The Prodigal Son – a new translation

I read ancient Greek, and I am a prodigal son.  Combining those two vocations, I have created the following, my own translation of the Prodigal Son story, in Luke 15.  Pay special attention to the portion in italics, which is often undertranslated…

 

Now he told them a story about a man with two sons.  The younger son said to their father, “Dad, please give me, right away, my portion of the inheritance.”  So he divided his living among them.  Hardly a day had passed before the younger son collected it all and went on vacation to a faraway land, and there he frittered away his property in a life of dissipation.  When all of it was gone, a great famine took possession of that place – and, for his own part, he entered into a time of indescribable longing.  So he journeyed again, and was taken up by a citizen of that country, who assigned him the task of tending swine of his field.  His stomach yearned to eat these pods, the food of swine, and yet nobody would allow him even that.

Coming to his senses, he said, “How many of my dad’s employees have more bread than they could ask 1for, and here I am wasting away from hunger!  I will stand up and make the journey back to my father, and I will ask him, “Dad, I have sinned against the sky and against you, and I am no longer fit for the lot of a son.  Treat me as though I was one of your employees.”  So he got up and went to his father’s house.

While he was yet a long way off, his dad saw him coming and was shaken to his core with a deep wellspring of emotion.  He ran to him, threw his arms around him, and began showering him with kisses.  Now the son told him, “Dad, I have sinned against the sky and against you, and I am no longer fit for the lot of a son.  Treat me as though I was one of your employees.”  But his dad said to the workers, “Quick, get out the finest vest, and get the boy dressed, and put a ring on his finger, and get some shoes on his feet, and bring out the fattened calf – offer it up on the altar, so that we can eat rejoicing!  And this is why: because this boy of mine was dead but he has come back to life, he was lost but now is found!”

Just so, the party began.

 

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