A quick look at the Good Samaritan parable
In the time of Jesus, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for its danger and difficulty, and was known as the “Way of Blood” because “of the blood which is often shed there by robbers.”
Picking up the story after the man had been set upon by the robbers…
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Jesus asked – “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Jesus agreed with the expert on the law that the Samaritan was the neighbor to the injured man… BUT did He say that the others, the ones who passed him by on the other side of the road were bad, wrong, uncaring?
No. The point he was making to do with neighbors.
A word in favor of the priest and the Levite.
Numbers 19: 11 He who touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days NASB
Leviticus 21: 11 adds a bit more detail
nor shall he approach any dead person, nor defile himself even for his father or his mother NASB
According to the account, the Samaritan was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, but it does not say whether the priest or the Levite were going to, or coming from, Jerusalem.
Whichever it was, does not really matter. Had this naked, or nearly naked, man been dead – and either the priest or the Levite touched the unfortunate victim, the priest or Levite would have been unclean for seven days.
So, to answer the question posed in the title – No, Jesus did not say… that those two were bad, wrong or uncaring.
Jesus’ point was ‘who was the neighbor’ to the injured man.
Perhaps another ‘barb’ to the expert in the law who had questioned Jesus – Jews hated Samaritans. The town of Shechem, where Jesus spoke to the woman was nicknamed Sychar.
“Sychar is only another name for Shechem (“Sychem”). It is suggested, e.g., that it is a nickname applied in contempt by the Jews, being either shikkor, “drunken,” or sheqer, “falsehood.” http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/sychar/
This post has been a short look from a different angle at the parable of the Good Samaritan. At the same time, these are the kinds of attitudes I have had to research and be aware of when writing the Christian, historical fiction series – The Apostle John series.
And that is where I have been since the last post here… preparing book 4 in the series, Keep the Flame, for release.
Release date is 4th October, although it is available for pre-order on Smashwords.
Check it out here – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/663318
There will be one more book in the series.
Hold the Faith recently received a ‘Finalist’ Award in Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.
I look at the images above and am awed and humbled. That is God, I have been blessed to be the tool for writing this ‘fiction based on fact’ series.