Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it.

If you’re wondering why there are so few new reviews here, this is what I’m currently writing about. If you have good suggestions as to what books to read, I’m always open for further suggestions. It’s the tale of the Prodigal Son which you can find in Luke 15:11-32, and it qualifies for my “poem of the day” tag, because it’s the King James Bible version, which is sublime as always. There is really no other text like the King James Bible. Get a copy, they are cheap and ubiquitous. Or use a link like this. Trust me. Read this as poetry. It’s deeply, thoroughly astonishing.

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.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 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:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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3 thoughts on “Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it.

  1. Elizabeth Bishop’s poem The Prodigal took me to this story. Still horribly ignorant of many many texts within The Bible

  2. Nabeel, me, too. This is for a paper on Derek Walcott’s excellent 2004 long poem “The Prodigal” which I have to give in 2 weeks, but I had been reading/researching this story before, of course, for my Bishop/Lowell/Berryman PhD.

    As I said, I recommend reading the King James Version of the Bible. You need not read it from start to finish, but still. Great, great writing.

  3. Good luck with the paper. !

    N

    PS: Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul had some kind of a very public fight. I remember reading parts of a funny poem that Walcott wrote satirizing Naipaul’s writing style.

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