Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 15:16

And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Employee;   God Continued...;   Husk;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Joy;   Penitent;   Prodigal Son;   Readings, Select;   Salvation;   Servant;   Swine;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Food;   Food, Physical-Spiritual;   Friendless;   Friendship-Friendlessness;   Home;   Husks;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Prodigal Son;   Religion;   Son;   Stories for Children;   The Topic Concordance - Losing and Things Lost;   Salvation;   Seeking;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflictions Made Beneficial;   Parables;   Swine;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Husks;   Parable;   Swine;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Grace;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Gospel;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Parable;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Husk;   Swine;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Husks;   Shepherd;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Harmony of the Gospels;   Husk;   Imagery;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Pods;   Prodigal Son;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Carob;   Food;   Husks;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brotherhood (2);   Children of God;   Desire;   Father, Fatherhood;   Fruit (2);   Gospel (2);   Heaven ;   Husks;   Justice (2);   Love (2);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Lust;   Man (2);   Parable;   Redemption (2);   Religious Experience;   Repentance (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Husk;   Swine;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Husks;   Obsolete or obscure words in the english av bible;   Swine;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Shepherd;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Husks;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Botany;   Fain;   Food;   Husks;   Swine;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Saint-John's-Bread;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for November 6;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

With the husks - Κερατιων . Bochart, I think, has proved that κερατια does not mean husks: to signify which the Greek botanical writers use the word λοβοι ; several examples of which he gives from Theophrastus. He shows, also, that the original word means the fruit of the ceratonia or charub tree, which grows plentifully in Syria. This kind of pulse, Columella observes, was made use of to feed swine. See Bochart, Hieroz. lib. ii. cap. lvi. col. 707-10.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He would fain - He would gladly. He desired to do it.

The husks - The word “husks” with us denotes the outward covering of grain. In this there is little nourishment, and it is evident that this is not intended here; but the word used here denotes not only “husks,” but also leguminous plants, as beans, etc. It is also used to denote the fruit of a tree called the “carob or kharub-tree,” which is common in Ionia, Syria, and Rhodes. The tree is more bushy and thick set than the apple tree, and the leaves are larger and of a much darker green. The following is Dr. Thomson‘s description of the fruit of this tree (“The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 22): “The ‹husks‘ - a mistranslation - are fleshy pods, somewhat like those of the locust-tree, from six to ten inches long and one broad, laid inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe. I have seen large orchards of this kharub in Cyprus, where it is still the food which the swine do eat. The kharub is often called John‘s Bread, and also Locust-tree, from a mistaken idea about the food of the Baptist in the wilderness.” The cut will give an idea of these “pods,” or “husks,” as they are called in our translation.

No man gave unto him - Some have understood this as meaning “no one gave him anything - any bread or provisions;” but the connection requires us to understand it of the “husks.” He did not go a begging - his master was bound to provide for his wants; but the provision which he made for him was so poor that he would have preferred the food of the swine. He desired a portion of “their food,” but that was not given him. A certain quantity was measured out for “them,” and “he” was not at liberty to eat it himself. Nothing could more strikingly show the evil of his condition, or the deep degradation, and pollution, and wretchedness of sin.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-15.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

The husks ... These were the pods of the carob bean,[2] a coarse, locust-like bean with a certain sugar content, still used in the East for feeding swine. The seeds of this bean are strangely uniform in size and weight, and they were used as the measure of a "Carat" by gem merchants, weight of one seed equaling one carat, that term being directly derived from "carob."[3] It was only the pod, or husk, of the bean which was edible, the seeds being very hard and worthless as food. This product is still sold in Manhattan, New York City, the flour made of the pods having a sweet, chocolate-like taste, not being in any way very delicious, but it is supposed to be healthful.

No man gave unto him ... Nothing disappears any more quickly than the friends who have drunk the liquor and helped waste the substance of a man like the prodigal. His plight was altogether pitiful.

[2] English Revised Version, margin, en loco.

[3] Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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 would fain have filled his belly with the husks,.... חרובא, the fruit of the "Charub" tree, as the Syriac version interprets it; and which the JewsF25T. Hieros. Maascrot, fol. 50. 2. say is מאכל בהמה, "the food of beasts": though, according to what is elsewhere said of it, it should be the food of men also. It is saidF26T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 33. 2. of R. Simeon ben Jochai, and his son, that they hid themselves in a cave for fear of the king, and a miracle was wrought for them, איברי להו חרובא, a "Charub" tree was created for them, and a fountain of water; the one, as the gloss observes, was to eat the fruit of, and the other to drink of: but be they what they will, by them are meant, not worldly riches and honours, and carnal lusts and pleasures; though these are the principal things of the far country, of this world, or an unregenerate estate; and are greatly desired by carnal minds, and are but swine's meat, very mean food, yea, pernicious, empty, unsatisfying, and perishing; but these were the things this man had been desirous of, and lived upon before, and had ran through them, and had spent all his substance in the pursuit and enjoyment of them; and now he felt the gripes of a natural conscience for them, and found himself in want of something else: wherefore by these "husks" are meant works of righteousness done by men; which are like husks, external things, done only before men; empty things that have nothing within them; mere trash, and not food; and which can give no satisfaction; mere sordid food, fit only to be cast to dogs or swine; of an ill savour, hard to eat, and difficult digestion, and which affords no real nourishment; these this man greatly desired to fill his belly with: he found himself empty, and in want; as yet he had no thought of, at least not any desire after the bread in his father's house; but would fain have satisfied himself with his own doings, and have quieted his mind and conscience with a few external performances, a negative holiness, a legal repentance, and outward reformation: he laboured hard to make his own righteousness do; which was but striving to fill his belly with the east wind; and is what can never satisfy, because it is not answerable to the law and justice of God; and was no other than

that the swine did eat, self-righteous persons, like himself; for such an one was now the publican and sinner become, though he did not continue so. Christ's lambs and sheep do not eat such food, nor will, nor can they, only swinish, selfish persons; this is suitable to their nature, they eat it, and live upon it; which shows them to be unrenewed, and that their taste is not changed.

And no man gave unto him: not the husks, though this is the sense of the Arabic version, which renders it, "neither did he obtain them"; and so it seems to be ours and others: but these were at hand, which he might have taken himself, and did; nor is it reasonable to think he should wait to have them given him by another; or that he should be restrained from them; but it is to be understood of bread, or proper food, and that no man gave that unto him: and the words, as Calvin observes, may be read causally, "for no man gave to him"; and so are a reason why he craved husks, because no man gave him any bread: the citizen, or legal preacher, to whom he joined himself, gave him none; nor the swine, the self-righteous persons, to whom he was sent, and with whom he conversed, gave him none; he had nothing under the ministry, nor in conversation, that was proper food to him; there were nothing but these husks that presented, and he tried to satisfy himself with them; and indeed none but Christ can give the true bread, the bread of life, to those that are hungry, and in want.

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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 15:16". "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

would fain have filled — rather, “was fain to fill,” ate greedily of the only food he could get.

the husks — “the hulls of a leguminous plant which in the East is the food of cattle and swine, and often the nourishment of the poorest in times of distress” [Stier].

no man gave  …  him — not this food, for that he had, but anything better (Jeremiah 30:14). This was his lowest depth - perishing unpitied, alone in the world, and ready to disappear from it unmissed! But this is just the blessed turning-point; midnight before dawn of day (2 Chronicles 12:8; 2 Chronicles 33:11-13; Jeremiah 2:19).

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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

He would fain have been filled (επετυμει χορταστηναιepethumei chortasthēnai). Literally, he was desiring (longing) to be filled. Imperfect indicative and first aorist passive infinitive. ΧορταστηναιChortasthēnai is from χορταζωchortazō and that from χορτοςchortos (grass), and so to feed with grass or with anything. Westcott and Hort put γεμισαι την κοιλιαν αυτουgemisai tēn koilian autou in the margin (the Textus Receptus).

With the husks (εκ των κερατιωνek tōn keratiōn). The word occurs here alone in the N.T. and is a diminutive of κεραςkeras (horn) and so means little horn. It is used in various senses, but here refers to the pods of the carob tree or locust tree still common in Palestine and around the Mediterranean, so called from the shape of the pods like little horns,

Bockshornbaum in German or goat‘s-horn tree. The gelatinous substance inside has a sweetish taste and is used for feeding swine and even for food by the lower classes. It is sometimes called Saint John‘s Bread from the notion that the Baptist ate it in the wilderness.

No man gave unto him (ουδεις εδιδου αυτωιoudeis edidou autōi). Imperfect active. Continued refusal of anyone to allow him even the food of the hogs.

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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

He would fain ( ἐπεθύμει )

Longing desire. Imperfect tense, he was longing, all the while he was tending the swine.

Filled his belly ( γεμίσαι τὴν κοιλίαν )

The texts vary. The Rev. follows the reading χορτασθῆναι , “He would fain have been filled, using the same word which is employed offilling those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6, see note), and of the five thousand (Matthew 14:20). He had wanted the wrong thing all along, and it was no better now. All he wanted was to fill his belly.

Husks ( κερατίων )

Carob-pods. The word is a diminutive of κέρας , a horn, and means, literally, a little horn, from the shape of the pod. The tree is sometimes called in German BockshornbaumGoat's-horn-tree. “The fleshy pods are from six to ten inches long, and one broad, lined inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe” (Thomson, “Land and Book”). The shell or pod alone is eaten. It grows in Southern Italy and Spain, and it is said that during the Peninsular War the horses of the British cavalry were often fed upon the pods. It is also called Saint John's bread, from a tradition that the Baptist fed upon its fruit in the wilderness. Edersheim quotes a Jewish saying, “When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they become repentant.”

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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 would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

He would fain have filled his belly with the husks — He would fain have satisfied himself with worldly comforts. Vain, fruitless endeavour!

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-15.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him1.

  1. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. The master upon whom he had forced himself did not deem his service worthy of enough food to sustain life; so that he would gladly have eaten the husks or pods of the carob bean, which are very similar to our honey-locust pods, if they would satisfy his hunger.

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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.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-15.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Husks; coarse vegetables used for the food of swine.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-15.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Ver. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly] The stomach of man is a monster (saith one), which, being contained in so little a bulk as his body, is able to consume and devour all things.

And no man gave him] A swinish life he had led, and now would have been glad of swine’s meat.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 15:16. He would fain have filled his belly with the husks The version of 1729 renders the word κερατιων, by Carruways, or the fruit of the Carub tree, which bore a mean, though sweetish kind of fruit, in long crooked pods, which by some is called St. John's bread. But if the account which Saubert (who is a great favourer of this interpretation) gives of this plant be true, swine would hardly have been fed with any thing but the husky part of this in a time of extreme famine: possibly these were the husks of a fruit, something of the wild chesnut kind. The last clause signifies For no man gave him meat, the word φαγειν, or εσ θιειν, being understood; as is plain from hence, that the clause contains a reason for his desiringto fill his belly with the husks, and not for his abstaining from them. His abstaining from the husks was owing to their being the food of beasts, and not tohis wanting permission to eat them; for this debauched youth cannot be supposed to have possessed such a principle of honesty, that he would rather die with famine, than without his masters leave take so small a matter as a few husks, which the swine seem to have had in great plent

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-15.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

16.] ἐπεθύμει—not merely he desired, see ch. Luke 16:21, where the fact is surely implied that Lazarus did eat of the crumbs. The mistake has arisen from supplying a wrong object to ἐδίδου, and that from misunderstanding κεράτια. ‘These are not the husks or pods of some other fruit, as of peas or beans, but themselves a fruit, that of the carob (or caruba, found not only in the East, but in sough Europe, e.g. in abundance on the Riviera between Nice and Genoa. H. A.) tree ( κερατωνία).… They are in shape something like a bean-pod, though larger and more curved, thence called κεράτιον or little horn, … they have a hard dark outside and a dull sweet taste … the shell or pod alone is eaten.’ Trench, Par. in loc. His appetite even drove him to these for food;—forκαί (implying his state of destitution)—no man gave (aught) to him. Meyer, De Wette, Greswell, and others supply κεράτια after ἐδίδου, but wrongly, I think; the absolute use of δίδωμι being very frequent, and the other construction harsh and unusual.

We see him now in the depth of his misery,—the sinner reaping the consequences of his sin in utter shame and extremity of need.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". 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 15:16. γεμίσαι, fill) The greater was his emptiness, the greater in proportion was his appetite.— τῶν κερατίων) The Syriac Version has חרובא, from which the opinion seems in part to have originated, and in part is confirmed, namely, that of those who understand the word not of the husks of leguminous plants (pulse, beans, etc.), but of the fruit of the carob tree (“St John’s bread”), called καῤῥουβία (from which comes the French word carrouges), which was the food used by the poorest of men and by swine: as is the view of Maldonatus, Bochart, Drusius, Simonius, and before them, some one or other in the Greek Lexicon brought out by ten writers at Basle, 1584. Add Buxt. Lexicon Talm., who, col. 821, shows that חרוב is a species of tree. No doubt all κεράτια are siliquæ, leguminous plants; whether all siliquæ are to be called by the name, κεράτια, I know not.(162)

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". 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"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 15:16". 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

он рад был наполнить чрево свое рожками Т.е. стручками рожкового дерева, применявшимися для корма свиней, но практически неудобоваримыми для людей. Другими словами, он не ел ту же пищу, что и свиньи, только потому, что ему не разрешали.

но никто не давал ему Он даже не мог зарабатывать себе на жизнь, собирая милостыню. Трудно себе представить более безнадежное положение. Итак он символически изображает отдаленного от Бога грешника, беспомощного в своей безысходности.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-15.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Husks; large pods growing on the carob-tree. They have a sweetish pulp, and small seeds like beans. Swine are fed on them, and poor people sometimes eat them.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16.Filled his belly—For it is only his animal nature that man in his lost depravity is able to think of feeding or sustaining.

Husks—Rather pods. These were not, as the American reader is apt to imagine, the husks of maize, that is, of Indian corn. They are the fruit of the carob tree, and are from their shape called in the Greek little horns. From the popular notion that they were the food of John the Baptist, they are called St. John’s bread. Dr. Thomson describes them as “fleshy pods somewhat like those of the honey locust tree, from six to ten inches long and one broad, lined inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe. I have seen large orchards of this Kharub in Cyprus, where it is still the food which the swine do eat. In Syria, where we have no swine, or next to none, the pods are ground up and a species of molasses is made, which is much used in making certain kinds of sweetmeats. In Cyprus, Asia Minor, and the Grecian islands, you will see full grown trees bending under half a ton of green pods.”

The carob fruit is more properly a human food than husks. During famines, such as the prodigal suffered, in countries where the tree grows, it is a sort of support for the people. Unripe, it is slightly astringent to the taste; ripened on the tree, it has a disagreeable odor; but dried on hurdles, it becomes an eatable but not very agreeable article. It is generally abandoned by men to swine and cattle.

No man gave—The question is asked by commentators, why did he not take and eat a share of the pods; inasmuch as he was feeding the swine with them? Some have answered, that he only drove the swine into the fields to feed on grass and herbage, while they were fed on pods at home under the master’s eye. But even then it may be replied that, being on hire, he would be fed at least as well as the swine he tended. To obviate all these difficulties other commentators have supplied anything after gave, and this would make the last clause signify that no man bestowed upon him any relief. But, first, it seems most natural to supply husks as the proper grammatical object of gave; and second, this interpretation still imputes to our Lord the very forced supposition, that the man should not be fed as well as the swine he was hired to herd.

We suggest that the vain desire for the unobtainable pods (including all of Luke 15:16) was a later stage of his history, and after he had been turned out from his swineherdship. It was bad enough to be a swineherd; but while he was a swineherd he could, at any rate, feed with the swine on carobs. It was worse to lose his place, and hunger for the pods he once dispensed to, and shared with, the lowest of animals. Even to feed swine is better than to be vainly ravenous for swine’s fare.

And such are the steps by which vice descends into the depths of degradation and misery. In his father’s house, the prodigal’s heart, soul, and spirit were fed with their high nourishment; with his harlots he descended to the sensual gratification of palate and lust; with the citizen he sunk to sustaining his animal nature with bestial husks; with himself, finally, he arrived at complete starvation. Happily, when the bottom was reached the ascent commenced. Such is not always the case; for beneath this lowest deep there is a lower deep, which has no bottom and admits no ascent.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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 15:16. Would fain have filled his belly. Many ancient authorities read: ‘would fain have been filled,’ and this may be the correct reading, but does not alter the sense. The literal translation of the E. V. corresponds with the coarse craving of his hunger.

With the husks, Greek: ‘pods of the carob-tree,’ or literally, ‘little horns,’ so called from their curved shape. These pods have a sweetish taste; are food for swine, but poor nourishment for men, although they could be eaten. It is uncertain whether the prodigal obtained even this poor food; if he did, it was taken from swine while he tended them.

And no man gave to him. No one provided anything for his needs. This is the reason he so desired the swine’s food. Some explain the matter thus: The swine were fed, after the prodigal had driven them home; he saw them fed, craved a share, ‘and no man gave (even this) to him.’ We prefer the other view, as more direct and suggesting the unsatisfying nature of the ‘husks.’ This state of deepest want was the turning point.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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 15:16. , etc., he was fain to fill his belly with the horn-shaped pods of the carob-tree. The point is that he was so poorly fed by his new master (who felt the pinch of hard times, and on whom he had small claim) that to get a good meal of anything, even swine’s food, was a treat. . ., though realistic, is redeemed from vulgarity by the dire distress of the quondam voluptuary. Anything to fill the aching void within!— , no one was giving him: this his experience from day to day and week to week. Giving what? Not the pods, as many think, these he would take without leave, but anything better. His master gave him little—famine rations, and no other kind soul made up for the lack. Neither food nor love abounded in that country. So there was nothing for it but swine’s food or semi-starvation—or home!

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-15.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Husks. This expresses the extreme misery of his condition. There is no need of seeking any other mystery in this word. Horace, by a kind of hyperbole, (B. ii, Ep. 1.) represents the miser as living upon husks to be able to save more. Vivit siliquis et pane secundo.

--- And no man gave unto him; i.e. gave him bread, mentioned before; for as for the husks, he could take what he pleased. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-15.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

would fain have filled = was longing to fill.

with = from. Greek. apo. App-104.

husks = pods of the carob tree. Only here in N.T.

did eat = were eating.

and. Note the emphasis of the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6), here.

no man. Greek. oudeis, compound of ou. App-105.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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 would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks [ toon (G3588) keratioon (G2769)] that the swine did eat, [ kai (Greek #2532) epethumei (Greek #1937) gemisai (Greek #1072)] - rather, 'was fain to fill,' or ate greedily of the only food he could get. These husks, or pulse-pods, were in the East the food of cattle and swine, and in times of distress were the nourishment of the very poorest people, as Stier remarks.

And no man gave unto him - that is, no one minded him, to give him anything better than this. "All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not: for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased" (Jeremiah 30:14). This was his lowest depth: he was perishing unpitied; he was alone in the world; he was ready to disappear from it unmissed. But this is just the blessed turning-point-the midnight before dawn of day. "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God" (Jeremiah 2:19). "The Lord brought upon Manasseh's people the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him; and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God" (2 Chronicles 33:11-13; and see 2 Chronicles 12:7-8).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "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

(16) He would fain have filled his belly.—It is singular that very many of the best MSS. give the simpler reading, “desired to be filled or satisfied.” It is open to suppose either that they shrank from the reading in the text as too coarse, or that the later MSS. introduced “filled his belly” as more vivid and colloquial; or, as seems probable, that there may have been a variation of phrase even in the original autograph MSS. of St. Luke.

The husks that the swine did eat.—The word is generic, but it is commonly identified with the long bean-like pods of the carob-tree, or Ceratonia siliqua, or St. John’s bread, in which some have seen the “locusts” of Matthew 3:4. They contain a good deal of saccharine matter, and are commonly used as food for swine in Syria and Egypt. Spiritually, they answer to the sensual pleasures in which men who are as the swine, identified with brute appetites, find adequate sustenance. The soul that was born to a higher inheritance cannot so satisfy itself. It seeks to be “like a beast with lower pleasures,” but it is part of the Father’s discipline that that baser satisfaction is beyond its reach.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
he would
Isaiah 44:20; 55:2; Lamentations 4:5; Hosea 12:1; Romans 6:19-21
that
Psalms 73:22
no
Psalms 142:4; Isaiah 57:3; Jonah 2:2-8
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 14:8 - the swine;  2 Chronicles 33:12 - And when;  Job 30:4 - for their meat;  Psalm 32:3 - When;  Psalm 68:13 - the wings;  Proverbs 27:7 - to;  Jeremiah 3:1 - yet return;  Malachi 3:7 - Wherein;  Matthew 8:30 - an

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 15:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-15.html.