In Fuyug, “famine” is expressed as “drought.”

parable of the prodigal son (image)

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complete verse (Luke 15:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 15:14:

  • Noongar: “He used all the money. Then no rain fell on the land and the land grew no food. He had nothing, without money and without food. ” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “When his money was all gone, there was famine in that town, to the point that his life was pitiful.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When he had spent all, that country suddenly had a great famine. Then he was in great need.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then his money ran out. And there happened a very bitter famine in that land, and as for him, he had no way to get what he needed.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When his money was used-up, an extreme famine arrived in the country where he was, and he was left-with-nothing (lit. shaved).” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Just as he had used it up in wasting it, a severe famine came to that place. Well, what else but he was scrounging around (lit. reaching through holes in the floor) in his poverty/severe-hardship.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

Translation commentary on Luke 15:14


dapanēsantos de autou panta ‘but when he had spent it all.’ panta points back to ousian in v. 13.

dapanaō ‘to spend,’ a neutral term (cf. dapanē in 14.28).

egeneto limos ischura kata tēn chōran ekeinēn ‘there arose a severe famine throughout that country.’

ischuros lit. ‘strong,’ here figuratively, ‘severe.’

kai autos ērxato hustereisthai ‘and he began to be in want.’ autos is not emphatic but resumes the subject of dieskorpisen (v. 13). For archomai with infinitive cf. on 4.21.

hustereomai (also 22.35) ‘to be in want,’ ‘to be needy,’ with following genitive, ‘to lack,’ ‘to be in need of.’


When he had spent everything, or, ‘all that he possessed.’ To spend, or, ‘to use-up/finish’ (Bahasa Indonesia, similarly Sranan Tongo, lit. ‘to eat’).

A great famine arose, cf. “there came a great famine” in 4.25.

And he began to be in want, i.e. to lack the things that he needed to live, especially food, cf. ‘then he had nothing’ (Ekari), “and he faced starvation” (The Four Gospels – a New Translation).

Quoted with permission from Reiling, J. and Swellengrebel, J.L. A Handbook on the Gospel of Luke. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1971. For this and other handbooks for translators see here . Make sure to also consult the Handbook on the Gospel of Mark for parallel or similar verses.