heb “the day after, when they ate.” The present translation assumes this means the day after the Passover, though it is possible it refers to the day after they began eating the land’s produce.
- Joshua 5:12 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel had no more manna.”
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “in.”
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “he lifted up his eyes and looked. And look, a man was standing in front of him, and his sword was drawn in his hand.” The verb הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) invites the reader to view the scene through Joshua’s eyes. By calling the stranger “a man,” the author reflects Joshua’s perspective. The text shortly reveals his true identity (vv. 14-15).
- Joshua 5:13 tn Heb “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
- Joshua 5:14 tc Heb “He said, “Neither.” An alternative reading is לוֹ (lo, “[He said] to him”; cf. NEB). This reading is supported by many Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX and Syriac versions. The traditional reading of the MT (לֹא, loʾ, “no, neither”) is probably the product of aural confusion (the two variant readings sound the same in Hebrew). Although followed by a number of modern translations (cf. NIV, NRSV), this reading is problematic, for the commander of the Lord’s army would hardly have declared himself neutral.
- Joshua 5:14 sn The Lord’s heavenly army, like an earthly army, has a commander who leads the troops. For the phrase שַׂר־צְבָא (sar tsevaʾ, “army commander”) in the human sphere, see among many other references Gen 21:22, 32; 26:26; Judg 4:2, 7; 1 Sam 12:9.
- Joshua 5:14 sn The commander’s appearance seems to be for Joshua’s encouragement. Joshua could now lead Israel into battle knowing that the Lord’s invisible army would ensure victory.
- Joshua 5:14 tn Heb “Joshua fell on his face to the ground and bowed down.”
- Joshua 6:1 tn Heb “was shutting and shut up.” HALOT 743 s.v. I סגר paraphrases, “blocking [any way of access] and blocked [against any who would leave].”
- Joshua 6:1 tn Heb “there was no one going out and there was no one coming in.”
- Joshua 6:2 tn Heb “I have given into your hand Jericho.” The Hebrew verb נָתַתִּי (natatti, “I have given”) is probably best understood as a perfect of certitude, indicating the certainty of the action. The Hebrew pronominal suffix “your” is singular, being addressed to Joshua as the leader and representative of the nation. To convey to the modern reader what is about to happen and who is doing it, the translation “I am about to defeat Jericho for you” has been used.
- Joshua 6:3 tn Heb “and go around the city, all [you] men of war, encircling the city one time.” The Hebrew verb וְסַבֹּתֶם (vesabbotem, “and go around”) is plural, being addressed to the whole army.
- Joshua 6:4 tn Heb “rams’ horns, trumpets.”
- Joshua 6:5 tn Heb “and it will be at the sounding of the horn, the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn.” The text of Josh 6:5 seems to be unduly repetitive, so for the sake of English style and readability, it is best to streamline the text here. The reading in the Hebrew looks like a conflation of variant readings, with the second (“when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn”) being an interpolation that assimilates the text to verse 20 (“when the army heard the sound of the horn”). Note that the words “when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn” do not appear in the LXX of verse 5.
- Joshua 6:5 tn Heb “all the people will shout with a loud shout.”
- Joshua 6:5 tn Heb “fall in its place.”
- Joshua 6:5 tn Heb “and the people will go up, each man straight ahead.”
- Joshua 6:7 tn An alternative reading is “and they said.” In this case the subject is indefinite and the verb should be translated as passive, “[the army] was told.”
- Joshua 6:7 tn Heb “the people.”
- Joshua 6:7 tn Heb “pass by.”
- Joshua 6:8 tn Heb “when Joshua spoke to the people.”
- Joshua 6:10 tn Heb “the people.”
- Joshua 6:10 tn Or “the shout.”
- Joshua 6:10 tn Heb “do not let a word come out of your mouths.”
- Joshua 6:10 tn Or “the shout.”
- Joshua 6:10 tn Or “the shout.”
- Joshua 6:11 tn Heb “and he made the ark of the Lord go around the city, encircling one time.”
- Joshua 6:11 tn Heb “and they entered the camp and spent the night in the camp.”
- Joshua 6:12 tn Heb “Joshua rose early in the morning and the priests picked up the ark of the Lord.”
- Joshua 6:15 tn Heb “On the seventh day they rose early, when the dawn ascended.”
- Joshua 6:15 tn Heb “and they went around the city according to this manner seven times, only on that day they went around the city seven times.”
- Joshua 6:16 tn Heb “the people.”
- Joshua 6:16 tn Or “the shout.”
- Joshua 6:16 tn Heb “for the Lord has given to you the city.” The verbal form is a perfect, probably indicating certitude here.
- Joshua 6:17 tn Or “dedicated to the Lord.”sn To make the city set apart for the Lord would involve annihilating all the people and animals and placing its riches in the Lord’s treasury (vv. 19, 21, 24).
- Joshua 6:17 tn Heb “messengers.”
- Joshua 6:18 tn Heb “Only you keep [away] from what is set apart [to God] so that you might not, as you are setting [it] apart, take some of what is set apart [to God] and turn the camp of Israel into what is set apart [to destruction by God] and bring trouble on it.”
- Joshua 6:19 tn Heb “it is holy to the Lord.”
- Joshua 6:20 tc Heb “and the people shouted and they blew the rams’ horns.” The initial statement (“and the people shouted”) seems premature, since the verse goes on to explain that the battle cry followed the blowing of the horns. The statement has probably been accidentally duplicated from what follows. It is omitted in the LXX.
- Joshua 6:20 tn Heb “the people.”
- Joshua 6:20 tn Heb “the sound of the horn.”
- Joshua 6:20 tn Heb “they shouted with a loud shout.”
- Joshua 6:20 tn Heb “fell in its place.”
- Joshua 6:20 tn Heb “and the people went up into the city, each one straight ahead, and they captured the city.”
- Joshua 6:21 tn Heb “all which was in the city.”
- Joshua 6:22 tn Heb “the house of the woman, the prostitute.”
- Joshua 6:22 tn Heb “and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her as you swore on oath to her.”
- Joshua 6:23 tn Or “placed them outside.”
- Joshua 6:24 tn The Hebrew text adds “with fire.”
- Joshua 6:24 tn Heb “the treasury of the house of the Lord.” Technically the Lord did not have a “house” yet, so perhaps this refers to the tabernacle using later terminology.
- Joshua 6:25 tn Heb “kept alive.”
- Joshua 6:25 tn Heb the house of her father.”
- Joshua 6:25 tn Or “among the Israelites”; Heb “in the midst of Israel.”
- Joshua 6:26 tn Normally the Hiphil of שָׁבַע (shavaʿ) has a causative sense (“make [someone] take an oath”; see Josh 2:17, 20), but here (see also Josh 23:7) no object is stated or implied. If Joshua is calling divine judgment down upon the one who attempts to rebuild Jericho, then “make a solemn appeal [to God as judge]” or “pronounce a curse” would be an appropriate translation. However, the tone seems stronger. Joshua appears to be announcing the certain punishment of the violator. 1 Kgs 16:34, which records the fulfillment of Joshua’s prediction, supports this. Casting Joshua in a prophetic role, it refers to Joshua’s statement as the “word of the Lord” spoken through Joshua.
- Joshua 6:26 tn Heb “rises up and builds.”
- Joshua 6:26 tc The LXX omits “Jericho.” It is probably a scribal addition.
- Joshua 6:26 tn The Hebrew phrase אָרוּר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה (ʾarur lifne yehvah, “cursed [i.e., condemned] before the Lord”) also occurs in 1 Sam 26:19.
- Joshua 6:26 tn Heb “With his firstborn he will lay its foundations and with his youngest he will erect its gates.” The Hebrew verb יַצִּיב (yatsiv, “he will erect”) is imperfect, not jussive, suggesting Joshua’s statement is a prediction, not an imprecation.
- Joshua 6:27 tn Heb “and the report about him was in all the land.” The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ (ʾerets, “land”) may also be translated “earth.”
- Joshua 7:1 tn Heb “But the sons of Israel were unfaithful with unfaithfulness concerning what was set apart [to the Lord].”
- Joshua 7:1 tn 1 Chr 2:6 lists a “Zimri” (but no Zabdi) as one of the five sons of Zerah (cf. also Josh 7:17, 18).
- Joshua 7:1 tn Heb “took from what was set apart [to the Lord].”
- Joshua 7:1 tn Heb “the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.”sn This incident illustrates well the principle of corporate solidarity and corporate guilt. The sin of one man brought the Lord’s anger down upon the entire nation.
- Joshua 7:3 tn Heb “and they returned to Joshua and said to him.”
- Joshua 7:3 tn Heb “Don’t let all the people go up.”
- Joshua 7:3 tn Heb “Let about two thousand men or about three thousand men go up to defeat Ai.”
- Joshua 7:3 tn Heb “all the people for they are small.”
- Joshua 7:5 tn The meaning and correct translation of the Hebrew word שְׁבָרִים (shevarim) is uncertain. The translation “fissures” is based on usage of the plural form of the noun in Ps 60:4 HT (60:2 ET), where it appears to refer to cracks in the earth caused by an earthquake. Perhaps deep ravines or gorges are in view, or the word is a proper noun (“all the way to Shebarim”).
- Joshua 7:5 sn The precise geographical location of the Israelite defeat at this “steep slope” is uncertain.
- Joshua 7:5 tn Or “army’s.”
- Joshua 7:5 tn Heb “and the heart of the people melted and became water.”
- Joshua 7:6 sn Tearing one’s clothes was an outward expression of extreme sorrow (see Gen 37:34; 44:13).
- Joshua 7:6 tn Or “elders.”
- Joshua 7:6 tn Heb “and fell on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel.”
- Joshua 7:6 sn Throwing dirt on one’s head was an outward expression of extreme sorrow (see Lam 2:10; Ezek 27:30).
- Joshua 7:7 tn Heb “said.”
- Joshua 7:8 tn Heb “turned [the] back.”
- Joshua 7:9 tn Heb “and cut off our name.”
- Joshua 7:9 tn Heb “What will you do for your great name?”
- Joshua 7:10 tn Heb “said.”
- Joshua 7:10 tn Heb “Why are you falling on your face?”
- Joshua 7:11 tn Heb “They have violated my covenant which I commanded them.”
- Joshua 7:11 tn Heb “what was set apart [to the Lord].”
- Joshua 7:11 tn Heb “and also they have stolen, and also they have lied, and also they have placed [them] among their items.”
- Joshua 7:12 tn Heb “they turn [the] back before their enemies because they are set apart [to destruction by the Lord].”
- Joshua 7:12 tn The second person pronoun is plural in Hebrew, indicating these words are addressed to the entire nation.
- Joshua 7:12 tn Heb “what is set apart [to destruction by the Lord] from your midst.”
- Joshua 7:13 tn Heb “what is set apart [to destruction by the Lord] [is] in your midst.”
- Joshua 7:13 tn Heb “remove what is set apart [i.e., to destruction by the Lord] from your midst.”
- Joshua 7:14 tn Heb “by your tribes.”
- Joshua 7:14 tn Heb “takes forcefully, seizes.”
- Joshua 7:14 tn Heb “houses.”
- Joshua 7:14 tn Heb “by men.”
- Joshua 7:15 tn Heb “with what was set apart [to the Lord].”
- Joshua 7:15 tn Heb “burned with fire.”
The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Coin
15 Now all the tax collectors[a] and sinners were coming[b] to hear him. 2 But[c] the Pharisees[d] and the experts in the law[e] were complaining,[f] “This man welcomes[g] sinners and eats with them.”
3 So[h] Jesus[i] told them[j] this parable:[k] 4 “Which one[l] of you, if he has a hundred[m] sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture[n] and go look for[o] the one that is lost until he finds it?[p] 5 Then[q] when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 Returning[r] home, he calls together[s] his[t] friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner[u] who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people[v] who have no need to repent.[w]
8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins[x] and loses[y] one of them,[z] does not light a lamp, sweep[aa] the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9 Then[ab] when she has found it, she calls together her[ac] friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice[ad] with me, for I have found the coin[ae] that I had lost.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels[af] over one sinner who repents.”
The Parable of the Compassionate Father
11 Then[ag] Jesus[ah] said, “A man had two sons. 12 The[ai] younger of them said to his[aj] father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate[ak] that will belong[al] to me.’ So[am] he divided his[an] assets between them.[ao] 13 After[ap] a few days,[aq] the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered[ar] his wealth[as] with a wild lifestyle. 14 Then[at] after he had spent everything, a severe famine took place in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and worked for[au] one of the citizens of that country, who[av] sent him to his fields to feed pigs.[aw] 16 He[ax] was longing to eat[ay] the carob pods[az] the pigs were eating, but[ba] no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to his senses[bb] he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food[bc] enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned[bd] against heaven[be] and against[bf] you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me[bg] like one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So[bh] he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home[bi] his father saw him, and his heart went out to him;[bj] he ran and hugged[bk] his son[bl] and kissed him. 21 Then[bm] his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven[bn] and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[bo] 22 But the father said to his slaves,[bp] ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe,[bq] and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger[br] and sandals[bs] on his feet! 23 Bring[bt] the fattened calf[bu] and kill it! Let us eat[bv] and celebrate, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again—he was lost and is found!’[bw] So[bx] they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. As[by] he came and approached the house, he heard music[bz] and dancing. 26 So[ca] he called one of the slaves[cb] and asked what was happening. 27 The slave replied,[cc] ‘Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fattened calf[cd] because he got his son[ce] back safe and sound.’ 28 But the older son[cf] became angry[cg] and refused[ch] to go in. His father came out and appealed to him, 29 but he answered[ci] his father, ‘Look! These many years I have worked like a slave[cj] for you, and I never disobeyed your commands. Yet[ck] you never gave me even a goat[cl] so that I could celebrate with my friends! 30 But when this son of yours[cm] came back, who has devoured[cn] your assets with prostitutes,[co] you killed the fattened calf[cp] for him!’ 31 Then[cq] the father[cr] said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that belongs to me is yours. 32 It was appropriate[cs] to celebrate and be glad, for your brother[ct] was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.’”[cu]
- Luke 15:1 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.
- Luke 15:1 tn Grk “were drawing near.”
- Luke 15:2 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Luke 15:2 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.
- Luke 15:2 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 15:2 tn Or “grumbling”; Grk “were complaining, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Luke 15:2 tn Or “accepts,” “receives.” This is not the first time this issue has been raised: Luke 5:27-32; 7:37-50.
- Luke 15:3 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Jesus’ telling of the parable is in response to the complaints of the Pharisees and experts in the law.
- Luke 15:3 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:3 sn Them means at the minimum the parable is for the leadership, but probably also for those people Jesus accepted, but the leaders regarded as outcasts.
- Luke 15:3 tn Grk “parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Luke 15:4 tn Grk “What man.” The Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used here in a somewhat generic sense.
- Luke 15:4 sn This individual with a hundred sheep is a shepherd of modest means, as flocks often had up to two hundred head of sheep.
- Luke 15:4 tn Or “desert,” but here such a translation might suggest neglect of the 99 sheep left behind.
- Luke 15:4 tn Grk “go after,” but in contemporary English the idiom “to look for” is used to express this.
- Luke 15:4 sn Until he finds it. The parable pictures God’s pursuit of the sinner. On the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, see John 10:1-18.
- Luke 15:5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 15:6 tn Grk “And coming into his…” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 15:6 sn A touch of drama may be present, as the term calls together can mean a formal celebration (1 Kgs 1:9-10).
- Luke 15:6 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215). It occurs before “neighbors” as well (“his friends and his neighbors”) but has not been translated the second time because of English style.
- Luke 15:7 sn There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. The pursuit of the sinner is a priority in spite of the presence of others who are doing well (see also Luke 5:32; 19:10). The theme of repentance, a major Lukan theme, is again emphasized.
- Luke 15:7 tn Here δικαίοις (dikaiois) is an adjective functioning substantivally and has been translated “righteous people.”
- Luke 15:7 tn Or “who do not need to repent”; Grk “who do not have need of repentance.”
- Luke 15:8 sn This silver coin is a drachma, equal to a denarius, that is, a day’s pay for the average laborer.
- Luke 15:8 tn Grk “What woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses.” The initial participle ἔχουσα (echousa) has been translated as a finite verb parallel to ἀπολέσῃ (apolesē) in the conditional clause to improve the English style.
- Luke 15:8 tn Grk “one coin.”
- Luke 15:8 tn Grk “and sweep,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Luke 15:9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 15:9 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
- Luke 15:9 sn Rejoice. Besides the theme of pursuing the lost, the other theme of the parable is the joy of finding them.
- Luke 15:9 tn Grk “drachma.”
- Luke 15:10 sn The whole of heaven is said to rejoice. Joy in the presence of God’s angels is a way of referring to God’s joy as well without having to name him explicitly. Contemporary Judaism tended to refer to God indirectly where possible out of reverence or respect for the divine name.
- Luke 15:11 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 15:11 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:12 tn Grk “And the.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 15:12 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
- Luke 15:12 tn L&N 57.19 notes that in nonbiblical contexts in which the word οὐσία (ousia) occurs, it refers to considerable possessions or wealth, thus “estate.”
- Luke 15:12 tn L&N 57.3, “to belong to or come to belong to, with the possible implication of by right or by inheritance.”
- Luke 15:12 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the father’s response to the younger son’s request.
- Luke 15:12 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
- Luke 15:12 sn He divided his assets between them. There was advice against doing this in the OT Apocrypha (Sir 33:20). The younger son would get half of what the older son received (Deut 21:17).
- Luke 15:13 tn Grk “And after.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 15:13 tn Grk “after not many days.”
- Luke 15:13 tn Or “wasted.” This verb is graphic; it means to scatter (L&N 57.151).
- Luke 15:13 tn Or “estate” (the same word has been translated “estate” in v. 12).
- Luke 15:14 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the sequence of events in the parable. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.
- Luke 15:15 tn Grk “joined himself to” (in this case an idiom for beginning to work for someone).
- Luke 15:15 tn Grk “and he.” Here the conjunction καί (kai) and the personal pronoun have been translated by a relative pronoun to improve the English style.
- Luke 15:15 sn To a Jew, being sent to the field to feed pigs would be an insult, since pigs were considered unclean animals (Lev 11:7).
- Luke 15:16 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 15:16 tn Or “would gladly have eaten”; Grk “was longing to be filled with.”
- Luke 15:16 tn This term refers to the edible pods from a carob tree (BDAG 540 s.v. κεράτιον). They were bean-like in nature and were commonly used for fattening pigs, although they were also used for food by poor people (L&N 3.46).
- Luke 15:16 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Luke 15:17 tn Grk “came to himself” (an idiom).
- Luke 15:17 tn Grk “bread,” but used figuratively for food of any kind (L&N 5.1).
- Luke 15:18 sn In the confession “I have sinned” there is a recognition of wrong that pictures the penitent coming home and “being found.”
- Luke 15:18 sn The phrase against heaven is a circumlocution for God.
- Luke 15:18 tn According to BDAG 342 s.v. ἐνωπιον 4.a, “in relation to ἁμαρτάνειν ἐ. τινος sin against someone Lk 15:18, 21 (cp. Jdth 5:17; 1 Km 7:6; 20:1).”
- Luke 15:19 tn Or “make me.” Here is a sign of total humility.
- Luke 15:20 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the son’s decision to return home. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.
- Luke 15:20 tn Grk “a long way off from [home].” The word “home” is implied (L&N 85.16).
- Luke 15:20 tn Or “felt great affection for him,” “felt great pity for him.”sn The major figure of the parable, the forgiving father, represents God the Father and his compassionate response. God is ready with open arms to welcome the sinner who comes back to him.
- Luke 15:20 tn Grk “he fell on his neck,” an idiom for showing special affection for someone by throwing one’s arms around them. The picture is of the father hanging on the son’s neck in welcome.
- Luke 15:20 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the son) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:21 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 15:21 sn The phrase against heaven is a circumlocution for God. 1st century Judaism tended to minimize use of the divine name out of reverence.
- Luke 15:21 sn The younger son launches into his confession just as he had planned. See vv. 18-19.
- Luke 15:22 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.
- Luke 15:22 sn With the instructions Hurry! Bring the best robe, there is a total acceptance of the younger son back into the home.
- Luke 15:22 tn Grk “hand,” but χείρ (cheir) can refer to either the whole hand or any relevant part of it (L&N 8.30).
- Luke 15:22 sn The need for sandals underlines the younger son’s previous destitution, because he was barefoot.
- Luke 15:23 tn Grk “And bring.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Luke 15:23 tn Or “the prize calf” (L&N 65.8). See also L&N 44.2, “grain-fattened.” Such a calf was usually reserved for religious celebrations.
- Luke 15:23 tn The participle φαγόντες (phagontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Luke 15:24 sn This statement links the parable to the theme of 15:6, 9.
- Luke 15:24 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the father’s remarks in the preceding verses.
- Luke 15:25 tn Grk “And as.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 15:25 sn This would have been primarily instrumental music, but might include singing as well.
- Luke 15:26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the older son hearing the noise of the celebration in progress.
- Luke 15:26 tn The Greek term here, παῖς (pais), describes a slave, possibly a household servant regarded with some affection (L&N 87.77).
- Luke 15:27 tn Grk “And he said to him.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated. The rest of the phrase has been simplified to “the slave replied,” with the referent (the slave) specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:27 tn See note on the phrase “fattened calf” in v. 23.
- Luke 15:27 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the younger son) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:28 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the older son, v. 25) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:28 tn The aorist verb ὠργίσθη (ōrgisthē) has been translated as an ingressive aorist, reflecting entry into a state or condition.
- Luke 15:28 sn Ironically the attitude of the older son has left him outside and without joy.
- Luke 15:29 tn Grk “but answering, he said.” This is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “but he answered.”
- Luke 15:29 tn Or simply, “have served,” but in the emotional context of the older son’s outburst the translation given is closer to the point.
- Luke 15:29 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to bring out the contrast indicated by the context.
- Luke 15:29 sn You never gave me even a goat. The older son’s complaint was that the generous treatment of the younger son was not fair: “I can’t get even a little celebration with a basic food staple like a goat!”
- Luke 15:30 sn Note the younger son is not “my brother” but this son of yours (an expression with a distinctly pejorative nuance).
- Luke 15:30 sn This is another graphic description. The younger son’s consumption had been like a glutton. He had both figuratively and literally devoured the assets which were given to him.
- Luke 15:30 sn The charge concerning the prostitutes is unproven, but essentially the older brother accuses the father of committing an injustice by rewarding his younger son’s unrighteous behavior.
- Luke 15:30 sn See note on the phrase “fattened calf” in v. 23.
- Luke 15:31 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the parable.
- Luke 15:31 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the father) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 15:32 tn Or “necessary.”
- Luke 15:32 sn By referring to him as your brother, the father reminded the older brother that the younger brother was part of the family.
- Luke 15:32 sn The theme he was lost and is found is repeated from v. 24. The conclusion is open-ended. The reader is left to ponder with the older son (who pictures the scribes and Pharisees) what the response will be. The parable does not reveal the ultimate response of the older brother. Jesus argued that sinners should be pursued and received back warmly when they returned.
For the music director, according to the gittith style;[b] by Asaph.
81 Shout for joy to God, our source of strength!
Shout out to the God of Jacob!
2 Sing[c] a song and play the tambourine,
the pleasant-sounding harp, and the ten-stringed instrument.
3 Sound the ram’s horn on the day of the new moon,[d]
and on the day of the full moon when our festival begins.[e]
4 For observing the festival is a requirement for Israel;[f]
it is an ordinance given by the God of Jacob.
5 He decreed it as a regulation in Joseph,
when he attacked the land of Egypt.[g]
I heard a voice I did not recognize.[h]
6 It said:[i] “I removed the burden from his shoulder;
his hands were released from holding the basket.[j]
7 In your distress you called out and I rescued you.
I answered you from a dark thundercloud.[k]
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.[l] (Selah)
8 I said,[m] ‘Listen, my people!
I will warn[n] you.
O Israel, if only you would obey me![o]
9 There must be[p] no other[q] god among you.
You must not worship a foreign god.
10 I am the Lord, your God,
the one who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.’
11 But my people did not obey me;[r]
Israel did not submit to me.[s]
12 I gave them over to their stubborn desires;[t]
they did what seemed right to them.[u]
13 If only my people would obey me![v]
If only Israel would keep my commands![w]
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and attack[x] their adversaries.”
15 (May those who hate the Lord[y] cower in fear[z] before him.
May they be permanently humiliated.)[aa]
16 “I would feed Israel the best wheat,[ab]
and would satisfy your appetite[ac] with honey from the rocky cliffs.”[ad]
- Psalm 81:1 sn Psalm 81. The psalmist calls God’s people to assemble for a festival and then proclaims God’s message to them. The divine speech (vv. 6-16) recalls how God delivered the people from Egypt, reminds Israel of their rebellious past, expresses God’s desire for his people to obey him, and promises divine protection in exchange for obedience.
- Psalm 81:1 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הַגִּתִּית (haggittit) is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or instrument. See the superscription to Ps 8.
- Psalm 81:2 tn Heb “lift up.”
- Psalm 81:3 tn Heb “at the new moon.”sn New moon festivals were a monthly ritual in Israel (see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 469-70). In this context the New Moon festival of the seventh month, when the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated (note the reference to a “festival” in the next line), may be in view.
- Psalm 81:3 tn Heb “at the full moon on the day of our festival.” The Hebrew word כֶּסֶה (keseh) is an alternate spelling of כֶּסֶא (keseʾ, “full moon”).sn The festival in view is probably the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), which began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month when the moon was full. See Lev 23:34; Num 29:12.
- Psalm 81:4 tn Heb “because a statute for Israel [is] it.”
- Psalm 81:5 tn Heb “in his going out against the land of Egypt.” This apparently refers to the general time period of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The LXX reads, “from Egypt,” in which case “Joseph” (see the preceding line) would be the subject of the verb, “when he [Joseph = Israel] left Egypt.”
- Psalm 81:5 tn Heb “a lip I did not know, I heard.” Here the term “lip” probably stands for speech or a voice. Apparently the psalmist speaks here and refers to God’s voice, whose speech is recorded in the following verses.
- Psalm 81:6 tn The words “It said” are not included in the Hebrew text. They are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Psalm 81:6 sn I removed the burden. The Lord speaks metaphorically of how he delivered his people from Egyptian bondage. The reference to a basket/burden probably alludes to the hard labor of the Israelites in Egypt, where they had to carry loads of bricks (see Exod 1:14).
- Psalm 81:7 tn Heb “I answered you in the hidden place of thunder.” This may allude to God’s self-revelation at Mount Sinai, where he appeared in a dark cloud accompanied by thunder (see Exod 19:16).
- Psalm 81:7 sn The name Meribah means “strife.” Two separate but similar incidents at the place called Meribah are recorded in the Pentateuch (Exod 17:1-7; Num 20:1-13). In both cases the Israelites complained about lack of water and the Lord miraculously provided for them.
- Psalm 81:8 tn The words “I said” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Verses 8-10 appear to recall what the Lord commanded the generation of Israelites that experienced the events described in v. 7. Note the statement in v. 11, “my people did not listen to me.”
- Psalm 81:8 tn Or perhaps “command.”
- Psalm 81:8 tn The Hebrew particle אִם (ʾim, “if”) and following prefixed verbal form here express a wish (GKC 321 §109.b). Note that the apodosis (the “then” clause of the conditional sentence) is suppressed.
- Psalm 81:9 tn The imperfect verbal forms in v. 9 have a modal function, expressing what is obligatory.
- Psalm 81:9 tn Heb “different”; “illicit.”
- Psalm 81:11 tn Heb “did not listen to my voice.”
- Psalm 81:11 tn The Hebrew expression אָבָה לִי (ʾavah li) means “submit to me” (see Deut 13:8).
- Psalm 81:12 tn Heb “and I sent him away in the stubbornness of their heart.”
- Psalm 81:12 tn Heb “they walked in their counsel.” The prefixed verbal form is either preterite (“walked”) or a customary imperfect (“were walking”).
- Psalm 81:13 tn Heb “if only my people were listening to me.” The Hebrew particle לוּ (lu, “if not”) introduces a purely hypothetical or contrary to fact condition (see 2 Sam 18:12).
- Psalm 81:13 tn Heb “[and if only] Israel would walk in my ways.”
- Psalm 81:14 tn Heb “turn my hand against.” The idiom “turn the hand against” has the nuance of “strike with the hand, attack” (see Isa 1:25; Ezek 38:12; Amos 1:8; Zech 13:7).
- Psalm 81:15 tn “Those who hate the Lord” are also mentioned in 2 Chr 19:2 and Ps 139:21.
- Psalm 81:15 tn See Deut 33:29; Ps 66:3 for other uses of the verb כָּחַשׁ (kakhash) in the sense “cower in fear.” In Ps 18:44 the verb seems to carry the nuance “to be weak; to be powerless” (see also Ps 109:24). The prefixed verbal form is taken as a jussive, parallel to the jussive form in the next line.
- Psalm 81:15 tc Heb “and may their time be forever.” The Hebrew term עִתָּם (ʿittam, “their time”) must refer here to the “time” of the demise and humiliation of those who hate the Lord. Some propose an emendation to בַּעֲתָתָם (baʿatatam) or בִּעֻתָם (biʿutam; “their terror”; i.e., “may their terror last forever”), but the omission of bet (ב) in the present Hebrew text is difficult to explain, making the proposed emendation unlikely.tn The verb form at the beginning of the line is jussive, indicating that this is a prayer. The translation assumes that v. 15 is a parenthetical “curse” offered by the psalmist. Having heard the reference to Israel’s enemies (v. 14), the psalmist inserts this prayer, reminding the Lord that they are God’s enemies as well.
- Psalm 81:16 tn Heb “and he fed him from the best of the wheat.” The Hebrew text has a third person form of the preterite with a vav (ו) consecutive attached. However, it is preferable, in light of the use of the first person in v. 14 and in the next line, to emend the verb to a first person form and understand the vav as conjunctive, continuing the apodosis of the conditional sentence of vv. 13-14. The third masculine singular pronominal suffix refers to Israel, as in v. 6.sn I would feed. After the parenthetical “curse” in v. 15, the Lord’s speech continues here.
- Psalm 81:16 tn Heb “you.” The second person singular pronominal suffix refers to Israel, as in vv. 7-10.
- Psalm 81:16 sn The language in this verse, particularly the references to wheat and honey, is reminiscent of Deut 32:13-14.
- Proverbs 13:1 tc The MT reads “a wise son, discipline of a father.” Instead of מוּסָר (musar, “discipline”), G. R. Driver suggested reading this word as מְיֻסַּר (meyussar, “allows himself to be disciplined”); see his “Hebrew Notes on Prophets and Proverbs,” JTS 41 (1940): 174. A few Medieval Hebrew manuscripts, the LXX, and the Syriac read יִשְׁמַע (yishmaʿ) “a wise son listens to/obeys his father.” The translation, “accepts…discipline,” reflects the notion intended by either.
- Proverbs 13:1 sn The “scoffer” is the worst kind of fool. He has no respect for authority, reviles worship of God, and is unteachable because he thinks he knows it all. The change to a stronger word in the second colon—“rebuke” (גָּעַר, gaʿar)—shows that he does not respond to instruction on any level. Cf. NLT “a young mocker,” taking this to refer to the opposite of the “wise son” in the first colon.
- Proverbs 13:1 tn Heb “has not listened.” The perfect verb has been chosen to emphasize the past pattern of the scoffer.