The portion (to mero). The Jewish law alloted one-half as much to the younger son as to the elder, that is to say one-third of the estate ( Deuteronomy 21:17 ) at the death of the father. The father did not have to abdicate in favour of the sons, but "this very human parable here depicts the impatience of home restraints and the optimistic ambition of youth" (Ragg). And he divided (o de dieilen). The second aorist active indicative of diairew, an old and common verb to part in two, cut asunder, divide, but in the N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 12:11 . The elder son got his share also of the "substance" or property or estate (th ousia), "the living" (ton bion) as in Mark 12:44 , not "life" as in Luke 8:14 .