“The younger son
Of them said
To his father.
Of the property
That will belong
The father divided
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ νεώτερος αὐτῶν τῷ πατρί Πάτερ, δός μοι τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας. ὁ δὲ διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς τὸν βίον.
This long parable story about the two sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories. Luke indicated that Jesus said that the younger son said to his father (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ νεώτερος αὐτῶν τῷ πατρί), very respectfully calling him “father (Πάτερ)” that he wanted the share of the property that was going to belong to him (δός μοι τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας). Thus, the father obliged. He divided his property between the two of them (ὁ δὲ διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς τὸν βίον). This is a simple story. The younger son wanted his inheritance early, which was an unusual request, since inheritances would not take place until the death of his father. Nevertheless, the father said ok, without consulting with the older son. Has there been a fight in your family about inheritances?
“Jesus said to him.
Who puts his hand
To the plow
And looks back
For the kingdom of God.’”
εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐδεὶς ἐπιβαλὼν τὴν χεῖρα ἐπ’ ἄροτρον καὶ βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω εὔθετός ἐστιν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus responded to this person (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by saying that no one who puts his hand to the plow (Οὐδεὶς ἐπιβαλὼν τὴν χεῖρα ἐπ’ ἄροτρον) and then looks back (καὶ βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω) was fit (εὔθετός ἐστιν) for the kingdom of God (τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ). This was another unique saying of Luke that was not found in Matthew. Being a disciple was not going to be easy. You could not even say goodbye to your family. Once you got started on your plow, there was no looking back. Everything was centered on the kingdom of God. Nothing else counted. Do you often turn away from Jesus?
“To son or wife,
To brother or friend,
Do not give power over yourself,
As long as you live.
Do not give your property
In case you change your mind,
You must ask for it.
While you are still alive,
While you have breath in you,
Do not let anyone take your place!
It is better
That your children
Should ask from you
Than that you should look
To the hand of your children.
Excel in all that you do!
Bring no stain upon your honor!
At the time when you end
The days of your life,
In the hour of your death,
Distribute your inheritance.”
Sirach points out the important of keeping your money until you die. He did not want people to give up their property to sons, wives, brothers, or friends as long as they were alive. He would be against the modern power of attorney concept. He seems to prefer the old fashioned last will and testament. His reasoning was that you might change your mind. Then you would have a hard time getting it back. No one should take your place as long as you were living. It is better that your children come to you, rather than you depend on your children. During your life, you should excel in all that you do. You should bring honor to your family. However, at the end, when you are near death, then you can distribute your goods via a will or anyway you please.
“A fool despises a parent’s instruction.
But whoever heeds admonition is prudent.
In the house of the righteous
There is much treasure.
But trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge.
The minds of fools do not spread knowledge.”
Fools do not listen to their parent’s advice. However, those who heed the admonition of their parents are prudent. If you are righteous, your family will have much treasure. However, trouble will come upon the income of the wicked fools. The wise spread knowledge with their lips, but the mind of fools cannot spread any knowledge, because they have nothing to give.
“Yahweh blesses you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
All the days of your life!
May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!”
Prosperity comes in two ways, one is in the city of Jerusalem and the other is your family. Yahweh will bless you from Mount Zion. You will see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Of course, we have the famous phrase, may you see your children’s children, and have grandchildren. This short psalm ends with the Shalom peace to all Israel. So we have Yahweh’s prosperity, peace in Israel, prosperity in Jerusalem, and a long life to see your grandchildren live.