Luke 15:16

New Testament

14 Then 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 one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He was longing to eat the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food 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 against heaven and against you.

Leviticus Rabbah 13:4


The Rabbis said: THESE ARE THE LIVING THINGS WHICH YE MAY EAT means, if it [i.e. a slaughtered animal] would have recovered [lit. lived on] from its blemish, you may eat thereof, but if it would not have recovered, you may not eat thereof.’ Resh Lakish said: [The verse means]: If you will prove yourselves worthy, you will consume, but if you do not prove worthy, you will be consumed by [enemy] Empires. —R. Aha said: It is written, 1] ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but tf ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword—hereb te’ukkelu (Isa. 1, 20f.). [The last clause means], ‘You will eat carobs (harub tokelu),’ as R. Aha has said: When a Jew has to resort to carobs, he repents. (R. Akiba said): Poverty is becoming to a Jew, even as is a red strap® on the breast of a white horse

 Notes and References

"... A proverb from the rabbinic commentary Leviticus Rabbah (13.4) notes, “When Israelites are reduced to eating carob pods, they repent.” The son’s comments fall in line with this idea. Junior speaks of his sin and his desire for restoration to the household, albeit on lesser terms as a day laborer rather than a beloved son. His rehearsed lines sound contrite. Thus, for many readers who, influenced by Luke, see the parable as about repenting and forgiving, Junior is understood to have repented ..."

Levine, Amy-Jill Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (p. 64) HarperOne, 2014

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