Part 1 - The Prodigal Son
And Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them."
Dr. Kenneth Bailey, who lived and taught in the Middle East for more than 40 years, has never found an example in the past or present of a son requesting and receiving inheritance prior to his father's death. For Middle Easterners, the son's actions communicate to the father that he wishes his father were dead.
In response to such a request, Middle Easterners would expect a father to explode with anger, slapping the son in the face with an open backhand. Yet in the parable, the father unexpectedly grants his son's request. The text says that he divided his living. Bailey points out, living comes from the Greek word bios which means life. He indicates that the text should read, "And he divided his life between his sons," which more accurately captures the depth of the father's pain.Part 2 - Prodigal Returns