The younger son squanders his property (Lk 15:13-15:13)

“A few days later,

The younger son

Gathered all he had.

He traveled

To a distant country.

There he squandered

His property

In dissolute living.”

 

καὶ μετ’ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακράν, καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως.

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a few days later or not too many days later (καὶ μετ’ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας), this younger son gathered all that he had (συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς), without any indication of how much stuff he actually had.  He then traveled or went away to a distant country (ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακράν), since he did not stay close to home.  There he squandered his property in dissolute living (καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term ἀσώτως that means prodigal or extravagantly wasteful, because of loose living in a debauched, profligate lifestyle.  Thus, this story came to be known as the prodigal son.  In other words, this young son took off for a Las Vegas kind of city in a faraway place.  There he spent his new-found inheritance very quickly in a number of stupid ways.  It is not clear how he was able to convert his inheritance property into cash, but presumably he did.  Have you ever thought about running away and spending a lot of money foolishly?

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Jonah goes to Nineveh (Jon 3:3-3:3)

“Thus,

Jonah set out for Nineveh.

He went to Nineveh,

According to

The word of Yahweh.

Now Nineveh was

An exceedingly large city.

It would take three days

To walk across it.”

This time the response of Jonah was quite different.  Instead of running away, Jonah went to Nineveh as the word of Yahweh had instructed him.  Next, we have a short description of this Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians, a very large city that would take 3 days to walk across it.  Actually, it was only about 3 miles wide and 1½ miles wide.  It was one of the largest cities in the ancient world until the civil war of 612 BCE, probably with a population of around 120,000 people.  Geographically, Nineveh was on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the east bank of the Tigris River.