Which was a neighbor? (Lk 10:36-10:36)

“Which of these three,

Do you think,

Was a neighbor

To the man

Who fell

Among the robbers?”

 

τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναι τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς;

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus asked the obvious question.  Which one of these three people (τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν) did he think was a neighbor to this man (πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναιn) who fell among the robbers (τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς)?  Like most of the parables of Jesus, the moral is usually very clear.  This was no exception.  Jesus then asked this lawyer who had asked the question about who his neighbor was, what did he think?  Who did the neighborly thing?  Which one of these 3 individuals, the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan did the right thing?  A neighbor is not a physical presence but an active deed done to someone in need.  Are you a good neighbor?

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The Samaritan (Lk 10:33-10:33)

“But a Samaritan,

While traveling,

Came near him.

When he saw him,

He was moved

With pity.”

 

Σαμαρείτης δέ τις ὁδεύων ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν καὶ ἰδὼν ἐσπλαγχνίσθη,

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus said that a Samaritan (Σαμαρείτης), while traveling (δέ τις ὁδεύων), came near to this wounded man (ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν).  When he saw him (καὶ ἰδὼν), he was moved with pity (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη).  Who then is this Samaritan?  Samaritans lived in Samaria, between Judea and Galilee.  This was the territory that had been formerly assigned to Ephraim and Manasseh.  The Samaritans were part of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel with the city of Samaria as their capital city, after the death of Solomon.  There was an example of kindness by the northern tribes in 2 Chronicles, chapter 28:12-15, but that was long before the bitterness set in between Samaria and Judea.  Over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee.  They became bitter enemies with the Jews of Judea in particular.  Luke showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers.  Luke had uniquely mentioned that Jesus had gone into some Samaritan villages in chapter 9:52-56.  It might even be questioned, why would this Samaritan be on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem?  Nevertheless, this unnamed Samaritan like the unnamed priest and Levite, came on the scene.  Unlike the other two prominent Jewish religious leaders, this Samaritan was moved with pity.  Samaritans were the underclass among the Judeans.  They worshiped a false Jewish God with their Samaritan Torah at the destroyed Mount Gerizim.  They were not at the top of Jewish society, quite the opposite.  Can someone at the bottom of a society do anything good?