Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 15:15

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.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Employee;   God Continued...;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Joy;   Penitent;   Prodigal Son;   Readings, Select;   Salvation;   Servant;   Swine;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Animals;   Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Prodigal Son;   Religion;   Son;   Stories for Children;   Swine;   The Topic Concordance - Losing and Things Lost;   Salvation;   Seeking;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Parables;   Swine;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Swine;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Grace;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Gospel;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Parable;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Citizenship;   Swine;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Boar;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Harmony of the Gospels;   Imagery;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Prodigal Son;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Parable;   Swine;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Animals;   Brotherhood (2);   Children of God;   Father, Fatherhood;   Gospel (2);   Justice (2);   Love (2);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Man (2);   Parable;   Redemption (2);   Religious Experience;   Repentance (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Sheep, Shepherd;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 28 To Feed, Shepherd;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Swine;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Citizenship;   Join;   Swine;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for November 6;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To feed swine - The basest and vilest of all employments; and, to a Jew, peculiarly degrading. Shame, contempt, and distress are wedded to sin, and can never be divorced. No character could be meaner in the sight of a Jew than that of a swineherd: and Herodotus informs us, that in Egypt they were not permitted to mingle with civil society, nor to appear in the worship of the gods, nor would the very dregs of the people have any matrimonial connections with them. Herod. lib. ii. cap. 47.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Joined himself - Entered the service of that citizen. Hired himself out to him. It would seem that he engaged to do any kind of work, even of the lowest kind.

A citizen - One of the inhabitants of one of the cities or towns of that region, probably a man of property.

Into the fields - Out of the city where the owner lived.

To feed swine - This was a very low employment, and particularly so to a “Jew.” It was forbidden to the Jews to eat swine, and of course it was unlawful to keep them. To be compelled, therefore, to engage in such an employment was the deepest conceivable degradation. The “object” of this image, as used by the Saviour in the parable, is to show the loathsome employments and the deep degradation to which sin leads people, and no circumstance could possibly illustrate it in a more striking manner than he has done here. Sin and its results everywhere have the same relation to that which is noble and great, which the feeding of swine had, in the estimation of a Jew, to an honorable and dignified employment.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-15.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

This acceptance by the prodigal of such a despised, menial position in the establishment of one of the citizens of that country shows the extent of his reduction and want. He who had found the benign government of a father so unbearable was reduced to submission as one of the lowest menials under that citizen. A Jewish prince in a swine pen! What a disastrous development that was!

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-15.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country,.... Not to any one of the saints, for they are not citizens of the far country, but of the church of God below, and of heaven above; besides, carnal men do not like the company of such citizens: nor is the devil intended, for though he dwells in this country, he is more than a citizen, than an inhabitant; he is king and governor, the prince of the world, and the god of it; nor is it feasible, that a man under conviction, and beginning to be sensible of his want, should go and join himself to the devil: but an unregenerate, "pharisaical", legal preacher, is designed; a man may be a preacher, and yet in the far country of sin and unregeneracy; there may be large gifts, where there is no grace; and a man may have a form of religion and godliness, and know nothing of the power of it; and a great stir and bluster may be made about good works, as were by the Pharisees, when few or none are done: now it is common for persons under legal convictions, to seek after such a preacher, and such a ministry, and to such an one this man "went"; he went not out of the land of sin, nor to his father's house, but to one in the same country, where the famine was, and he was starving: "he went"; it was his own choice, he took his own way; he went and told him his case, how he had spent all he had, and in what manner, and what condition he now was in; and he asked his advice and assistance: and he "joined himself" to him; he sat under his ministry, and became a member with him, and stuck close to him, as the word signifies; and was a stickler for him, and his principles:

and he sent him into his field to feed swine; he did not give him the least bit of bread to satisfy his hunger; nor did he say one word to him of Christ, the bread of life; nor did he advise him to go to his father's house, where there was bread enough, and to spare: but he "sent him, into his fields"; to work, to cleanse his heart, to reform his life, to fulfil the law, to perform the conditions of the covenant, to make his peace with God, and get an interest in his love and favour; and go through a round of duties continually, and all would be well: he sent him to "feed swine" there; to converse with self-righteous persons, who may be compared to swine, because of their selfishness; doing all they do for themselves, and not for God and his glory; because they prefer dung before pearls, their own righteousness before Christ, the pearl of great price; and live upon the husks of their own duties and never look upwards to heaven, as this creature does not, but always downwards on the earth; and though they were outwardly reformed, yet inwardly filthy, and often return to wallowing in the mire again: he sent him there also to gratify the selfish principles of nature; to please himself with his wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and other excellencies he fancied he had attained unto. In short, the expression shows the base employment of a self-justitiary amidst all his pretensions to religion and virtue: for feeding of swine was very disagreeable to the Jews, and with them scandalous; to whom the eating of swine's flesh was forbidden by the law of God, and the breeding of swine by their traditions; and this is said to be done in a country, out of Judea.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-15.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

joined himself, etc. — his pride not yet humbled, unable to brook the shame of a return.

to feed swine — glad to keep life anyhow, behold the son sank into a swineherd - among the Jews, on account of the prohibition of swine‘s flesh, emphatically vile! “He who begins by using the world as a servant, to minister to his pleasure, ends by reversing the relationship” [Trench].

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Joined himself (εκολλητηekollēthē). First aorist passive of κολλαωkollaō an old verb to glue together, to cleave to. In the N.T. only the passive occurs. He was glued to, was joined to. It is not necessary to take this passive in the middle reflexive sense.

The citizens (των πολιτωνtōn politōn). Curiously enough this common word citizen (πολιτηςpolitēs from πολιςpolis city) is found in the N.T. only in Luke‘s writings (Luke 15:15; Luke 19:14; Acts 21:39) except in Hebrews 8:11 where it is quoted from Jeremiah 31:34.

To feed swine (βοσκειν χοιρουςboskein choirous). A most degrading occupation for anyone and for a Jew an unspeakable degradation.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Joined himself ( ἐκολλήθη )

The verb means to glue or cement. Very expressive here, implying that he forced himself upon the citizen, who was unwilling to engage him, and who took him into service only upon persistent entreaty. “The unhappy wretch is a sort of appendage to a strange personality” (Godet). Compare Acts 9:26. Wyc., cleaved. See, also, on Acts 5:13.

To feed swine

As he had received him reluctantly, so he gave him the meanest possible employment. An ignominious occupation, especially in Jewish eyes. The keeping of swine was prohibited to Israelites under a curse.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-15.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

And he joined himself to a citizen of that country — Either the devil or one of his children, the genuine citizens of that country which is far from God.

He sent him to feed swine — He employed him in the base drudgery of sin.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-15.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he went and joined himself1 to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine2.

  1. Joined himself. Literally, glued.

  2. He sent him into his fields to feed swine. Literally, to pasture or tend the swine. This was, to the Jew, the bottom of degradation's pit. They so abhorred swine that they refused to name them. They spoke of a pig as "dabhar acheer", that is, "the other thing".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-15.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Ver. 15. To feed swine] Which to a Jew, that held swine an abomination, must needs be grievous.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 15:15. He went and joined himself, &c.— So he put himself into the service of one of the inhabitants, who sent him to his farm to keep swine. Heylin. It is true, that among the ancient Greeks, the chief swine-herd was looked upon as an officer ofnoinconsiderablerank, as evidently appears from the figure which Eumaeus makes in the Odyssey;—but this was an age of greater refinement; the unhappy youth was obliged to tend the swine himself; and if considered as a Jew, the aversion of that nationtothisuncleananimalmust render the employment peculiarly odious to him: and probably this circumstance was chosen by our Lord, to represent him as reduced to the most mean and servile state, from a life of the greatest luxury and extravag

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-15.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

15.] He sinks lower and lower—becomes the despised servant of an alien (is there here any hint at the situation of the publicans?) who employs him in an office most vile and odious to the mind of a Jew.

ἐκολλήθη—no emphasis, see reff., he attached himself. Notice the abrupt change of subject, ἐκολλήθηἔπεμψεν. See ch. Luke 19:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-15.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 15:15. τῶν πολιτῶν, of the citizens) although he did not himself become a citizen of that country. The man, whom a return to sound propriety of character is awaiting (is in store for), often, even in the midst of his wanderings (John 11:52, “The children of God—scattered abroad”), retains a something which distinguishes him from the ordinary (those who are distinctively and peculiarly) citizens of the world.— ἔπεμψεν, sent) A great indignity done to him.— χοίρους, swine) A mean condition of life, especially according to Jewish notions [of swine being ‘unclean’ animals].

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-15.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 15:11"

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 15:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-15.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

пасти свиней Это было самым худшим видом падения, которое могли себе представить иудеи: свиньи для иудеев представлялись омерзительнейшими из всех нечистых животных.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-15.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

To feed swine; this was considered a very degrading employment, and to a Jew was especially odious. Leviticus 11:7; Deuteronomy 14:8.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.Joined himself—As yet he prefers the hireling’s lot in the abodes of sin to his filial place in the abodes of home. In his decision thousands persevere, and their souls are starved to eternal death.

A citizen—As he himself is an alien and a foreigner. Is not this citizen the devil or one of his angels? Is any man a citizen of the realm of sin?

To feed swine—To the Jew this is the very essence of moral abomination. “Cursed is he who feeds swine” was a Jewish malediction. And not to the Jew alone of the nations of antiquity. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman alike bestowed a special abhorrence upon the swineherd. As nearest of kin to the unclean devil, the swine was the fittest of all lower animals for the devils to enter, as the devils themselves requested.

[image]

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-15.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 15:15. Joined himself. Attached himself, as it were by force. He makes a determined effort to help himself, as he begins to feel his want

To one of the citizens of that country. Not to be directly interpreted of Satan, for the man was ‘one of the citizens.’ His business is to feed swine, unclean animals, so that the employment was degrading. There may be an allusion to the publicans, as in the employ of an alien power, and engaged in a degrading duty. The main point is that he who, under a sinful impulse, sought to be released from a father’s supervision, is brought into the most abject dependence on a foreigner, who takes no care of him whatever. The freedom into which sin leads is slavery.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-15.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 15:15. , he attached himself (pass with mid. sense). The citizen of the far country did not want him, it is no time for employing super. fluous hands, but he suffered the wretch to have his way in good-natured pity.— : the lowest occupation, a poor-paid pagan drudge; the position of the publicans glanced at.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-15.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

joined himself to = cleaved to (Greek. Pass. of kollao glue together); i.e. he forced himself.

a citizen = one of the citizens. Contrast Philippians 1:3, Philippians 1:20.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. His pride, it seems, was not yet humbled; he could not brook the shame of a return. Glad to keep life in any how, behold the son sunk into a swine-herd; among the Jews, to whom swine's flesh was prohibited, emphatically vile! He, says Trench, who begins by using the world as a servant, to minister to his pleasure, ends by reversing the relationship.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) Joined himself.—Literally clave to, or, attached himself to. The verb is the same as that used of the husband cleaving to his wife in Matthew 19:5, and thus expresses the absolute dependence of the famished man upon one who was ready to help him.

To a citizen.—Literally, to one of the citizens. In the outer story of the parable, this would emphasise the misery into which the man had fallen. The son of Abraham had to depend upon the bounty of an alien. In the two lines of interpretation, the “citizen” is one who all along has been of the world, worldly, living for no higher end than gain or pleasure. The prodigal is as one who, called to a higher life, has forfeited its blessedness, and now depends for such joy as he is capable of on those who are more completely identified with evil. It is, perhaps, natural that as we diverge more widely from the primary scope of the parable, its application in detail should become more difficult; and looking at the parable, as giving an outline of the history of the human race, one fails to see who answers to the “citizen.” Not the Tempter, the great author of the world’s evil, for the citizen is one of many. Nor is it the part of the citizen here to tempt to evil, but rather to be half-unconsciously God’s instrument in punishing it—half-unconsciously, again, the means of preserving the evil-doer from perishing, and so of making a subsequent deliverance possible. It is truer to facts, therefore, to see in the “citizen” the representative of the wisdom and knowledge, maxims of worldly prudence or principles of ethics without religion, which for a time sustain the soul, and “still the hungry edge of appetite,” and keep it from sinking utterly, while yet they leave it in its wretchedness and do not satisfy its cravings.

To feed swine.—We feel at once the shudder that would pass through the hearers of the parable as they listened to these words. Could there be for an Israelite a greater depth of debasement? In the inner teaching of the parable, this perhaps implies a state in which the man’s will and energies have but the one work of ministering to his baser appetites. Such, in the long-run, is the outcome of the wisdom described in the previous note as answering to the “citizen.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
he went
13; Exodus 10:3; 2 Chronicles 28:22; Isaiah 1:5,9,10-13; 57:17; Jeremiah 5:3; 8:4-6; Jeremiah 31:18,19; 2 Timothy 2:25,26; Revelation 2:21,22
to feed
8:32-34; Ezekiel 16:52,63; Nahum 3:6; Malachi 2:9; Romans 1:24-26; 6:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:2,3; 4:17-19; 5:11,12; Colossians 3:5-7; Titus 3:3
Reciprocal: Leviticus 11:7 - swine;  Deuteronomy 14:8 - the swine;  Deuteronomy 23:16 - shall dwell;  Psalm 32:3 - When;  Isaiah 55:2 - do ye;  Matthew 8:30 - an

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 15:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-15.html.