A man has two sons, his pride and honor, his treasure. The younger lad was hungry for the taste of adventure, tired of working for his father, and demanded his portion of his inheritance so that he may go out into the world and experience life while he was carefree and still in his prime. The father is saddened, but does not chastise him, or lecture him, nor does he warn him of the ways of the world. He gives him what the boy has requested, as if to say, "Go now and enjoy yourself." The story speaks of wastefulness and misery that befalls the youngster, having nowhere to go, no money left, and nothing to eat. Destitution takes him to seek employment, not as a keeper of sheep, which would have been more honorable than what he became: a keeper of swine. His meals consist of mere leftovers from the animals' feedings. Such misfortune leads him to anguish, inner turmoil, and he sets out for home. This is not sincere repentance at first, not until he reaches his father, who has been waiting diligently for his young son's return. Despite his son's wretched, unkempt appearance, the father immediately recognizes him from this great distance, as though he had been waiting from morning to evening for his son's return. The lad confesses in pure sentiment to his father, who is so overjoyed and overwhelmed that he rejoices and orders a celebratory feast for the occasion.
This drama resurges in the final episode: the older son with whom the father has his difficulties.11 And He said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.