But he said to him, Child, you are always with me, and all of my things are yours.
But to be merry and to rejoice was right, for this brother of yours was dead, and lived again; he was lost and hewas found.
Notice what I called this Gemz. What's yours is mine and what's mine is my own. Isn't that how the world is structured? What's in it for me? If there is not a benefit for me, then I am out of here. Jesus, in giving the Pharisees an allusion to the Jacob story, pulls quotes from the story as well as parallels between the stories. Clearly He has used the Jacob story to structure His 'certain man with two sons' story. We know now after looking at a detailed comparison of the stories, that Jesus is just simply retelling the Jacob story, with some twists to the story. There are many allusions or parallels in the story, which makes it easy for Jewish people familiar with the Old Testament to recognize the line, and realize what Jesus is doing. We totally miss the connections because we don't know the Old Testament text well enough. We don't recognize the clues that Jesus is giving us, despite the fact that there are so many parallels in the story and many direct quotes. Still we miss it.
Let me remind you again of the connection and point of this 3 in 1 parable. The opening of this parable was built on the fact that tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear what He had to say. The Pharisees were grumbling because He received such people and ATE with them. Ah, so that is why we have some much action in this parable, in calling neighbours to eat because 'I have found what was lost'. It is very clear that Jesus is directing this story which is a favourite of the Pharisees, because they see themselves as the elder (brother/s) of Israel and more especially the younger brother Jacob, the forerunner of Israel itself. This is their story, the one that tracks the origins of Israel. He is directing the story towards the Pharisees themselves. There are still some shocks and features that we need to take note of.
But before we do that, let's look at a fascinating little element in the Prodigal Parable. Jesus says in verse 31, "Child, you are always with me and all of my things are yours". This is a reversal of what is in the Jacob story. Notice that there is a continuum of thought stretched out through the Jacob story and it is brought to a rather unexpected conclusion in the Prodigal story.
In Genesis 31:43 we have the statement, "Then Laban replied to Jacob, 'These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks—in fact,everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children?'"
In Luke, Jesus reverses the concept from what is recorded in Gen 31:43. "Child, you are always with me, and all of my things are yours." Here, He is speaking to the older son (Pharisees). But these are not the only elements of the story concerning this. Notice Gen 31:32 and 33:9.
In Genesis 31:32 the notion is, "If there is anything of yours I will give it back."
In Genesis 33:9 Laban says, "hold on to what's yours."
So effectively, we have a continuum of thought here:
All you see is mine > what's yours is yours > All that is mine is yours
(Gen 31:43) (Gen 33:9) (Luke 15:31)
This is an interesting allusion. It's a dark one or an obtuse one. It is not a clear or direct link to the reference in Genesis. But it is clearly linked to the thought continuum in the Jacob story none-the-less. This is what the allusions in Midrashic thought are like. They don't have to be full quotes, word for word. They don't have to be full frontal. They can be just an elliptical link like this one. In fact, the "quote" is reversed but when we know it is set in the midst of the Jacob story, then we make the link ourselves and realize there is something more going on here.
Again I will leave this with you to ponder over. We will draw this together in the conclusions to come. But don't wait for me to do it; do it for yourself. Start to ponder on Scripture at a deeper level. So what are you waiting for? Do it now.
Over and out.
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. Sherly Hotnida
By helping others you're paving the way for God to 'supply all your needs', and His shovel is much bigger than yours! Bob Gass
Seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost, and all these other 'things' will be added tous. Things and people! Ian
Learn to get the balance right between things and people – love people, use things. Better yet, use things to love people. Ian