Sirach 33:23

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

21 While you are still alive and have breath in you, do not let anyone take your place. 22 For it is better that your children should ask from you than that you should look to the hand of your children. 23 Excel in all that you do; bring no stain upon your honor. 24 At the time when you end the days of your life, in the hour of death, distribute your inheritance. 25 Fodder and a stick and burdens for a donkey; bread and discipline and work for a slave. 26 Set your slave to work, and you will find rest; leave his hands idle, and he will seek liberty.

Luke 15:12

New Testament

11 Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will belong to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth with a wild lifestyle. 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.

 Notes and References

"... The father in the story also displays a series of acts that go against the accepted patterns of society. First, he grants his son’s request even though he would be expected to object and refuse. (Compare Sirach 33:23. See also the expectation of sons to show pietas, the Roman value of loyalty towards their fathers) In ancient Rome, family property would only be handed over to sons before the patriarch’s death as a reward after the son displays responsible character. The reputation of the paterfamilias was based on having an orderly household. Both Jewish law and Greco-Roman literature taught that rebellious sons were to be punished, even with death in some cases. The parable does not indicate that the father had any sense of propriety in acquiescing to his son. While societal expectations dictated that he punishes his son to uphold the family honour, he does not. The father thus adds to the family’s shame. The father brings shame upon himself and on his family through his actions towards his son. Upon seeing his son far away (μακράν), he is filled with compassion, fully covering the shameful distance by running to him. This would have likely caught the attention of the hearers, as it was shameful for an older man to lift up his robes to run. Ben Sira teaches that the way a man walks reveals who he is (Sirach 19:30): the father shamefully runs in a manner associated with women. Furthermore, the father defiles himself by embracing his unclean son. First-century hearers of the parable would consider this behaviour scandalous ..."

Eng, Daniel K. The Widening Circle: Honour, Shame, and Collectivism in the Parable of Prodigal Son (pp. 1-9) The Expository Times, 2018

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