Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 15:12

The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' So he divided his wealth between them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   God Continued...;   Inheritance;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Joy;   Penitent;   Prodigal Son;   Readings, Select;   Salvation;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Business Life;   Children;   Goods;   Home;   Indulgence, Parental;   Inheritance;   Parental;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Prodigal Son;   Religion;   Son;   Stories for Children;   The Topic Concordance - Losing and Things Lost;   Salvation;   Seeking;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;   Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Inheritance;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Grace;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Gospel;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Parable;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Heir;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Harmony of the Gospels;   Imagery;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Luke, Gospel of;   Mammon;   Parables;   Prodigal Son;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Life;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brotherhood (2);   Children of God;   Father, Fatherhood;   Gospel (2);   Justice (2);   Living (2);   Love (2);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Man (2);   Parable;   Portion ;   Redemption (2);   Religious Experience;   Repentance (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Son, Sonship;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Heritage;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Goods;   Heir;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for November 6;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Give me the portion of goods - It may seem strange that such a demand should be made, and that the parent should have acceded to it, when he knew that it was to minister to his debauches that his profligate son made the demand here specified. But the matter will appear plain, when it is considered, that it has been an immemorial custom in the east for sons to demand and receive their portion of the inheritance during their father's lifetime; and the parent, however aware of the dissipated inclinations of the child, could not legally refuse to comply with the application. It appears indeed that the spirit of this law was to provide for the child in case of ill treatment by the father: yet the demand must first be acceded to, before the matter could be legally inquired into; and then, "if it was found that the father was irreproachable in his character, and had given no just cause for the son to separate from him, in that case, the civil magistrate fined the son in two hundred puns of cowries." See Code of Gentoo laws, pr. disc. p. 56; see also do. chap. 2: sec. 9, p. 81, 82; xxi. sec. 10, p. 301.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the younger of them said - By this younger son we are to understand the publicans and sinners to be represented. By the older, the Pharisees and scribes.

Give me the portion - The part.

Of goods - Of property.

That falleth to me - That is properly my share. There is no impropriety in supposing that he was of age; and, as he chose to leave his father‘s house, it was proper that his father should, if he chose, give him the part of the estate which would be his.

He divided unto them his living - His property, or “means” of living. The division of property among the Jews gave the older son twice as much as the younger. In this case it seems the younger son received only money or movable property, and the older chose to remain with his father and dwell on the paternal estate. The lands and fixed property remained in their possession. Among the ancient Romans and Syrophoenicians, it was customary, when a son came to the years of maturity, if he demanded his part of the inheritance, for the father to give it to him. This the son might claim by law. It is possible that such a custom may have prevailed among the Jews, and that our Saviour refers to some such demand made by the young man.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the younger of them said to his father,.... God's chosen ones among the publicans and sinners, are fitly signified by the younger son, since man, as a sinner, is younger than man as righteous; and since there are instances of God's choice of the younger, before the elder, as Jacob before Esau, &c. and the characters and conduct of young men agree with God's elect, in a state of nature; who are imprudent and ignorant, without any knowledge of divine and spiritual things, and of themselves, their state and condition, and of Christ, and salvation by him; and yet are conceited of themselves, and fancy themselves very wise and knowing, and capable of acting for themselves, independent, and without any assistance or advice; do not care to be under restraints, withdraw from all yokes, and break all bands asunder; and so become children of disobedience, prone to every vice, and servants and slaves to every lust; by which they are deceived, and in which they take a great deal of imaginary pleasure; and are often envious and spiteful, and live in malice, hateful, and hating one another: the request made by this younger son, is "to his Father"; to God, who was his Father by creation, by providential care, and by national adoption, and by special grace; though as yet he knew it not, nor could he call him so in faith: many call God Father, who should not, and many that should, do not: the request follows;

father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me: this portion may be considered, as internal or external; as internal, and such who think the Gentiles are meant by the younger son understand it of the light of nature, and of natural gifts and talents. The ancients generally interpret it, of man's free will: it may intend natural knowledge in general, to which there is in man a natural desire, and in which he is self-sufficient: or rather as external, such as the outward blessings of food, raiment, health, &c. the honours, pleasures, and riches of the world: the good things of this world belonged to men by right of creation, and according the laws and dues of it, but have been all forfeited by the sin of man; and yet this is a portion, which in the apprehension of men, of right belongs to them; and which suits their nature, which is carnal and worldly:

and he divided unto them his living; natural gifts, external privileges, and worldly good things; which of all men in the earth, the Jewish nation shared; see Psalm 115:16.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-15.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the younger — as the more thoughtless.

said, etc. — weary of restraint, panting for independence, unable longer to abide the check of a father‘s eye. This is man impatient of divine control, desiring to be independent of God, seeking to be his own master; that “sin of sins, in which all subsequent sins are included as in their germ, for they are but the unfolding of this one” [Trench].

he divided, etc. — Thus “God, when His service no longer appears a perfect freedom, and man promises himself something far better elsewhere, allows him to make the trial; and he shall discover, if need be by saddest proof, that to depart from Him is not to throw off the yoke, but to exchange a light yoke for a heavy one, and one gracious Master for a thousand imperious tyrants and lords” [Trench].

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The portion (το μεροςto meros). 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 (ο δε διειλενho de dieilen). The second aorist active indicative of διαιρεωdiaireō 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 (της ουσιαςtēs ousias), “the living” (τον βιονton bion) as in Mark 12:44, not “life” as in Luke 8:14.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The portion

According to the Jewish law of inheritance, if there were but two sons, the elder would receive two portions, the younger the third of all movable property. A man might, during his lifetime, dispose of all his property by gift as he chose. If the share of younger children was to be diminished by gift or taken away, the disposition must be made by a person presumably near death. No one in good health could diminish, except by gift, the legal portion of a younger son. The younger son thus was entitled by law to his share, though he had no right to claim it during his father's lifetime. The request must be regarded as asking a favor (Edersheim).

Unto them

Even to the elder, who did not ask it.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-15.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Give me the part of goods that falleth to me — See the root of all sin! A desire of disposing of ourselves; of independency on God!

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-15.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

and the younger of them1 said to his father, Father, give me the portion of [thy] substance that falleth to me2. And he divided unto them his living3.

  1. And the younger of them. The more childish and easily deceived.

  2. Said to his father, Father, give me the portion of [thy] substance that falleth to me. Since the elder brother received a double portion, the younger brother's part would be only one-third of the property (Deuteronomy 21:17).

  3. And he divided unto them his living. Abraham so divided his estate in his lifetime (Genesis 25:1-6); but the custom does not appear to have been general among the Jews. God, however, gives gifts and talents to us all, so the parable fits the facts of life (Psalms 145:9; Matthew 5:45

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-15.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 12. He divided unto them his living] Gr. τον βιον, his life. Our life is called the "life of our hands," Isaiah 57:10, because it is upheld by the labour of our hands.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 15:12. And the younger of them, &c.— Our Lord with great propriety makes use of the youngest son as an example of a depraved mind, youth being naturally impotent in self-government, not only through natural depravity, but through want of experience; hurried away by the impetuosity of the passions; not only deaf, but even too often rude, to the interpositions of advice, and too frequently totally abandoned to the pleasures of sense. It had been usual, in commercial states, to assign some portion to children when of age; and as the proportion was generally settled by law, the propriety of this circumstance, and of the expression, Give me that portion which falls to me, will appear in a strong and beautiful light. It seems to me, that no significant sense can be put upon the last circumstance mentioned in this verse, as referring to the dispensations of God to his creatures: it is one of those ornamental circumstances, which are frequently found in parables, and which it would be frivolous to endeavour to accommodate too scrupulously to the general design.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-15.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

12.] τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος is classical Greek— ἀπολαχόντες τῶν κτημάτων τὸ ἐπιβάλλον, Herod. iv. 115.

Such a request as this is shewn by Orientalists to have been known in the East, though not among the Jews.

βίος = οὐσία:—no distinction is implied, as some (Paulus, Stier) have thought. The first-born had two-thirds of the property, see Deuteronomy 21:17. The father, as implied in the parable, reserves to himself the power during his life over the portion of the first-born, see Luke 15:31.

The parable sets before us very strikingly the permission of free will to man.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-15.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 15:12. νεώτερος) ἕτερος) is the expression in Matthew 21:30. There is hereby signified a pair of sons different in character.— τὸ ἐπιβάλλον) So τοῦ καρποῦ τοῦ ἐπιβάλλοντός μοι λαβεῖν, 1 Maccabees 10:29 (30).— μέρος, the portion) Each man receives his portion from God.— αὐτοῖς, to them) even to his elder son [as well as to the younger], though he was not asking for it; not giving up to him, however, as yet, the full actual enjoyment,(161) as appears from Luke 15:31.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-15.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 15:11"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 15:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-15.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

дай мне следующую мне часть имения Потрясающее требование, равносильное заявлению, что он бы хотел, чтобы его отец умер. У него не было права ни на какое наследство, поскольку его отец все еще жил. Однако отец милостиво исполнил его просьбу, отдавая ему всю предназначенную ему долю, которая, вероятно, составляла третью часть всего имения, так как старшему брату по праву первородства (Втор. 21:17) полагалась двойная доля. Этот поступок характеризует тех грешников, связанных родством с Богом Отцом через творение, которые отказываются от всяких отношений с Ним и теряют свои преимущества, выбирая вместо этого жизнь греховного потакания своим желаниям.

(15:11, 12) Притча о блудном сыне – самая знакомая и самая любимая из всех притч Христа. Она одна из самых длинных и самых подробных притчей. И, в отличие от большинства притчей, в ней содержится не одно наставление. Блудный сын является примером глубинного покаяния. Старший брат характеризует греховность самоправедности, предубеждения и безразличия фарисеев к кающемуся грешнику. А образ отца представляет Бога, жаждущего прощать и страстно желающего возвращения грешника. Основной характерной чертой притчи, как и двух других притчей этой главы, является радость Бога и торжество, наполняющее небеса при покаянии грешника.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-15.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The younger; he represents openly wicked persons, such as the "publicans and sinners"; as the elder son does the Pharisees, "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." His living; literally, the living, that is, the estate in his hands. He paid over to the younger son his portion, but reserved in his own hands the elder son’s portion. Wicked men wish to have their concerns in their own hands. They would rather choose and direct their course, than have God do it for them. This is setting up their wisdom and goodness above his, and will end in sad disappointment.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of your substance which falls to me.’ And he divided to them his living.”

The younger son come to his father with the request that he might have his share of what he would in the future inherit. In a case where there were two sons this would normally be one third of the whole (the elder brother who would take over responsibility for dependants would receive a double portion), although in a situation like this where it was received early it may have been a lesser proportion (for the whole see Deuteronomy 21:17). Such an apportioning of an inheritance before death did happen regularly, and the principle behind it was that the sons would then have financial responsibility towards their father who retained a right to receive the income, and utilise the capital. But that a son would actually request it while his father was in good health would be an unusual case, and is probably intended to emphasise the waywardness of the son and the goodheartedness of the father. There was probably no thought at this stage of the younger son leaving home, except for business reasons, nor of him having the capital simply to do what he liked with. The younger son was probably only in his late teens, for he was unmarried, and had seemingly no thoughts of marriage.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-15.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.The younger—According to a narrower view of genealogy the Jew is the older, and the Gentile the younger. But extending our view further back, we shall find that Abraham was the first Jew and that Adam was Gentile. Thence tracing the genealogy of Jesus back, according to Luke, he was the son of man, (and the word Adam in the Hebrew signifies man,) and not merely the son of Abraham.

Younger of them—As being least experienced and wise.

His living—Rather, the substance, the property. It is said by some that both sons had by Jewish law the right to make this demand; and a law of this nature is quoted as existing among the Hindoos. It is difficult to suppose that such a law would exist anywhere. But it is plain, at any rate, that in this case, though the parent divided the estate to them, yet he gave the half but to the younger; for the elder complains that he had not been allowed to own a kid; while the father pacifies him by the assurance that the still existing mine is in promise, at least, a thine.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-15.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 15:12. In that which is another’s. Earthly wealth is held in trust; the true riches are described as your own. Wealth can never form a part of our being, is never permanently in our possession; we can have the use of it, but in no true sense own it. But that which God gives to us as true riches will form a part of our eternal being, is our inalienable possession. Because this is so much higher, we are urged to be faithful in the use of worldly wealth, believing that it is not ours, but entrusted to us to test our fidelity.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-15.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 15:12. , the younger, with a certain fitness made to play the foolish part. The position of an elder son presents more motives to steadiness.— , the portion falling or belonging to, the verb occurs in this sense in late authors (here only in N.T.). The portion of the younger when there were two sons would be one third, the right of the first-born being two portions (Deuteronomy 21:17).— : the father complies, not as bound, but he must do it in the parable that the story may go on.— = , as in Mark 12:44, Luke 8:43.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-15.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

is ver probable, from this verse, that the children of the family, when come of age, could demand of their parents the share of property which would fall to their lot. For these parables suppose the ordinary practices of the country, and are founded on what was customarily done. Grotius thinks this was the common law among the Phœnicians. --- The Gentiles, prefigured by the prodigal son, received from their father, (the Almighty,) free-will, reason, mind, health, natural knowledge, and the goods which are common to mankind, all which they dissipated and abused. Sinners who have besides received the gift of faith and sanctification, by baptism, and who have profaned the holiness of their state, by crimes, are more express figures of the bad conduct of this son. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-15.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

give me. Contrast "make me" (Luke 15:19).

the portion. According to Jewish law, in the case of two sons the elder took two-thirds, and the younger one-third of movable property, at the father"s death.

goods = movable property. Greek. ousia. Only here and Luke 15:13.

falleth to me. This is the technical term in the Papyri, in such cases. See Deissmann"s Light, &c., p. 152, and Bib. Stud., p. 230.

them. Including the elder, who did not ask it.

living. Greek. bios, life. App-170. Put by Figure of speech Metonomy (of Effect), App-6, for his means or property which supported his life.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

And the younger of them - as the more thoughtless, said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me - weary of restraint, punting for independence, unable longer to abide the check of a father's eye. This is man, impatient of divine control, desiring to be independent of God, seeking to be his own master-that sin of sins, as Trench well says, in which all subsequent sins are included as in their germ, because they are but the unfolding of this one.

And he divided unto them his living. Thus God, to use the words of the same penetrating and accurate expositor of the parables, when His service no longer appears a perfect freedom, and man promises himself something far better elsewhere, allows him to make the trial; and he shall discover, if need be by saddest proof, that to depart from Him is not to off the yoke, but only to exchange a light yoke for a heavy one, and one gracious Master for a thousand imperious tyrants and lords.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) The younger of them said to his father.—In its bearing on the individual life, the younger son represents the temper that is eager for independence, self-asserting, energetic; the elder that which is contemplative, devout, ceremonial, quiescent. As the latter pre-eminently characterises, as noticed above, the sons of Shem as distinguished from those of Japheth, the Semitic as distinct from the Aryan race, the younger son represents primarily the Jew who has yielded to non-Jewish tendencies; and on the wider scale of interpretation, stands for the whole Gentile world. The contrast between the Esau and Jacob types of character is reproduced (Genesis 25:27), only here the elder brother answers to Jacob and the younger to Esau, the variation indicating that the former is with all its short-comings the natural heir of the double portion of the first-born in the spiritual inheritance of God’s kingdom. Israel remains within comparatively narrow limits of thought and habitation. Japheth is “enlarged” (Genesis 9:27) and goes forth with all his marvellous gifts of speech and thought, and fancy and invention.

Divided unto them his living.—In the normal scale of distribution, the elder son would have as his portion two-thirds of the personal, and possibly also of the real, property, the younger the remainder. In the framework of the story, the father and the elder son become, as it were, tenants in common (Luke 15:31), the former still retaining the general direction of affairs. The state of things so described represents roughly the life of Israel under its theocracy, acknowledging God as its true King and Father.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
give
Deuteronomy 21:16,17; Psalms 16:5,6; 17:14
And he
Mark 12:44
Reciprocal: Exodus 17:2 - Give us;  Proverbs 19:26 - wasteth;  Proverbs 28:19 - but;  Ecclesiastes 11:9 - Rejoice;  Luke 15:25 - his;  Luke 21:4 - all

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-15.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 15:12.And the younger of them said to his father. The parable opens by describing a mark of wicked arrogance in the youth, which appears in his being desirous to leave his father, and in thinking that he cannot be right without being permitted to indulge in debauchery, free from his father’s control. There is also ingratitude in leaving the old man, (524) and not only withholding the performance of the duties which be owed to him, but crippling and diminishing the wealth of his house. (525) This is at length followed by wasteful luxury and wicked extravagance, by which he squanders all that he had. (526) After so many offenses he deserved to find his father implacable. (527)

Under this image our Lord unquestionably depicts to us the boundless goodness and inestimable forbearance of God, that no crimes, however aggravated, may deter us from the hope of obtaining pardon, There would be some foundation for the analogy, if we were to say that this foolish and insolent youth resembles those persons who, enjoying at the hand of God a great abundance of good things, are moved by a blind and mad ambition to be separated from Him, that they may enjoy perfect freedom; as if it were not more desirable than all the kingdoms of the world to live under the fatherly care and government of God. But as I am afraid that this allusion may be thought overstrained, I shall satisfy myself with the literal meaning; not that I disapprove of the opinion, that under this figure is reproved the madness of those who imagine that it will be advantageous for them to have something of their own, and to be rich apart from the heavenly Father; but that I now confine myself within the limits of a Commentator. (528)

Christ here describes what usually happens with young men, when they are carried away by their natural disposition. Destitute of sound judgment, and maddened by passion, they are ill fitted for governing themselves, and are not restrained by fear or shame. It is therefore impossible but that they shall abandon themselves to every thing to which their sinful inclination prompts them, and rush on in a disgraceful course, till they are involved in shameful poverty. He afterwards describes the punishment which, in the righteous judgment of God, generally overtakes spendthrifts and prodigals. After having wickedly squandered their means, they are left to pine in hunger, and not having known how to use in moderation an abundant supply of the best bread, they are reduced to eat acorns and husks. In short, they become the companions of swine, and are made to feel that they are unworthy to partake of human food; for it is swinish gluttony (529) to squander wickedly what was given for the support of life. (530) As to the ingenious exposition which some have brought forward, that it is the just punishment of wicked scorn, when those who have rejected delicious bread in the house of our heavenly Father are driven by hunger to eat husks, it is a true and useful doctrine; but in the meantime, we must bear in mind the difference that exists between allegories and the natural meaning. (531)

And was desirous to fill his belly. This means that, in consequence of hunger, he no longer thought of his former luxuries, but greedily devoured husks; for of that kind of food he could not be in want, when he was giving it to the swine There is a well-known saying of Cyrus who, having for a long time suffered hunger during a flight, and having been slightly refreshed by eating coarse black bread, declared that he had never tasted savory bread till now; so the young man who is here mentioned was compelled by necessity to betake himself with appetite to husks The reason is added, because no man gave to him; for the copulative conjunction and ( καὶ) must, in my opinion, signify because, (532) and what is here said does not refer to husks, which he had at hand, but I understand the meaning to be, that no man pitied his poverty; for prodigals who throw away the whole of their property are persons whom no man thinks himself bound to relieve, — nay more, as they have been accustomed to squander every thing, men think that nothing ought to be given to them. (533)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-15.html. 1840-57.