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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 10 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Jesus answering. Jesus answered him in a very different manner from what he expected. By one of the most tender and affecting narratives to be found anywhere, he made the lawyer his own judge in the case, and constrained him to admit what at first he would probably have denied. He compelled him to acknowledge that a Samaritan—of a race most hated of all people by the Jews—had shown the kindness of a neighbour, while a priest and a Levite had denied it to their own countrymen.

From Jerusalem to Jericho. Jericho was situated about 15 miles to the north-east of Jerusalem, and about 8 west of the river Jordan. See Barnes "Mt 20:29".

 

Fell among thieves. Fell among robbers. The word thieves means those who merely take property. These were highwaymen, and not merely took the property, but endangered the life. They were robbers. From Jerusalem to Jericho the country was rocky and mountainous, and in some parts scarcely inhabited. It afforded, therefore, among the rocks and fastnesses, a convenient place for highwaymen. This was also a very frequented road. Jericho was a large place, and there was much travelling to Jerusalem. At this time, also, Judea abounded with robbers. Josephus says that at one time Herod the Great dismissed forty thousand men who had been employed in building the temple, a large part of whom became highwaymen (Josephus' Antiquities, xv. 7). The following remarks of Professor Hackett, who visited Palestine in 1852, will furnish a good illustration of the scene of this parable. It is remarkable that a parable uttered more than eighteen hundred years ago might still be appropriately located in this region. Professor Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 215, 216) says of this region:

"It is famous at the present day as the haunt of thieves

and robbers. No part of the traveller's journey is so

dangerous as the expedition to Jericho and the Dead Sea.

The Oriental pilgrims who repair to the Jordan have the

protection of an escort of Turkish soldiers; and others

who would make the same journey must either go in company

with them, or provide for their safety by procuring a

special guard. I was so fortunate as to be able to

accompany the great caravan at the time of the annual

pilgrimage. Yet, in spite of every precaution, hardly

a season passes in which some luckless wayfarer is not

killed or robbed in 'going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.'

The place derives its hostile character from its terrible

wildness and desolation. If we might conceive of the

ocean as being suddenly congealed and petrified when its

waves are tossed mountain high, and dashing in wild

confusion against each other, we should then have some

idea of the aspect of the desert in which the Saviour

has placed so truthfully the parable of the good Samaritan.

The ravines, the almost inaccessible cliffs, the caverns,

furnish admirable lurking-places for robbers. They can

rush forth unexpectedly upon their victims, and escape

as soon almost beyond the possibility of pursuit.

 

Every circumstance in this parable, therefore, was full

of significance to those who heard it. The Saviour

delivered it near Bethany, on the border of the

frightful desert, Lu 10:25,38. Jericho was a

sacerdotal city. The passing of priests and Levites

between that place and Jerusalem was an everyday

occurrence. The idea of a caravanserai or 'inn' on the

way was not invented, probably, for the sake of the

allegory, but borrowed from the landscape. There are

the ruins now of such a shelter for the benighted or

unfortunate on one of the heights which overlook the

infested road. Thus it is that the instructions of our

Lord derive often the form and much of their

pertinence from the accidental connections of time

and place."

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