The Meaning of Luke 15:29 Explained

Luke 15:29

KJV: And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

YLT: and he answering said to the father, Lo, so many years I do serve thee, and never thy command did I transgress, and to me thou didst never give a kid, that with my friends I might make merry;

Darby: But he answering said to his father, Behold, so many years I serve thee, and never have I transgressed a commandment of thine; and to me hast thou never given a kid that I might make merry with my friends:

ASV: But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, and I never transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

What does Luke 15:29 Mean?

Context Summary

Luke 15:25-32 - The Son Who Never Came To His Father
Notice the difference between the Father's care for his elder son and the son's own estimate of his position, and you will see how easily you may miss the holy possibilities of your own life, if you allow yourself to be blinded by jealousy!
Ever with me; life was meant to be irradiated and blessed by the constant sense of God's nearness. We were meant to live in God and God in us. All that I have is thine; such is our wealthy condition, in the purpose of God, that all His divine resources, stored in Jesus, await the appropriation of our faith.
But if we fail to recognize our brother in the penitent thy son; if we shut ourselves out of the joy, because of some fancied slight, or of pharisaic pride, we miss our own truest blessedness. But God entreats us to come into it.
For Review Questions, see the e-Sword Book Comments. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 15

1  The parable of the lost sheep;
8  of the piece of silver;
11  of the prodigal son

Greek Commentary for Luke 15:29

Do I serve thee [δουλευω σοι]
Progressive present tense of this old verb from δουλος — doulos (slave) which the elder son uses to picture his virtual slavery in staying at home and perhaps with longings to follow the younger son (Robertson, Grammar, p. 879). [source]
Transgressed [παρηλτον]
Second aorist active indicative of παρερχομαι — parerchomai to pass by. Not even once (aorist) in contrast with so many years of service (linear present).A kid (εριπον — eriphon). Some MSS. have εριπιον — eriphion diminutive, a little kid. So margin of Westcott and Hort. B has it also in Matthew 25:32, the only other N.T. passage where the word occurs.That I might make merry Final clause, first aorist passive subjunctive of the same verb used in Luke 15:23, Luke 15:25. [source]
A kid [εριπον]
Some MSS. have εριπιον — eriphion diminutive, a little kid. So margin of Westcott and Hort. B has it also in Matthew 25:32, the only other N.T. passage where the word occurs. [source]
That I might make merry [ινα ευπραντω]
Final clause, first aorist passive subjunctive of the same verb used in Luke 15:23, Luke 15:25. [source]
Kid [ἔριφον]
Some read the diminutive, ἐρίφιον , “a little kid.” In any event a contrast is intended between the kid and the fatted calf. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 15:29

Matthew 25:32 The sheep from the goats [The sheep from the goats (or kids , so Rev. in margin)]
“The bald division of men into sheep and goats is, in one sense, so easy as not to be worth performing; and in another sense it is so hard as only to be possible for something with supernatural insight” (John Morley, “Voltaire”). Goats are an appropriate figure, because the goat was regarded as a comparatively worthless animal. Hence the point of the elder son's complaint in the parable of the Prodigal: Not so much as a kid (Luke 15:29). The diminutive ( ἐρίφια ) expresses contempt. [source]
Matthew 25:32 Separate them [αὐτοὺς]
Masculine, while the word nations is neuter. Nations are regarded as gathered collectively; but in contemplating the act of separation the Lord regards the individuals. The sheep from the goats (or kids, so Rev. in margin)“The bald division of men into sheep and goats is, in one sense, so easy as not to be worth performing; and in another sense it is so hard as only to be possible for something with supernatural insight” (John Morley, “Voltaire”). Goats are an appropriate figure, because the goat was regarded as a comparatively worthless animal. Hence the point of the elder son's complaint in the parable of the Prodigal: Not so much as a kid (Luke 15:29). The diminutive ( ἐρίφια ) expresses contempt. [source]
Matthew 25:32 All the nations [πάντα τὰ ἔθνη]
The whole human race; though the word is generally employed in the New Testament to denote Gentiles as distinguished from Jews.Separate them ( αὐτοὺς )Masculine, while the word nations is neuter. Nations are regarded as gathered collectively; but in contemplating the act of separation the Lord regards the individuals. The sheep from the goats (or kids, so Rev. in margin)“The bald division of men into sheep and goats is, in one sense, so easy as not to be worth performing; and in another sense it is so hard as only to be possible for something with supernatural insight” (John Morley, “Voltaire”). Goats are an appropriate figure, because the goat was regarded as a comparatively worthless animal. Hence the point of the elder son's complaint in the parable of the Prodigal: Not so much as a kid (Luke 15:29). The diminutive ( ἐρίφια ) expresses contempt. [source]
Luke 16:19 Fine linen [βύσσον]
ByssusA yellowish flax, and the linen made from it. Herodotus says it was used for enveloping mummies (ii., 86), a statement confirmed by microscopic examinations. He also speaks of it as a bandage for a wound (vii., 181). It is the word used by the Septuagint for linen (Luke 15:23, Luke 15:24, Luke 15:29, Luke 15:32. Wyc., he ate, each day, shiningly. [source]
John 8:35 Abideth not in the house forever []
A slave has no permanent place in the house. He may be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Compare Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. House. See Hebrews 3:6; John 14:2. The elder son in the parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:29), denies his sonship by the words, “These many years do I serve thee ( δουλεύω ).” [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 15:29 mean?

- And answering he said to [the] father of him Behold so many years I serve you and never a commandment of you I disobeyed to me did you give a young goat that with the friends of me I might make merry
δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρὶ ‹αὐτοῦ› Ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον ἐμοὶ ἔδωκας ἔριφον ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ

  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀποκριθεὶς  answering 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Passive, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀποκρίνομαι  
Sense: to give an answer to a question proposed, to answer.
εἶπεν  he  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
πατρὶ  [the]  father 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: προπάτωρ 
Sense: generator or male ancestor.
‹αὐτοῦ›  of  him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
Ἰδοὺ  Behold 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: ἰδού  
Sense: behold, see, lo.
τοσαῦτα  so  many 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: τοσοῦτος  
Sense: of quantity: so great, so many.
ἔτη  years 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἔτος  
Sense: year.
δουλεύω  I  serve 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: δουλεύω  
Sense: to be a slave, serve, do service.
οὐδέποτε  never 
Parse: Adverb
Root: οὐδέποτε  
Sense: never.
ἐντολήν  a  commandment 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἐντολή  
Sense: an order, command, charge, precept, injunction.
σου  of  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Singular
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
παρῆλθον  I  disobeyed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: παρέρχομαι  
Sense: to go past, pass by.
ἐμοὶ  to  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἔδωκας  did  you  give 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
ἔριφον  a  young  goat 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: αἴξ 
Sense: a kid, a young goat.
ἵνα  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
φίλων  friends 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: φίλος  
Sense: friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well.
μου  of  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
εὐφρανθῶ  I  might  make  merry 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Passive, 1st Person Singular
Root: εὐφραίνω  
Sense: to gladden, make joyful.