Gospel of Luke Chapter 10:25-37 Antique Commentary Quotes

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
25. a certain lawyer] A teacher of the Mosaic Law—differing little from a scribe, as the man is called in Mar_12:28. The same person may have had both functions—that of preserving and that of expounding the Law.

tempted him] Literally, “putting Him fully to the test” (4:12); but the purpose does not seem to have been so deliberately hostile as in 11:54.
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?] See 18:18, and the answer there also given. It is interesting to compare it with the answer given by St Paul after the Ascension, Act_16:30, Act_16:31.

ICC:Lk Plummer
25-29. The Lawyer’s Questions. This incident forms the introduction to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Comp. 12:13-15, 14:15, 15:1-3. The identification of this lawyer with the one who asked, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Mar_12:28-32; Mat_22:35-40) is precarious, but perhaps ought not to be set aside as impossible. There the question is theological and speculative; here it is practical. Place, introduction, and issue are quite different; and the quotation from the Law which is common to the narratives is here uttered by the lawyer, there by Christ. An identification with the man who had great possessions, and who asked the very same question as the lawyer asks here, although in a very different spirit (Mar_10:17-22; Mat_19:16-22), is impossible, because Lk. himself records that in full (18:18-23). The opening words of this narrative point to an Aramaic source.

25. νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτον. See on 7:30. Excepting Mat_22:35, which is possibly parallel to this, νομικός is used by no other Evangelist. The ἀνέστη implies a situation in which the company were seated. Neither this question nor the one respecting the great commandment was calculated to place Jesus in a difficulty, but rather to test His ability as a teacher: the ἐκπειράζων (see small print on 4:12) does not imply a sinister attempt to entrap Him. This use of τις (vv. 30, 31, 33, 38) is freq. in Lk.

Pulpit Commentary
Vers. 25-37. The question of the lawyer. The Lord answers with the parable of the good Samaritan.

And, behold, a certain lawyer. It seems (as has already been noticed) probable that in St. Luke”s general account of our Lord”s teaching during the six months which immediately preceded the last Passover, certain events which took place at a short visit which Jesus paid to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Dedication are noticed. This question of the lawyer was probably asked on the occasion of this visit, and the little episode connected with the Bethany family of Lazarus took place at the same period. The “lawyer” is sometimes termed “scribe.” There is little difference between these appellations. They were professional teachers and expounders of the Mosaic Law and of the vast complement of traditional sayings which had gathered round it. As the whole life of the people at this period was ruled and guided by the Law, written and traditional, this profession of scribe and lawyer was an important and influential one. Stood up. The Master was evidently teaching in a house or a courtyard of a house. Many were sitting round him. To attract his attention, this lawyer stood up before putting his question to Jesus. This scene, as we have said, took place most likely in or near Jerusalem, not improbably, as the Bethany episode follows, in that suburb of the city, and perhaps in the house of Lazarus. And tempted him; that is to say, tested him and his skill in answering questions out of that Law which then was the rule and guide of daily life in Israel. It is not unlikely that the lawyer hoped to convict the broad and generous Rabbi of some unorthodox statement which would injure his reputation as a Teacher. It was a hard and comprehensive question, this query how eternal life was to be won, and possibly one carefully prepared by the enemies of Jesus.

Vers. 25-37. The parable of the good Samaritan.

The second of the parables peculiar to St. Luke, and one of the loveliest and most suggestive of the matchless pictures of him who “spake as never man spake.” Notice

I ITS OCCASION. Our Lord is in Judaea, not, as we infer from what follows, at a great distance from Bethany. He and his disciples, we may suppose, are resting, when a lawyeri.e. a person who made the Law both oral and written his study proposes a question with which, or its likeness, we meet at six different times in the ministry of Jesus. “Tempting him” is the phrase descriptive of the motive for the question; probably the phrase means nothing more than putting the Rabbi to the proof, submitting a question, the answer to which would, in the lawyer”s view, settle his right to be heard as a Teacher from God. Jesus meets his interviewer as one not far from the kingdom of God, yet in a way which proved that, in regard to the issue presented, mere dialectics were of little avail. “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”, The mind is at once referred to the underlying reality of the Law. “What is written therein? thou who dost profess to know, how readest thou? That which thou hast read, that which thou dost find there the love, in its two great aspects, upward and outward that is the eternal life.” Ah! this is not quite according to the jurist”s expectation. “He came to catechize Christ that he might know him, but Christ will catechize him, and make him know himself.” Seeking to parry the thrust, there comes forth the next question (ver. 29), “Who is my neighbor?” This question is the occasion of the parable. Note, before passing, the clause, “willing to justify himself.” The true heart casts itself on the Lord, Lord, save, help! lighten my darkness!” The proud heart wills some self-justification, and, thus willing, produces some excuse, some word by which to turn aside the arrow of conviction.

II THE SCENE AND THE PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.

1. The scene. The wild road, proverbial for deeds of blood, which Jesus and the disciples had just traversed.

2. The persons. The traveler, who had been attacked by the Bedouins, had fallen among them, and been spoiled, mutilated, left half dead. The priest, coming that way by chance, or rather “by a coincidence;” it was natural that he should be there, since Jericho was a station of the priests. When the priest saw the half-dead man, afraid of any defilement, “he passed by on the other side.” Next, the Levite. Observe, “he came and looked on him,” with the life ebbing away, and he too moved to the other side. And then, finally, the Samaritan.

(1) Look at him in contrast with the other two. Of them the kindness might have been expected. The traveler, we may suppose, is their co-religionist. They, at least, are fresh from the sanctuary from the reading of Moses and the prophets. They hide themselves from their own flesh. The desire is to get home, and they pass by. The one not expected is “he who shows mercy.” Is it not often so? Recall the word used concerning the Roman centurion, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

(2) Who is the Samaritan? Priest and Levite denied him a share in the kingdom. He was a heretic, a descendant of the half-heathen stock, “the men from Babylon and Cuthah, whom the King of Assyria placed in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel.” Cursed in the synagogues, the people were taught that to entertain a Samaritan was to lay up judgments for a house. This is the man. If it had been a Jew approaching a Samaritan, the Jew would have left him in his blood. The Samaritan stops, compassionates, binds the wounds, pours in the oil and the wine, puts him on his own beast, tends him, pays for him, provides for him. Brave, tender-hearted Cuthite that he is! Thus the Lord answers the inquiry, “Who is my neighbor?” Neighbourhood is dissociated from the range marked out by co-religionism; it is constituted by the fact of need.

“Where you can be helpful, to whom you can be helpful, there, in him, is the neighbor.” There are circles within circles. To love them that love us is not wrong; but, if that is all, what do we more than others? Humanity is neighborhood. Do not ask what the man is. Enough that he is there, and in want. Sad, and worse than sad, when the representative of religion is not also the representative of humanity! After all, who is man”s neighbor? Like the traveler in the parable, man has left the heavenly city, and has fallen among thieves. To man the sinner the love of God in Christ is the neighbor. He has showed mercy; he is our Example: “Go, and do likewise.” “Be imitators of God, as dear children; and walk in love as Christ also loved us.

Vers. 25-27. Our love of God.

It is the glory of the gospel that it has made common to the multitude of mankind that which was once dimly seen by a few solitary men; that it has put into the mouth of the little child that which once was stammeringly spoken by a few philosophers; that the truths which once were only found upon the summit by a few hardy climbers are the fruits which are now gathered by thousands as they walk the King”s highway, Here is one of these the duty, binding on us all, of loving God.

1. If to those Greeks who came to see Jesus, (Joh_12:20) he had said that the greatest obligation, or, as they would have put it, the most fitting thing, was for man to love God, they would have been amazed. They would have been prepared to render services and sacrifices to their deities, but to love God with all the heart was beyond their most active imagination.

2. If Christ had uttered this truth to the Roman procurator before whom he appeared, he would have been equally astonished.

3. This truth was far in advance of the Jew, as well as of the Greek and the Roman. It is true that it was to be found in his Law. (see Deu_6:4, 5 10:12 30:20) But it was not in his mind, in his heart, in his cherished convictions, in his life. He “tithed mint and rue and all manner of herbs, but passed over… the love of God”. (Luk_11:42) Even the worthies of Old Testament times were men who were more constantly and profoundly affected by the sentiment of holy fear than fervent love. “I fear God,” rather than “I love God,” was the summary of their religious character. How do we account for this?

I THE JEW HAD REVERENCE ENOUGH FOR GOD TO BE ABLE TO LOVE HIM. The Roman, the Greek, had not. We must respect those whom we love, and the beings they worshipped could not be respected; they were unworthy of regard. Not so he whom the Jew worshipped. He was the Just, the Righteous, the Faithful, the Holy One. The Jew honored, he revered, God enough to be able to love him.

II HE HAD A VERY CONSIDERABLE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD. For we find in Old Testament Scripture passages affirming the kindness, the pity, the patience, the mercy, of God, well worthy to be placed by the side of any we find in the New. (Exo_34:6, 7 Psa_103:8-14 Psa_145:8, 9 Mic_7:18, etc.) It was surely possible for him to let reverence ascend to love.

III TO SOME EXTENT THE JEW DID LOVE GOD. Abraham was “his friend.” David could exclaim, “Oh, love the Lord, all ye his saints!” “I love the Lord, because,” etc. Yet it was not love but fear that was the central, commanding, regulating element of his inner life. This need not surprise us when we consider

IV THE JEW DID NOT KNOW GOD AS REVEALED IN JESUS CHRIST.

1. He had not heard Jesus speaking of the Divine Father hating sin but pitying and yearning over the sinner, determining at his own great cost to redeem him, as we have done.

2. He had not witnessed the Savior”s life as we have followed it; had no seen the Father”s character and spirit reflected in that of the Son, with his tender affection, his inexhaustible patience, his matchless condescension, his generous forgiveness.

3. He did not know the story and the meaning of his death; had not had, like us, a vision of the love of God paying that great price for our redemption, bearing that burden on our behalf, pouring itself out in pain and shame and sorrow for our sake. It is at Calvary, far more than elsewhere, that we learn the blessed secret of the love of God his love for us, our love for him. We learn:

(1) That to love God is the highest heritage of our manhood. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he;” as we think, we are; a man is great or small, noble or ignoble, according as he thinks and feels; the height of our love is the stature of our soul, is the measure of ourselves. God invites us to love him, the Highest One, and by so doing he immeasurably enriches and ennobles us. If he filled our house with gold he would only give us something pleasant to have; but in inviting us to love him he confers on us that which is blessed and noble to be.

(2) That not to have loved God is the most condemning fact of our lives. Do we say,” All these prohibitions have we kept from our youth up: what commandment have we broken?” We reply, “The first and great commandment. Have you loved God with all your heart?” We may well bow our head in shame as we realize the poor and pitiful response we have made to the Fatherly love of God.

(3) That the fact that we can at once return to God, in filial devotion, is the best of all glad tidings. Our return to him begins in humility, goes on in faith, is completed and perfected in love.

(4) That the fact that we shall continue to love God is the brightest of all good prospects. Other things will fail us sooner or later, but “the love of God which is in Jesus Christ” in our hearts will take us everywhere, will be our refuge and defense in all emergencies, will sanctify our joy and our prosperity, will be with us at the last scenes, will cross the river with us and will be with us and in us on the other side, will be our passport to and our qualification for the brightest and broadest spheres in the heavenly kingdom. C.

Vers. 25-42. The good Samaritan, and the good part.

From the success of the seventy we now pass to the temptation of the Master. The tempter is a lawyer, one who, therefore, professed special acquaintance with the letter and spirit of the Divine Law. He thinks he may find accusation against Jesus by inquiring from him the way of life. His question implies the belief on the lawyer”s part that he can win his own way to heaven. But Jesus, when he asks, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” puts it to himself to answer, eliciting from the lawyer the reply, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” etc. Jesus then drives home the arrow of conviction by saying, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” The lawyer, if he will only analyze his life fairly, must admit that he has failed to fulfill the Law. This suggests

I THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST IN FULFILLING THE LAW. When our Lord said to “the lawyer, “This do, and thou shalt live,” he was giving forth his own experience. He was himself loving God with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his strength, and all his mind; he was also loving his neighbor as himself; and he found and felt that this was life, and life everlasting too. Doubtless he might have to die, but beyond death there was the compensation of resurrection. He was entitled to life on the ground of law, since he had kept it in every particular. What the lawyer imagined he could do, Jesus had actually done. He had acquired the right, not on his own behalf merely, but also on behalf of all who trust in him, to the life everlasting. The obedience of Jesus to Law was the perfect obedience required.

II THE ATTEMPT AT SELF-JUSTIFICATION ON THE LAWYER”S PART. He seems to have thought that his attitude to God was unimpeachable; but he was not so clear about having fulfilled his duty by his neighbor. Hence he asked Jesus to define “neighborhood.” The Jew had the notion that, because he belonged to the chosen people, he had to show neighbourliness only to those of his own nation; all the rest were “dogs.” And this lawyer had been as proud and as contemptuous as any of his tribe. Hence he wants from Jesus some definition of who his neighbor is, that he may estimate his own duty and the patriotism of Christ. The excuses in which selfish men indulge are marvellous. They are ready on any pretext to defend their selfishness.

III JESUS DEFINES “NEIGHBOURHOOD” BY THE PRECIOUS PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN, And here we have four characters brought before us. Let us look at them in order.

1. The half-murdered traveler. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho has been from time immemorial infested by robbers. It is so still. This poor traveler has met the cruel fate of many before and since Christ”s time. The highwaymen have robbed him of all he had, and almost of his life too. It is a case of unmistakable need. There is no possibility of deception in the circumstances.

2. The heartless priest. Coming down from the holy services at the temple, he so far forgets himself as to ignore the half-murdered man”s wants, and pass by on the other side. The aristocratism of office has steeled his heart against those charitable impulses which the case should have evoked.

3. The heartless Levite. The sole difference between these two officials was that the Levite seems to have crossed the road, to have looked upon him, and then, judging it a hopeless case, or one in which he could render no help, passed by, like the priest, on the other side.

4. The good Samaritan. This man might have said, “This poor fellow is one of those Jews, who wilt have no dealings with us Samaritans; he has often, most likely, called us dogs; he deserves no care.” But instead of looking for excuses for neglecting the sufferer, he gives his heart free play, and owns the poor man as a brother in distress. The result is he dismounts, and pours into his wounds oil and wine the best remedies, the one to keep down inflammation, and the other to heal; and, having carefully bound up his wounds, he sets him on his own beast and brings him to the nearest inn and has him comfortably lodged. The next day he pays the bill, and becomes the innkeeper”s security for anything more the patient may require until he is sound and well. Here is neighbourliness. Our neighbor is whoever is laid in our path by Providence and really needs our help. If we look carefully into the case, as the Samaritan here did, and conclude that it is a case of real need, then we should recognize in the needy one our neighbor, and have mercy on him. As Jesus dismisses the lawyer with this ideal neighbourliness before him, the self-justification must have passed completely away. Now, we have here the cosmopolitan spirit which Christianity fosters, and which is above and beyond the fellow-citizenship and patriotism which alone earlier civilizations fostered. Christ taught his people to be “citizens of the world,” and to recognize in every needy human being a” man and a brother.” It was in this spirit our Lord himself lived, and so he was able to inculcate it powerfully upon his people.

IV THE GOOD PART AS DEFINED AT BETHANY. (Vers. 35-42) And here we have to notice the two types of character presented to the Lord.

1. Martha, to whom life is a perpetual worry and weariness. She was a Christian in the real sense, for she loved her Lord; but she was a Christian who had not escaped from the fuss and weariness which make up the life of so many. Besides, all her bustle was really under a false impression, that the greatest compliment she could pay her Master was to give him a good physical feast. She never fancied that a good listener like Mary complimented the Master more than any repast could. Hence Martha”s fret and weariness.

2. Mary, to whom life is a calm fulfillment of her Masters will. The good part Mary chose was that of a scholar at Christ”s feet, whose word is deemed Mary”s law. This one idea made life simple and supremely blessed. Let us make sure of it, and the fret and worry of life shall cease, and an orderly and blessed procession of duties will make us experience a foretaste of heaven.

A.T. Robertson
Luke 10:25
And tempted him (ekpeirazōn auton). Present active participle, conative idea, trying to tempt him. There is no “and” in the Greek. He “stood up (anestē, ingressive second aorist active) trying to tempt him.” Peirazō is a late form of peiraō and ekpeirazō apparently only in the lxx, and N.T. (quoted by Jesus from Deu_6:16 in Mat_4:7; Luk_4:12 against Satan). Here and 1Co_10:9. The spirit of this lawyer was evil. He wanted to entrap Jesus if possible.

What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Ti poiēsas zōēn aiōniou klēronomēsō̱). Literally, “By doing what shall I inherit eternal life?” Note the emphasis on “doing” (poiēsas). The form of his question shows a wrong idea as to how to get it.

Eternal life (zōēn aiōnion) is endless life as in John’s Gospel (Joh_16:9; Joh_18:18, Joh_18:30) and in Mat_25:46, which see note.

Expositor’s Greek NT
Vv. 25-37. The lawyer’s question, and the parable of the good Samaritan. Many critics (even Weiss, Mk.-Evang., p. 400) think that Lk. or his source has got the theme of this section from Mat_22:35 ff., Mar_12:28 ff., and simply enriched it with the parable of the good Samaritan, peculiar to him. Leaving this critical question on one side, it may be remarked that this story seems to be introduced on the principle of contrast, the νομικός representing the σοφοὶ καὶ συνετοὶ, to whom the things of the kingdom are hidden as opposed to the νήπιοι, to whom they are revealed, i.e., the disciples whom Jesus had just congratulated on their felicity. Similarly in the case of the anecdote of the woman in Simon’s house, 7:36, vide notes there. J. Weiss remarks that this story and the following one about Martha and Mary form a pair, setting forth in the sense of the Epistle of James (2:8, 13, 14) the two main requirements of Christianity, love to one’s neighbour and faith (vide in Meyer, ad loc).—Ver. 25. ἀνέστη, stood up; from this expression and the present tense of ἀναγινώσκεις, how readest thou now? it has been conjectured that the scene may have been a synagogue.—τί ποιήσας: the νομικός, like the ἄρχων of 18:18, is professedly in quest of eternal life.—

Henry Alford
25.] No immediate sequence from ver. 24 is implied.

νομικός, a kind of scribe, = νομοδιδάσκαλος, ch. 5:17—whose especial office it was to teach the law, see Tit_3:13; = εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, Mar_12:28.

There is no reason to suppose that the lawyer had any hostile intention towards Jesus,—rather perhaps a self-righteous spirit (see ver. 29), which wanted to see what this Teacher could inform him, who knew so much already. Thus it was a tempting or trying of Jesus, though not to entangle Him: for whatever had been the answer, this could hardly have followed.

τί ποιήσας] He doubtless expects to hear of some great deed; but our Lord refers him back to the Law of which he was a teacher.

John Calvin
Luke 10:26
What is written in the law? He receives from Christ a reply different from what he had expected. And, indeed, no other rule of a holy and righteous life was prescribed by Christ than what had been laid down by the Law of Moses; for the perfect love of God and of our neighbors comprehends the utmost perfection of righteousness. Yet it must be observed, that Christ speaks here about obtaining salvation, in agreement with the question which had been put to him; for he does not teach absolutely, as in other passages, how men may arrive at eternal life, but how they ought to live, in order to be accounted righteous in the sight of God. Now it is certain that in the Law there is prescribed to men a rule by which they ought to regulate their life, so as to obtain salvation in the sight of God. That the Law can do nothing else than condemn, and is therefore called the doctrine of death, and is said by Paul to increase transgressions, (Rom_7:13,) arises not from any fault of its doctrine, but because it is impossible for us to perform what it enjoins. Therefore, though no man is justified by the Law yet the Law itself contains the highest righteousness, because it does not falsely hold out salvation to its followers, if any one fully observed all that it commands. Nor ought we to look upon this as a strange manner of teaching, that God first demands the righteousness of works, and next offers a gratuitous righteousness without works; for it is necessary that men should be convinced of their righteous condemnation, that they may betake themselves to the mercy of God. Accordingly, Paul (Rom_10:5) compares both kinds of righteousness, in order to inform us that the reason why we are freely justified by God is, that we have no righteousness of our own. Now Christ in this reply accommodated himself to the lawyer, and attended to the nature of his question; for he had inquired not how salvation must be sought, but by what works it must be obtained.

ICC:Lk PLummer
26. Εν τῷ νοιμῳ . First with emphasis. A νομικός ought to know that ἐν νόμῳ the answer to the question is plainly given: ἐπὶ τὸν νόμον αὐτὸν παραπέμπει (Euthym.).

πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις; Equivalent to the Rabbinical formula, when scriptural evidence was wanted, “What readest thou?” But perhaps the πῶς implies a little more, viz. “to what effect”? The form of question does not necessarily imply a rebuke. For ἀναγινώσκειν see 4:16. That Jesus pointed to the man’s phylactery and meant, “What have you got written there?” is conjecture. That he had “Thou shaft love thy neighbour as thyself” on his phylactery, is improbable. The first of the two laws was written on phylacteries, and the Jews recited it morning and evening, from Deu_6:5, Deu_6:11:13; hence it was the natural answer to Christ’s question. That he adds the second law, from Lev_19:18, is remarkable, and it may be that he was desirous of leading up to the question, “And who is my neighbour?” See D.B.2 art. “Frontlets”; Schaffs Herzog, art. “Phylactery.”

Pulpit Commentary
Lk 10:26
He said unto him, What is written in the Law? The Lord replied, perhaps pointing to one of the phylacteries which the lawyer wore on his forehead and wrist. These phylacteries were little leather boxes (the dimensions of these varied from the size of an ordinary hazelnut, to that of a large walnut, and even in some cases much larger). In these leather boxes were little parchment rolls containing certain texts from the Pentateuch. Certainly the first of the two great rules, that concerning God, was one of these texts; (Deu_6:5) possibly, but not certainly, the second concerning the neighbour formed another text.

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:26
What is written … – Jesus referred him to the “law” as a safe rule, and asked him what was said there. The lawyer was doubtless endeavoring to justify himself by obeying the law. He trusted to his own works. To bring him off from that ground – to make him feel that it was an unsafe foundation, Jesus showed him what the law “required,” and thus showed him that he needed a better righteousness than his own. This is the proper use of the law. By comparing ourselves with “that” we see our own defects, and are thus prepared to welcome a better righteousness than our own – that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the law becomes a schoolmaster to lead us to him, Gal_3:24.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
27. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God] This was the summary of the Law in Deu_6:5, Deu_6:10:12; Lev_19:18.

and thy neighbour as thyself] Hillel had given this part of the answer to an enquirer who similarly came to put him to the test, and as far as it went, it was a right answer (Rom_13:9; Gal_5:13, Gal_5:14; Jam_2:8); but it became futile if left to stand alone, without the first Commandment.

ICC:Lk Plummer
27. Here, as in Mar_12:30, we have four powers with which God is to be loved. Mat_22:37 follows Heb. and LXX in giving three. They cover man’s physical, intellectual, and moral activity. Mk. and LXX have ἐξ throughout; Mt. has ἐν throughout; Lk. changes from ἐξ to ἐν. For the last words comp. Rom_13:9.

Pulpit Commentary
Lk 10:27
The love of the neighbor.
Fixing, then, on Christ”s definition of the sphere of neighborhood, we are called to give a length and a breadth to his rule, which make it equivalent to the assertion, “Your neighbor is, not your blood-relation only, not the circle of your acquaintance only, not your countryman or co-religionist only; but he or she whom you can help in any way whatsoever the wretched tatterdemalion from the slightest contact with whom you shrink; the besotted and degraded; even your enemy, who hates you and despitefully uses you; him, her, mankind, you are to love.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” A very searching word indeed. God help us! how far are we from realizing it? Here some may will to justify themselves, and assume the defensive in some such manner as this: “It is impossible. We may cherish a feeling of benevolence towards all men in virtue of their common humanity; but how can we love them? Love requires the perception of what is lovable; it requires, too, that there shall be some link connecting one personally with another. But to summon us to love the neighbor, in Christ”s sense of the phrase, is to insist on love before the discovery of any such link, or notwithstanding the discovery that such a link is wholly wanting.” Or, again, “This is a commandment to love. Now, we cannot love by commandment; we cannot go beyond the prompting of our own natures. Some we can embrace with affection, but from others we turn away. We have tried the law that is announced on a limited scale, and the result of the trial was this So long as we thought of the world in a general, ideal way, we felt, in a measure, ardent; but as regards the persons actually crossing our path as neighbors, before the selfishness and greediness and ugliness which confronted us, we were forced to retreat, and to confess that we cannot love because we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Now, let it be acknowledged that these and similar difficulties are real difficulties. But, in the mean time, see whether Christ, in commanding, has not indicated the way of assistance; whether a more spiritual exposition of his teaching may not lead us into a region of thought in which the solution of the difficulties lies. Such a region seems to be opened up in the sentence reported by St. Matthew, “The second commandment is like to the first.” To the first, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” we must look for the full truth of the love enjoined in the second, and for the significance of the measure which the second proposes, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

I For, to show that the love enjoined in the two commandments is really one grace, WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE SPEAK OF LOVING GOD? Surely we mean a delight in God for what he is; for his righteousness, his goodness, his holy and loving will; we mean that surrender of ourselves to him in which our spirits respond to the Father of spirits. Now, in the first moment of such self-surrender, is it not the longing of the mind that he be glorified? Such a longing necessarily takes beyond self. It embraces the desire that the Eternal Name be hallowed, the eternal will be done in earth as it is in heaven, and the eternal kingdom of the Father come; that God be honored in all, and all find their true life in God. The pulse of this longing beats in friendship like that of Mr. Erskine of Linlathen. To his friend, the cold, astute lawyer, Rutherford, Mr. Erskine writes, “I love you. I could die for you to bring you to your true Centre, God.” In the love of God, his love for his friend had been quickened and intensified. Yes; when Christ revealed God as our Father, he gave us men as our brethren; when the Spirit of the Son is sent into the heart, the spirit of the brother is formed in the heart. However we may distinguish in speech, in the working of the eternal life, there is no distinction between the love of God and the love of man. Each is implied in the other. They are the two sides of the one grace, the one life love. And in this we have the solution of the difficulty already referred to. If there is no higher prospect than the neighbor, it is not to be wondered at that persons cry out, “Impossible! where the special links fail, there love must stop.” But, observe, when we have gained the second commandment through the first; when the love of the neighbor proceeds out of the love whose first and greatest is God; such links are always at hand; there are interests and sympathies which serve as points of approach to all, to any one. Our love is God”s love extending through us. All sorts and conditions of men are within the reach, before the vision, of God”s love. Even beneath the hateful we can discern that which, to the Creator who is also the Redeemer, is immeasurably precious. “… who loves the Lord aright, No soul of man can worthless find; All will be precious in his sight, Since Christ on all hath shined. We are, then, partners in the Divine interest in man. We clothe the neighbor with this interest. “Thy Father is my Father; my Savior is thy Savior too, and thou art precious in his sight. As he loves, so would I love thee as myself.

II BUT WHAT OF THE MEASURE, “AS THYSELF”? Let it be answered, “Thyself, after the first and great commandment has been fulfilled in thee thyself loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind.” There is a true self-love, and what the true self-love is thus defined. Recollect, Christ”s phrase is, “as thyself.” In his teaching there is no place found for the pretentious altruism which strives “… to wind itself too high For mortal man beneath the sky, which insists that the love of man shall swallow up, shall annihilate, all self-feeling; that it shall involve the renunciation of all that is individual for the sake of a universal good, of humanity. The teaching of Jesus is too practical, has too keen a sight of” what is in man,” for this humanitarianism. He recognizes a love of self as right and natural; but it is the self when truly consecrated to God. “There is no need,” says one, “of a heart of supernatural texture in order to the love of our brother. What is needed is only the heart of flesh instead of the heart of stone.” Yes; but this heart of flesh is a new heart. It is described in the Scriptures as the gift of God. It is “a heart of supernatural texture part of that new ordering of the life which is realized when the wayward will is offered to the consuming fire of God, and the inner man is born from above. See, then, what this pure self-love, which is the measure of love to the neighbor, represents. It represents a power of sacrifice. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Not only so; the principle which illustrates the direction of the love of our neighbor exhibits that which is to be sought for in it. He who prays that his self shall be in harmony with God”s thoughts and ways, loving his brother with the same love, will discriminate between that which only serves the flesh, and that which tends to promote the righteousness which God reckons the permanent wellbeing; he will strive against the things in internal life and external condition which hinder this well-being; he will study the ways through which the greatest good may be realized for the neighbor. Thus, given the love of God poured out in the heart, the love of self, instead of separating, unites the man to his world. It is the dynamic of a holy and enlightened philanthropy.

Let the two commandments, then, be kept in the order which our Lord has marked the first, as the first and greatest; and the second, as the second which is like to the first. Let them, in this order, abide in us; and, though the keeping of them may be to the flesh a cross, possible only through the slaying of that in the flesh which objects, the external nature of the commandments will gradually disappear; from laws outside us they wilt be changed into states of life, each finding its congenial nourishment in the other. The love of God will be fed by the love of the neighbor; the love of the neighbor will be fed by the love of God. So thought, so wrote St. John, in his own profound yet simple manner, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.”

A.T. Robertson
Luke 10:27
And he answering (ho de apokritheis). First aorist participle, no longer passive in idea. The lawyer’s answer is first from the Shema (Deu_6:3; Deu_11:13) which was written on the phylacteries. The second part is from Lev_19:18 and shows that the lawyer knew the law. At a later time Jesus himself in the temple gives a like summary of the law to a lawyer (Mar_12:28-34; Mat_22:34-40) who wanted to catch Jesus by his question. There is no difficulty in the two incidents. God is to be loved with all of man’s four powers (heart, soul, strength, mind) here as in Mar_12:30.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 22:37

Thou shalt love the Lord – This is a subject of the greatest importance, and should be well understood, as our Lord shows that the whole of true religion is comprised in thus loving God and our neighbor.

It may not be unnecessary to inquire into the literal meaning of the word love. Αγαπη, from αγαπαω, I love, is supposed to be compounded either of αγαν and ποιειν, to act vehemently or intensely; or, from αγειν κατα παν, because love is always active, and will act in every possible way; for he who loves is, with all his affection and desire, carried forward to the beloved object, in order to possess and enjoy it. Some derive it from αγαν and παυεσθαι, to be completely at rest, or, to be intensely satisfied; because he who loves is supremely contented with, and rests completely satisfied in, that which he loves. Others, from αγαν and παω, because a person eagerly embraces, and vigorously holds fast, that which is the object of his love. Lastly, others suppose it to be compounded of αγαω, I admire, and παυομαι, I rest, because that which a man loves intensely he rests in, with fixed admiration and contemplation. So that genuine love changes not, but always abides steadily attached to that which is loved.

Whatever may be thought of these etymologies, as being either just or probable, one thing will be evident to all those who know what love means, that they throw much light upon the subject, and manifest it in a variety of striking points of view. The ancient author of a MS. Lexicon in the late French king’s library, under the word αγαπη, has the following definition: ΑσπαϚος προθεσις επι τη φιλια του φιλουμενου – Σομψυχια. “A pleasing surrender of friendship to a friend: – an identity or sameness of soul.” A sovereign preference given to one above all others, present or absent: a concentration of all the thoughts and desires in a single object, which a man prefers to all others. Apply this definition to the love which God requires of his creatures, and you will have the most correct view of the subject. Hence it appears that, by this love, the soul eagerly cleaves to, affectionately admires, and constantly rests in God, supremely pleased and satisfied with him as its portion: that it acts from him, as its author; for him, as its master; and to him, as its end. That, by it, all the powers and faculties of the mind are concentrated in the Lord of the universe. That, by it, the whole man is willingly surrendered to the Most High: and that, through it, an identity, or sameness of spirit with the Lord is acquired – the man being made a partaker of the Divine nature, having the mind in him which was in Christ, and thus dwelling in God, and God in him.

But what is implied in loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, strength, etc., and when may a man be said to do this?

1. He loves God with all his heart, who loves nothing in comparison of him, and nothing but in reference to him: – who is ready to give up, do, or suffer any thing in order to please and glorify him: – who has in his heart neither love nor hatred, hope nor fear, inclination, nor aversion, desire, nor delight, but as they relate to God, and are regulated by him.

2. He loves God with all his soul, or rather, εν ολη τη ψυχη, with all his life, who is ready to give up life for his sake – to endure all sorts of torments, and to be deprived of all kinds of comforts, rather than dishonor God: – who employs life with all its comforts, and conveniences, to glorify God in, by, and through all: – to whom life and death are nothing, but as they come from and lead to God, From this Divine principle sprang the blood of the martyrs, which became the seed of the Church. They overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and loved not their lives unto the death. See Rev_12:11.

3. He loves God with all his strength (Mar_12:30; Luk_10:27) who exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of God: – who, for the glory of his Maker, spares neither labor nor cost – who sacrifices his time, body, health, ease, for the honor of God his Divine Master: – who employs in his service all his goods, his talents, his power, credit, authority, and influence.

4. He loves God with all his mind (intellect – διανοια) who applies himself only to know God, and his holy will: – who receives with submission, gratitude, and pleasure, the sacred truths which God has revealed to man: – who studies no art nor science but as far as it is necessary for the service of God, and uses it at all times to promote his glory – who forms no projects nor designs but in reference to God and the interests of mankind: – who banishes from his understanding and memory every useless, foolish, and dangerous thought, together with every idea which has any tendency to defile his soul, or turn it for a moment from the center of eternal repose. In a word, he who sees God in all things – thinks of him at all times – having his mind continually fixed upon God, acknowledging him in all his ways – who begins, continues, and ends all his thoughts, words, and works, to the glory of his name: – this is the person who loves God with all his heart, life, strength, and intellect. He is crucified to the world, and the world to him: he lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He beholds as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and is changed into the same image from glory to glory. Simply and constantly looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of his faith, he receives continual supplies of enlightening and sanctifying grace, and is thus fitted for every good word and work. O glorious state! far, far, beyond this description! which comprises an ineffable communion between the ever-blessed Trinity and the soul of man!

John Calvin
Luke 10:28
Do this, and thou shalt live. I have explained a little before, how this promise agrees with freely bestowed justification by faith; for the reason why God justifies us freely is, not that the Law does not point out perfect righteousness, but because we fail in keeping it, and the reason why it is declared to be impossible for us to obtain life by it is, that it is weak through our flesh, (Rom_8:3.)

So then these two statements are perfectly consistent with each other, that the Law teaches how men may obtain righteousness by works, and yet that no man is justified by works, because the fault lies not in the doctrine of the Law, but in men. It was the intention of Christ, in the meantime, to vindicate himself from the calumny which, he knew, was brought against him by the unlearned and ignorant, that he set aside the Law, so far as it is a perpetual rule of righteousness.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
28. Thou hast answered right] “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Gen_4:7; “which if a man do, he shall live in them,” Lev_18:5; Rom_10:5; but see Gal_3:21, Gal_3:22.

this do] As the passage from Deuteronomy was one of those inscribed in the phylacteries (little leather boxes containing four texts in their compartments), which the scribe wore on his forehead and wrist, it is an ingenious conjecture that our Lord, as He spoke, pointed to one of these.

A.T. Robertson
Luke 10:28
Thou hast answered right (orthōs apekrithēs). First aorist passive indicative second singular with the adverb orthōs. The answer was correct so far as the words went. In Mar_12:34 Jesus commends the scribe for agreeing to his interpretation of the first and the second commandments. That scribe was “not far from the kingdom of God,” but this lawyer was “tempting” Jesus.

Do this and thou shalt live (touto poiei kai zēsēi). Present imperative (keep on doing this forever) and the future indicative middle as a natural result. There was only one trouble with the lawyer’s answer. No one ever did or ever can “do” what the law lays down towards God and man always. To slip once is to fail. So Jesus put the problem squarely up to the lawyer who wanted to know by doing what. Of course, if he kept the law perfectly always, he would inherit eternal life.

John Calvin
Luke 10:29
29.But he wishing to justify himself. This question might appear to be of no importance for justifying a man. But if we recollect what was formerly stated, that the hypocrisy of men is elderly detected by means of the second table—for, while they pretend to be eminent worshippers of God, they openly violate charity towards their neighbors—it will be easy to infer from this, that the Pharisee practiced this evasion, in order that, concealed under the false mask of holiness, he might not be brought forth to light. So then, aware that the test of charity would prove unfavorable to him, he seeks concealment under the word neighbor, that he may not be discovered to be a transgressor of the Law. But we have already seen, that on this subject the Law was corrupted by the scribes, because they reckoned none to be their neighbors but those who were worthy of it. Hence, too, this principle was received among them, that we have a right to hate our enemies, (Mat_5:43.) For the only method to which hypocrites can resort for avoiding the condemnation of themselves, is to turn away as far as they are able, that their life may not be tried by the judgment of the Law.

Adam Clarke
Luke 10:29

Willing to justify himself – Wishing to make it appear that he was a righteous man, and that consequently he was in the straight road to the kingdom of God, said, Who is my neighbor? supposing our Lord would have at once answered, “Every Jew is to be considered as such, and the Jews only.” Now as he imagined he had never been deficient in his conduct to any person of his own nation, he thought he had amply fulfilled the law. This is the sense in which the Jews understood the word neighbor, as may be seen from Lev_19:15-18. But our Lord shows here, that the acts of kindness which a man is bound to perform to his neighbor when in distress, he should perform to any person, of whatever nation, religion, or kindred, whom he finds in necessity. As the word πλησιον signifies one who is near, Anglo Saxon, he that is next, this very circumstance makes any person our neighbor whom we know; and, if in distress, an object of our most compassionate regards. If a man came from the most distant part of the earth, the moment he is near you he has a claim upon your mercy and kindness, as you would have on his, were your dwelling-place transferred to his native country. It is evident that our Lord uses the word πλησιον (very properly translated neighbor, from nae or naer, near, and buer, to dwell) in its plain, literal sense. Any person whom you know, who dwells hard by, or who passes near you, is your neighbor while within your reach.

ICC:LK Plummer
10:29 θέλων δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτόν . Not merely “willing,” but “wishing to justify himself,” For what? Some say, for having omitted to perform this duty in the past. Others, for having asked such a question, the answer to which had been shown to be so simple. The latter is perhaps nearer the fact; but it almost involves the other. “Wishing to put himself in the right,” he points out that the answer given is not adequate, because there is doubt as to the meaning of “one’s neighbour.” Qui multa interrogant non multa facere gestiunt (Beng.). For δικαιῶσαι see on 7:35 and Rom_1:17.

καὶ τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον; The question was a very real one to a Jew of that age. Lightfoot, ad loc., quotes from Maimonides, “he excepts all Gentiles when he saith, His neighbour. An Israelite killing a stranger inhabitant, he doth not die for it by the Sanhedrim; because he said, If any one lift up himself against his neighbour.”

καὶ τίς μου πλησίον; The καί accepts what is said, and leads on to another question: comp. 18:26; Joh_9:36; 2Co_2:2. Win. liii. 3. a, p. 545. For the omission of the art. before πλησίον (μου perhaps taking its place) see Win. 19:5. b, p. 163: but πλησίον may be an adverb.

Pulpit Commentary
Lk 10:29
And who is my neighbour? The self-righteous, but probably rigidly conscientious, Jewish scholar, looking into the clear, truthful eyes of the Galilaean Master he had been taught to hate as the enemy of his own narrow, lightless creed, was struck, perhaps for the first time, with the moral beauty of the words of his own Law. Of the first part, his duty towards God, as far as his poor distorted mind could grasp the idea, he was at ease in his conscience. The tithe, down to the anise and cummin, had been scrupulously paid; his fasts had been rigidly observed, his feasts carefully kept, his prayer-formulas never neglected. Yes; as regards God, the Pharisee-lawyer”s conscience was at ease! But his neighbour? He thought of his conduct towards that simple, truthful-looking Galilaean Rabbi, Jesus, that very day; trying to trip him up in his words, longing to do him injuryinjury to that worn-looking, loving Man who had never done him any harm, and who, report said, was only living to do others good. Was he, perchance, his neighbour? So, vexed and uneasy but it seems in perfect honesty now, and in good faith he asks this further question, “Master, tell me, who do you teach should be included in the term “neighbour”?

Who is our neighbor?

This was a very pertinent question, by whatsoever motive prompted. None better could possibly have been asked, for it drew forth Christ”s own interpretation of his own Law. And, like the Jews of his time, we are in no little danger of limiting the Divine thought. “Who is our neighbor? in our thought, in our feeling and practice? Who are those we feel bound to love and help? Our kindred, those of our fellow-citizens from whom we want the interchange of civilities, our countrymen, do we draw the line there? If so, we “have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ” in this matter; we are falling out of rank as his disciples. There is nothing especially Christian about the affection we feel or the kindness we show to these. Going thus far, we go no further than pagans have gone before us. We must transcend this if we are to be worthy of the name we bear. In order to be that, we must find our neighbor everywhere and in every one, but more especially in the man who has need of us. The Christian conception of “our neighbor”

I OVERSTEPS THE LIMIT OF RACE. It is painful to think that men have been taught to look upon those who inhabit other lands with positive enmity, so much so that even Cicero could say that the natural relation of neighboring nations was that of enmity; that whole peoples (like the Greeks and the Chinese) should treat the outer world as “barbarians” to be despised and avoided. It is foolish and illogical enough, but it has been all too common. Nothing but the prevalence of Christian principle and the permeating force of the Christian spirit will avail to lead us to love those beyond our borders, without the pale of our own civilization.

II REMOVES THE LIMIT OF SPACE. The simple and common notion of a neighbor is that of one locally near to us. But that idea, under Christ, has been very greatly enlarged. But is true that, since he spoke, we have seemed to be further off, in space, from one another. For those to whom he spoke had no notion of the width of the world, no idea that there were fellow-men living twelve thousand miles away from them. But it is also true that, since he spoke, we have been brought near to one another.

(1) Christian civilization has given us an intimate knowledge of one another, so that we know more of what is happening in India than the “dwellers in Jerusalem” knew then of the events occurring in Nazareth; and

(2) Christian zeal has made possible to us a genuine sympathy and a practical kindness. We can, by rutting a coin in a plate, help to send the light of Divine truth to men of every color, in every latitude and longitude of the habitable globe. Who is our neighbor? All men beneath all skies, and it is open to us all to do something to help the wounded pilgrim on life”s highway, even in remotest lands, to health and joy and life.

III TRANSCENDS THE LIMIT OF CHARACTER. If that lawyer had answered his own question, it is certain that he would have given a reply which would have excluded the ungodly and the immoral. But in Christ”s view the neighbor we should commiserate and rescue is not only the poor traveler who has fallen among thieves, but the erring soul who has lost his way in the search of truth, and that pitiable one who has fallen into the mire of guilt and shame; those who have been smitten by the worst of all strokes, and have descended into the darkest of all shadows. Our neighbor, in the view of our Lord, is not the man who is up and who can assist us on our way, but he that is down and whom we can help to rise; he is the man who is most in need of our sympathy and our succor; he is the man who has a bruised and bleeding heart that patient, sacrificial love alone can heal. If we will go to him and help and bless him, and make ourselves “neighbor unto” him, we shall thus “fulfill the law of Christ;” and we shall thus be not only “keeping his commandment,” but living his life. C.

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:29
To justify himself – Desirous to appear blameless, or to vindicate himself, and show that he had kept the law. Jesus wished to lead him to a proper view of his own sinfulness, and his real departure from the law. The man was desirous of showing that he had kept the law; or perhaps he was desirous of justifying himself for asking the question; of showing that it could not be so easily settled; that a mere reference to the “words” of the law did not determine it. It was still a question what was meant by “neighbor.” The Pharisees held that the “Jews” only were to be regarded as such, and that the obligation did not extend at all to the Gentiles. The lawyer was probably ready to affirm that he had discharged faithfully his duty to his countrymen, and had thus kept the law, and could justify himself. Every sinner is desirous of “justifying himself.” He seeks to do it by his own works. For this purpose he perverts the meaning of the law, destroys its spirituality, and brings “down” the law to “his” standard, rather than attempt to frame his life by “its” requirements.

John Calvin
Luke 10:30
30.And Jesus answering said. Christ might have stated simply, that the word neighbor extends indiscriminately to every man, because the whole human race is united by a sacred bond of fellowship. And, indeed, the Lord employed this word in the Law, for no other reason than to draw us sweetly to mutual kindness. The commandment would have run more clearly thus: Love every man as thyself. But as men are blinded by their pride, so that every man is satisfied with himself, scarcely deigns to admit others to an equal rank, and withholds from them the duties he owes them, the Lord purposely declares that all are neighbors that the very relationship may produce mutual love. To make any person our neighbor, therefore, it is enough that he be, a man; for it is not in our power to blot out our common nature.

But Christ intended to draw the reply from the Pharisee, that he might condemn himself. For in consequence of the authoritative decision being generally received among them, that no man is our neighbor unless he is our friend, if Christ had put a direct question to him, he would never have made an explicit acknowledgment, that under the word neighbor all men are included, which the comparison brought forward forces him to confess. The general truth conveyed is, that the greatest stranger is our neighbor, because God has bound all men together, for the purpose of assisting each other. He glances briefly, however, at the Jews, and especially at the priests; because, while they boasted of being the children of the same Father, and of being separated by the privilege of adoption from the rest of the nations, so as to be God’s sacred heritage, yet, with barbarous and unfeeling contempt, they despised each other, as if no relationship had subsisted between them. For there is no doubt that Christ describes the cruel neglect of brotherly kindness, with which they knew that they were chargeable. But here, as I have said, the chief design is to show that the neighborhood, which lays us under obligation to mutual offices of kindness, is not confined to friends or relatives, but extends to the whole human race.

To prove this, Christ compares a Samaritan to a priest and a Levite. It is well known what deadly hatred the Jews bore to the Samaritans, so that, notwithstanding their living close beside them, they were always at the greatest variance. Christ now says, that a Jew, an inhabitant of Jericho, on his journey from Jerusalem, having been wounded by robbers, received no assistance either from a Levite or from a priest, both of whom met with him lying on the road, and half-dead, but that a Samaritan showed him great kindness, and then asks, Which of these three was neighbor to the Jew? This subtle doctor could not escape from preferring the Samaritan to the other two. For here, as in a mirror, we behold that common relationship of men, which the scribes endeavored to blot out by their wicked sophistry; and the compassion, which an enemy showed to a Jew, demonstrates that the guidance and teaching of nature are sufficient to show that man was created for the sake of man. Hence it is inferred that there is a mutual obligation between all men.

The allegory which is here contrived by the advocates of free will is too absurd to deserve refutation. According to them, under the figure of a wounded man is described the condition of Adam after the fall; from which they infer that the power of acting well was not wholly extinguished in him; because he is said to be only half-dead. As if it had been the design of Christ, in this passage, to speak of the corruption of human nature, and to inquire whether the wound which Satan inflicted on Adam were deadly or curable; nay, as if he had not plainly, and without a figure, declared in another passage, that all are dead, but those whom he quickens by his voice, (Joh_5:25.) As little plausibility belongs to another allegory, which, however, has been so highly satisfactory, that it has been admitted by almost universal consent, as if it had been a revelation from heaven. This Samaritan they imagine to be Christ, because he is our guardian; and they tell us that wine was poured, along with oil, into the wound, because Christ cures us by repentance and by a promise of grace. They have contrived a third subtlety, that Christ does not immediately restore health, but sends us to the Church, as an innkeeper, to be gradually cured. I acknowledge that I have no liking for any of these interpretations; but we ought to have a deeper reverence for Scripture than to reckon ourselves at liberty to disguise its natural meaning. And, indeed, any one may see that the curiosity of certain men has led them to contrive these speculations, contrary to the intention of Christ.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
30. A certain man] Clearly, as the tenor of the Parable implies, a Jew.

went down from Jerusalem to Jericho] A rocky, dangerous gorge (Jos. B. J. iv. 8, § 3), haunted by marauding Bedawin, and known as ‘the bloody way’ (Adommim, Jerome, De loc. Hebr. and on Jer_3:2). The “went down” is strictly accurate, for the road descends very rapidly from Jerusalem to the Jordan valley. The distance is about 21 miles. For Jericho, see 19:1.

thieves] Rather, “robbers,” “brigands.” Palestine was notorious for these plundering Arabs. Herod the Great had rendered real service to the country in extirpating them from their haunts, but they constantly sprung up again, and even the Romans could not effectually put them down (Jos. Antt. xx. 6, § 1; B. J. xi. 12, § 5). On this very road an English baronet—Sir Frederic Henniker—was stripped and murdered by Arab robbers in 1820. “He was probably thinking of the Parable of the Samaritan when the assassin’s stroke laid him low,” Porter’s Palestine, i. 151.

wounded him] Rather, laying blows on him.

half dead] Some MSS. omit the τυγχάνοντα, ‘chancing to be still alive.’ So far as the robbers were concerned, it was a mere accident that any life was left in him.

ICC:Lk Plummer
30-37. § The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Entirely in harmony with the general character of this Gospel as teaching that righteousness and salvation are not the exclusive privilege of the Jew. The parable is not an answer to the original question (ver. 25), and therefore in no way implies that works of benevolence secure eternal life. It is an answer to the new question (ver. 29), and teaches that no one who is striving to love his neighbour as himself can be in doubt as to who is his neighbour. We may believe that the narrative is not fiction, but history. Jesus would not be likely to invent such behaviour, and attribute it to priest, Levita, and Samaritan, if it had not actually occurred. Nowhere else does He speak against priests or Levites. Moreover, the parable would have far more point if taken from real life.1

30. ὑπολαβών . “Took him up” to reply to him. Here only in N.T. has ὑπολαμβάνω this meaning, which is quite classical and freq. in Job (2:4, 4:1, 6:1, 9:1, 11:1, 12:1, 15:1, 16:1, etc.). Contrast 7:43; Act_2:15; Job_25:3, where it means “I suppose.”

Here Vulg. has suscipiens, with suscipiens as v.l. in many MSS. Besides these two, Lat. Vet. has subiciens (e) and respondens (f); but not excipiens, which would be an equivalent. Syr-Sin. omits.

Ἄνθρωπός τις κατέβαινεν . The road is downhill; but besides this we commonly talk of “going down” from the capital. The narrative implies that the man is a Jew. Jericho is about twenty miles from Jerusalem; and the road still, as in Jerome’s day, has a bad name for brigandage from “the Arabian in the wilderness” (Jer_3:2), i.e. the Bedawin robbers who infest the unfrequented roads. Sir F. Henniker was murdered here in 1820.2 It is possible that Jesus was on this road at the time when He delivered the parable; for Bethany is on it, and the next event takes place there (vv. 38-42).

λῃσταῖς περιέπεσεν . Change from imperf, to aor. “Fell among robbers,” so that they were all round him. Quite classical; comp. Jam_1:2. Wetst. gives instances of this very phrase in profane authors, and it is in correct to classify περιπίπτειν as a medical word. For λῃστής, “robber” (19:46, 22:52; Joh_18:40), as distinct from κλέπτης, “thief” (12:33, 39; Joh_12:6), see Trench, Syn. xliv.

οἳ καὶ ἐκδύσαντες. “Who, in addition to other violence, stripped him.” Robbers naturally plunder their victims, but do not always strip them. Comp. Mat_27:28; with double accusative, Mat_27:31; Mar_15:20. It was because he tried to keep his clothes, and also to disable him, that they added blows to robbery. For the phrase πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες comp. Act_16:23; Rev_22:18: in class. Grk. πλ. ἐμβάλλειν. Cicero has plagam alicui imponere (Pro Sest. xix. 44); also vulnera alicui imponere (De Fin. iv. 24, 66). For ἠμιθανῆ comp. 4 Mac. 4:11.

Pulpit Commentary
Lk 10:30
And Jesus answering said. For reply the Master told him and the listening by-standers the parable-story we know so well as the “good Samaritan the parable, which has been “the consolation of the wanderer and the sufferer, of the outcast and the heretic, in every age and country” (Stanley). The story was one of those parables especially loved by Luke (and Paul), in which instruction is conveyed, not by types, but by example. It was very probably a simple recital of a fact which had happened, and at some period in the Lord”s life had come under his own observation. The local scenery, the characters of the story, would all lead to the supposition that the parable was spoken in or near Jerusalem. A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. We are not told who the traveller was, Jew or Gentile; not a word about his rank, descent, or religion; simply that he was a man, a human being. It seems, however, from the whole tone of the story, most probable that the wounded traveller was a Jew. The way he was travelling was the road leading down from Jerusalem to Jericho, a distance of twenty-one miles not the only way, but the most direct. It was a rugged, rocky pass, well adapted for the purposes of thieves and desperadoes, and was known, owing to the many dark deeds of which it had been the scene, as “The Way of Blood.” The Lord”s words tell the story. The traveller, likely enough a Jew peddler, bad fallen among thieves, who had robbed him, and then had left their victim dying or dead, what cared they? lying in the pass.

Marvin Vincent
Luke 10:30
Answering (ὑπολαβὼν)
Used by Luke only, and in this sense only here. See on Luk_7:43. It means, strictly, to take up; and hence, of conversation, to take up another’s discourse and reply.

Fell among
See on Jam_1:2.

Thieves (λῃσταῖς)
See on Mat_26:55; and Luk_23:39-43. These were not petty stealers, but men of violence, as was shown by their treatment of the traveller. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho passed through a wilderness (Jos_16:1), which was so notorious for robberies and murders that a portion of it was called “the red or bloody way,” and was protected by a fort and a Roman garrison.

Stripped
Not of his clothing only, but of all that he had.

Wounded (πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες)
Lit., having laid on blows. Blows or stripes is the usual sense of the word in the New Testament. See Luk_12:48; Act_16:23. It has the metaphorical sense of plagues in Rev_15:1, Rev_15:6, Rev_15:8, etc.

Half dead (ἡμιθανῆ τυγχάνοντα)
The full force of the expression cannot be rendered into English. The word τυγχάνοντα throws an element of chance into the ease. Lit., happening to be half dead; or “leaving him half dead, as it chanced;” his condition being a matter of unconcern to these robbers. The word ἡμιθανῆ, half dead, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The best texts, however, omit τυγχάνοντα.

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:30
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 neighbor, 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 northeast of Jerusalem, and about 8 miles west of the river Jordan. See the notes at Mat_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 traveling to Jerusalem. At this time, also, Judea abounded with robbers. Josephus says that at one time Herod the Great dismissed 40,000 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 traveler’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, Luk_10:25, Luk_10:38. 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.”

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
31. by chance] Rather, by coincidence, i. e. at the same time. The word ‘chance’ (τυχὴ) does not occur in Scripture. The nearest approach to it is the participle τυχὸν in 1Co_15:37 (if τυγχάνοντα be omitted in vs. 30). Chance, to the sacred writers, as to the most thoughtful of the Greeks, is ‘the daughter of Forethought:’ it is “God’s unseen Providence, by men nicknamed Chance” (Fuller). “Many good opportunities work under things which seem fortuitous.” Bengel.

a certain priest] His official duties at Jerusalem were over, and he was on his way back to his home in the priestly city of Jericho. Perhaps the uselessness of his external service is implied. In superstitious attention to the letter, he was wholly blind to the spirit, Deu_22:1-4. See 1Jn_3:17. He was selfishly afraid of risk, trouble, and ceremonial defilement, and, since no one was there to know of his conduct, he was thus led to neglect the traditional kindness of Jews towards their own countrymen (Tac. Hist. v. 5, Juv. xiv. 103, 104), as well as the positive rules of the Law (Deu_22:4) and the Prophets (Isa_58:7).

that way] Rather, on that road. It is emphatically mentioned, because there was another road to Jericho which was safer, and therefore more frequently used.

Pulpit Commentary
Lk 10:31
There came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Both the priest and Levite were frequent travellers along this road between the capital and Jericho. Jericho was especially a city of priests, and when the allotted service or residence time at the temple was over, these would return naturally to their own homes. It has been remarked that the grave censure which this story levels at the everyday want of charity on the part of priests and Levites, fills up what would otherwise have been a blank in the Master”s many-sided teaching. Nowhere else in the gospel narrative do we find our Lord taking up the attitude of censor of the priestly and Levitical orders. We have little difficulty in discovering reasons for this apparently strange reticence. They were still the official guardians and ministers of his Father”s house. In his public teaching, as a rule, he would refrain from touching these or their hollow, pretentious lives. Once, and once only, in this one parable did he dwell but even here with no severe denunciations, as in the case of scribes and Pharisees on the shortcomings of the priestly caste. The bitter woe was fast coming on these degenerate children of Aaron. In less than half a century, that house, the glory and the joy of Israel, would be utterly destroyed, net to be raised again. No woe that the Christ could pronounce could be as crushing in its pitiless condemnation. The very reason for the existence of priest and Levite as priest and Levite would exist no longer. The selfish life of the doomed order, in which holiness seemed effectually to have been divorced from charity, is portrayed in the lifelike picture of the parable of the good Samaritan.

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:31
By chance – Accidentally, or as it happened. It means that he did not do it with a “design” to aid the man that was wounded.

A certain priest – It is said that not less than 12,000 priests and Levites dwelt at Jericho; and as their business was at Jerusalem, of course there would be many of them constantly traveling on that road.

When he saw him – He saw him lie, but came not near him.

Passed by on the other side – On the farther side of the way. Did not turn out of his course even to come and see him.

Adam Clarke
Luke 10:31-32
Priest and Levite are mentioned here, partly because they were the most frequent travelers on this road, and partly to show that these were the persons who, from the nature of their office, were most obliged to perform works of mercy; and from whom a person in distress had a right to expect immediate succor and comfort; and their inhuman conduct here was a flat breach of the law, Deu_22:1-4.

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:32
A Levite – The Levites, as well as the priests, were of the tribe of Levi, and were set apart to the duties of religion. The special duty of the priest was “to offer sacrifice” at the temple; to present incense; to conduct the morning and evening services of the temple, etc. The office or duty of the “Levites” was to render assistance to the priests in their services. In the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness, it was their duty to transport the various parts of the tabernacle and the sacred utensils. It was their duty to see that the tabernacle and the temple were kept clean; to prepare supplies for the sanctuary, such as oil, incense, wine, etc. They had also the care of the sacred revenues, and after the time of David they conducted the sacred “music” of the temple service, Num. 8:5-22; 1Ch_23:3-5, 1Ch_23:24-32; 1Ch_24:27-31.

Came and looked on him – It is remarked by critics, here, that the expression used does not denote, as in the case of the priest, that he accidentally saw him and took no farther notice of him, but that he came and looked on him more attentively, but still did nothing to relieve him.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
33. a certain Samaritan] A Samaritan is thus selected for high eulogy—though the Samaritans had so ignominiously rejected Jesus (9:53).

as he journeyed] He was not ‘coming down’ as the Priest and Levite were from the Holy City and the Temple, but from the unauthorised worship of alien Gerizim.

had compassion on him] Thereby shewing himself, in spite of his heresy and ignorance, a better man than the orthodox Priest and Levite; and all the more so because he was an ‘alien’ (see on 17:18), and “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (Joh_4:9), and this very wounded man would, under other circumstances, have shrunk from the touch of the Samaritan as from pollution. Yet this ‘Cuthaean’—this ‘worshipper of the pigeon’—this man of a race which was accused of misleading the Jews by false fire-signals, and of defiling the Temple with human bones—whose testimony would not have been admitted in a Jewish court of law—with whom no Jew would so much as eat (Jos. Antt. xx. 6, § 1, xviii. 2, § 2; B. J. ii. 12, § 3)—shews a spontaneous and perfect pity of which neither Priest nor Levite had been remotely capable. The fact that the Jews had applied to our Lord Himself the opprobrious name of “Samaritan” (Joh_8:48) is one of the indications that a deeper meaning lies under the beautiful obvious significance of the Parable.

Adam ClarkeLuke 10:33
Samaritan is mentioned merely to show that he was a person from whom a Jew had no right to expect any help or relief, because of the enmity which subsisted between the two nations.

ICC:Lk Plummer
33. Σαμαρείτης δέ τις ὁδεύων . A despised schismatic, in marked contrast to the orthodox clergy who had shown no kindness.1 Comp. 9:52; Joh_4:39-42. He is not said to be καταβαίνων: he would not be coming from Jerusalem. See on 17:18.

ἧλθεν κατʼ αὐτόν. “Came down upon him,” or “where he was,” or “towards him” (Act_8:26, Act_8:16:7; Php_3:14). The fear of being himself overtaken by brigands, or of being suspected of the robbery, does not influence him. “Directly he saw him, forthwith (aor.) he was moved with compassion.” See on 7:13.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Luke 10:33
Samaritan — one excommunicated by the Jews, a byword among them, synonymous with heretic and devil (Joh_8:48; see on Luk_17:18).

had compassion — His best is mentioned first; for “He who gives outward things gives something external to himself, but he who imparts compassion and tears gives him something from his very self” [Gregory the Great, in Trench].

No doubt the priest and Levite had their excuses – It is not safe to be lingering here; besides, he’s past recovery; and then, may not suspicion rest upon ourselves? So might the Samaritan have reasoned, but did not [Trench]. Nor did he say, He’s a Jew, who would have had no dealings with me (Joh_4:9), and why should I with him?

Pulpit Commentary
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. Now, for the sake of strong contrast, Jesus paints on his canvas the figure of one who, as a Samaritan, was as far removed as possible from being a neighbour to the sufferer (who, most probably, was a Jew) in the sense in which the austere Jewish lawyer would of himself understand the term “neighbour”, The Samaritan, hated of the Jews, and most probably, in common with the rest of his nation, hating them he, in his turn, was journeying along the ill-omened “Way of Blood;” he too sees, like the priest, the form of the man, wounded perhaps to death, lying by the way, and, like the Levite, draws near to look on the helpless sufferer; but, unlike priest and Levite, stays by the wounded man, and, regardless of peril, trouble, or expense, does his best to help the helpless.

Albert Barnes
Matthew 10:5
…And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not – The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. This region was situated between Jerusalem and Galilee; so that in passing from the one to the other, it was a direct course to pass through Samaria. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city. It was situated about 15 miles to the northwest of the city of Shechem or Sychar (see the notes at Joh_4:5), and about 40 miles to the north of Jerusalem. For a description of this city, see the notes at Isa_28:1. Sychar or Shechem was also a city within the limits of Samaria.

This people was formerly composed of a few of the ten tribes and a mixture of foreigners. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Babylon, the King of Assyria sent people from Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit their country, 2Ki_17:24; Ezr_4:2-11. These people at first worshipped the idols of their own nations; but, being troubled with lions, which had increased greatly while the country remained uninhabited, they supposed it was because they had not honored the God of the country. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Babylon to instruct them in the Jewish religion. They were instructed partially from the books of Moses, but still retained many of their old rites and idolatrous customs, and embraced a religion made up of Judaism and idolatry, 2Ki_17:26-28.

The grounds of difference between the two nations were the following:

1. The Jews, after their return from Babylon, set about rebuilding their temple. The Samaritans offered to aid them. The Jews, however, perceiving that it was not from a love of true religion, but that they might obtain a part of the favors granted to the Jews by Cyrus, rejected their offer. The consequence was, that a stare of long and bitter animosity arose between them and the Jews.

2. While Nehemiah was engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans used every art to thwart him in his undertaking, Neh_6:1-14.

3. The Samaritans at length obtained leave of the Persian monarch to build a temple for themselves. This was erected on “Mount Gerizim,” and they strenuously contended that that was the place designated by Moses as the place where the nation should worship. Sanballat, the leader of the Samaritans, constituted his son-in-law, Manasses, high priest. The religion of the Samaritans thus became perpetuated, and an irreconcilable hatred arose between them and the Jews. See the notes at Joh_4:20.

4. Afterward Samaria became a place of resort for all the outlaws of Judea. They received willingly all the Jewish criminals and refugees from justice. The violators of the Jewish laws, and those who had been excommunicated, betook themselves for safety to Samaria, and greatly increased their numbers and the hatred which subsisted between the two nations.

5. The Samaritans received only the five books of Moses, and rejected the writings of the prophets and all the Jewish traditions. From these causes arose an irreconcilable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race Joh_8:48, and had no dealings with them, Joh_4:9.

Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterward John 4:6-26, and the apostles imitated his example, Act_8:25. The gospel was, however, first preached to the Jews.

ICC:Lk Plummer
34. προσελθών . This neither of the others seems to have done: they avoided coming near him. He was half-unconscious, and they wished to get past without being asked to help.

κατέδησεν τὰ τραύματα αὐτοῦ ἐπιχέων ἔλαιον καὶ οἶνον. These medical details would be specially interesting to Lk. “Bound up, pouring on, as he bound, oil and wine.” Neither compound occurs elsewhere in N.T. Comp, τραῦμα ἔστιν καταδῆσαι (Ecclus. 27:21); and, for ἐπιχέω, Gen_28:18; Lev_5:11. Oil and wine were recognized household remedies. The two were sometimes mixed and used as a salve for wounds. See evidence in Wetst. Both τραῦμα and τρανματίζω are pec. to Lk.

ἐπιβιβάσας δὲ αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον κτῆνος. The verb is peculiar to Lk. in N.T. (19:35; Act_23:24), but classical and freq. in LXX. Comp. ἐπιβιβάσατε τὸν υἱόν μου Σαλωμὼν ἐπὶ τὴν ἡμίονον τὴν ἐμήν (1Ki_1:33). Κτῆνος (κτάομαι) is lit. “property,” and so “cattle,” and especially a “beast of burden” (Act_23:24; 1Co_15:39; Rev_18:13). The πανδοχεῖον was probably a more substantial place of entertainment than a κατάλυμα: see on 2:7. The word occurs here only in bibl. Grk., and here only is stabulum used in the sense of “inn” : comp. stabularius in ver. 35. It is perhaps a colloquial word (Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Grk. p. 74). Attic πανδοκεῖον.

A.T. Robertson
Luke 10:34
Bound up his wounds (katedēsen ta traumata). First aorist active indicative of katadeō, old verb, but here only in the N.T. The verb means “bound down.” We say “bind up.” Medical detail that interested Luke. The word for “wounds” (traumata) here only in the N.T.

Pouring on them oil and wine (epicheōn elaion kai oinon). Old verb again, but here only in the N.T. Oil and wine were household remedies even for wounds (soothing oil, antiseptic alcohol). Hippocrates prescribed for ulcers: “Bind with soft wool, and sprinkle with wine and oil.”

Set him (epibibasas). An old verb epibibazō (epi, bibazō), to cause to mount. In the N.T. only here and Act_19:35; Act_23:24, common in lxx.

Beast (ktēnos). Old word from ktaomai, to acquire, and so property (ktēma) especially cattle or any beast of burden.

An inn (pandocheion). The old Attic form was pandokeion (from pan, all, and dechomai, to receive). A public place for receiving all comers and a more pretentious caravanserai than a kataluma like that in Luk_2:7. Here only in the N.T. There are ruins of two inns about halfway between Bethany and Jericho.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
35. took out] Literally, “throwing out” of his girdle.

two pence] i. e. two denarii; enough to pay for the man for some days. The Parable lends itself to the broader meaning which sees the state of mankind wounded by evil passions and spiritual enemies; left unhelped by systems of sacrifice and ceremonial (Gal_3:21); pitied and redeemed by Christ (Isa_61:1), and left to be provided for until His return by spiritual ministrations in the Church. But to see in the “two pence” any specific allusion to the Old and New Testaments, or to ‘the two sacraments,’ is to push to extravagance the elaboration of details.
to the host] The word occurs here only in the N. T., and the fact that in the Talmud the Greek word for ‘an inn with a host’ is adopted, seems to shew that the institution had come in with Greek customs. In earlier and simpler days the open hospitality of the East excluded the necessity for anything but ordinary khans.

ICC:Lk Plummer
36, 37. The Moral of the Parable. Christ not only forces the lawyer to answer his own question, but shows that it has been asked from the wrong point of view. For the question, “Who is my neighbour?” is substituted, “To whom am I neighbour? Whose claims on my neighbourly help do I recognize?” All the three were by proximity neighbours to the wounded man, and his claim was greater on the priest and Levite; but only the alien recognized any claim. The γεγονέναι is very significant, and implies this recognition: “became neighbour, proved neighbour”: comp. 19:17; Heb_11:6 “The neighbouring Jews became strangers, the stranger Samaritan became neighbour, to the wounded traveller. It is not place, but love, which makes neighbourhood” (Wordsworth). RV. is the only English Version which takes account of γεγονέναι: Vulg. Luth. and Beza all treat it as εἶναι.

Adam Clarke
Luke 10:37
He that showed mercy – Or, so much mercy. His prejudice would not permit him to name the Samaritan, yet his conscience obliged him to acknowledge that he was the only righteous person of the three.

Go, and do thou likewise – Be even to thy enemy in distress as kind, humane, and merciful, as this Samaritan was. As the distress was on the part of a Jew, and the relief was afforded by a Samaritan, the lawyer, to be consistent with the decision he had already given, must feel the force of our Lord’s inference, that it was his duty to act to any person, of whatever nation or religion he might be, as this Samaritan had acted toward his countryman. It is very likely that what our Lord relates here was a real matter of fact, and not a parable; otherwise the captious lawyer might have objected that no such case had ever existed, and that any inference drawn from it was only begging the question; but as he was, in all probability, in possession of the fact himself, he was forced to acknowledge the propriety of our Lord’s inference and advice.

Those who are determined to find something allegorical, even in the plainest portions of Scripture, affirm that the whole of this relation is to be allegorically considered; and, according to them, the following is the true exposition of the text.

The certain man means Adam – went down, his fall – from Jerusalem, יראה שלום yorih shalom, he shall see peace, perfection, etc., meaning his state of primitive innocence and excellence – to Jericho, (ירחי yareacho, his moon), the transitory and changeable state of existence in this world – thieves, sin and Satan – stripped, took away his righteousness, which was the clothing of the soul – wounded, infected his heart with all evil and hurtful desires, which are the wounds of the spirit – half dead, possessing a living body, carrying about a soul dead in sin.
The priest, the moral law – the Levite, the ceremonial law – passed by, either could not or would not afford any relief, because by the law is the knowledge of sin, not the cure of it. A certain Samaritan, Christ; for so he was called by the Jews, Joh_8:48 – as he journeyed, meaning his coming from heaven to earth; his being incarnated – came where he was, put himself in man’s place, and bore the punishment due to his sins – had compassion, it is through the love and compassion of Christ that the work of redemption was accomplished – went to him, Christ first seeks the sinner, who, through his miserable estate, is incapable of seeking or going to Christ – bound up his wounds, gives him comfortable promises, and draws him by his love – pouring in oil, pardoning mercy – wine, the consolations of the Holy Ghost – set him on his own beast, supported him entirely by his grace and goodness, so that he no longer lives, but Christ lives in him – took him to an inn, his Church, uniting him with his people – took care of him, placed him under the continual notice of his providence and love – when he departed, when he left the world and ascended to the Father – took out two pence, or denarii, the law and the Gospel; the one to convince of sin, the other to show how it is to be removed – gave them to the host, the ministers of the Gospel for the edification of the Church of Christ – take care of him, as they are Gods watchmen and God’s stewards, they are to watch over the flock of Christ, and give to each his portion of meat in due season. What thou spendest more, if thou shouldst lose thy health and life in this work – when I come again, to judge the world, I will repay thee, I will reward thee with an eternity of glory.

Several primitive and modern fathers treat the text in this way. What I have given before is, I believe, the meaning of our blessed Lord. What I have given here is generally true in itself, but certainly does not follow from the text. Mr. Baxter’s note here is good: “They who make the wounded man Adam, and the good Samaritan Christ, abuse the passage.” A practice of this kind cannot be too strongly reprehended. Men may take that advantage of the circumstances of the case to illustrate the above facts and doctrines; but let no man say this is the meaning of the relation; no: but he may say, we may make this use of it. Though I cannot recommend this kind of preaching, yet I know that some simple upright souls have been edified by it. I dare not forbid a man to work by whom God may choose to work a miracle, because he follows not with us. But such a mode of interpretation I can never recommend.

ICC:Lk Plummer
36, 37. The Moral of the Parable. Christ not only forces the lawyer to answer his own question, but shows that it has been asked from the wrong point of view. For the question, “Who is my neighbour?” is substituted, “To whom am I neighbour? Whose claims on my neighbourly help do I recognize?” All the three were by proximity neighbours to the wounded man, and his claim was greater on the priest and Levite; but only the alien recognized any claim. The γεγονέναι is very significant, and implies this recognition: “became neighbour, proved neighbour”: comp. 19:17; Heb_11:6 “The neighbouring Jews became strangers, the stranger Samaritan became neighbour, to the wounded traveller. It is not place, but love, which makes neighbourhood” (Wordsworth). RV. is the only English Version which takes account of γεγονέναι: Vulg. Luth. and Beza all treat it as εἶναι.

37. Ὁ ποιήσας τὸ ἔλεος μετʼ αὐτοῦ. The lawyer goes back to his own question, τί ποιήσας; He thereby avoids using the hateful name Samaritan: “He that showed the act of mercy upon him,” the ἔλεος related of him. Comp. ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν (1:72), and ἐμεγάλυνεν τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ μετʼ αὐτῆς (1:58). The phrase is Hebraistic, and in N.T. peculiar to Lk. (Act_14:27, Act_15:4): freq. in LXX (Gen_24:12; Jdg_1:24, Jdg_8:35, etc.).

Πορεύου καὶ σὺ ποίει ὁμοίως. Either, “Go; thou also do likewise”; or, “Go thou also; do likewise.” Chrysostom seems to take it in the latter way: πορεύου οὖν, φησί, καὶ σύ, καὶ ποίει ὁμοίως (xi. p. 109, B). There is a rather awkward asyndeton in either case; but καὶ σύ must be taken together. Comp. Mat_26:69; 2Sa_15:19; Oba_1:11. “Go, and do thou likewise” would be πορεύου καὶ ποίει σὺ ὁμοίως. Field, Otium Norvic. iii. p. 44. Note the pres. imperat. “Thou also habitually do likewise.” It is no single act, but lifelong conduct that is required. Also that καὶ ζήσῃ does not follow ποίει, as in ver. 28; perhaps because the parable says nothing about loving God, which does not come within its scope. It is an answer to the question, “Who is it that I ought to love as myself?” and we have no means of knowing that anything more than this is intended. Comp. 6:31.

The Fathers delight in mystical interpretations of the parable. For references and examples see Wordsw. Comm. in loco; Trench, Par. xvii. notes. Such things are permissible so long as they are not put forward as the meaning which the Propounder of the Parable designed to teach. That Christ Himself was a unique realiation of the Good Samaritan is unquestionable. That He intended the Good Samaritan to represent himself, in His dealings with fallen humanity, is more than we know.1

Albert Barnes
Luke 10:37
He that showed mercy – His “Jewish” prejudice would not permit him “to name” the Samaritan, but there was no impropriety, even in his view, in saying that the man who showed so much mercy was really the neighbor to the afflicted, and not he who “professed” to be his neighbor, but who would “do nothing” for his welfare.

Go, and do thou likewise – Show the same kindness to “all” – to friend and foe – and “then” you will have evidence that you keep the law, and not “till” then. Of this man we know nothing farther; but from this inimitably beautiful parable we may learn:

1. That the knowledge of the law is useful to make us acquainted with our own sinfulness and need of a Saviour.

2. That it is not he who “professes” most kindness that really loves us most, but he who will most deny himself that he may do us good in times of want.

3. That religion requires us to do good to “all” people, however “accidentally” we may become acquainted with their calamities.

4. That we should do good to our enemies. Real love to them will lead us to deny ourselves, and to sacrifice our own welfare, that we may help them in times of distress and alleviate their wants.

5. That he is really our neighbor who does us the most good – who helps us in our necessities, and especially if he does this when there has been “a controversy or difference” between us and him.

6. We hence see the beauty of religion. Nothing else will induce people to surmount their prejudices, to overcome opposition, and to do good to those who are at enmity with them. True religion teaches us to regard every man as our neighbor; prompts us to do good to all, to forget all national or sectional distinctions, and to aid all those who are in circumstances of poverty and want. If religion were valuable for nothing “but this,” it would be the most lovely and desirable principle on earth, and all, especially in their early years, should seek it. Nothing that a young person can gain will be so valuable as the feeling that regards all the world as one great family, and to learn early to do good to all.

7. The difference between the Jew and the Samaritan was a difference in “religion” and “religious opinion;” and from the example of the latter we may learn that, while people differ in “opinions” on subjects of religion, and while they are zealous for what they hold to be the truth, still they should treat each other kindly; that they should aid each other in necessity; and that they should thus show that religion is a principle superior to the love of sect, and that the cord which binds man to man is one that is to be sundered by no difference of opinion, that Christian kindness is to be marred by no forms of worship, and by no bigoted attachment for what we esteem the doctrines of the gospel.

George Haydock
Luke 10:34
This is the allegorical meaning of the parable: The man that fell among robbers, represents Adam and his posterity; Jerusalem, the state of peace and innocence, which man leaves by going down to Jericho, which means to moon, the state of trouble and sin: the robbers represent the devil, who stripped him of his supernatural gifts, and wounded him in his natural faculties: the priest and Levite represent the old law: the Samaritan, Christ; and the beast, his humanity. The inn means the Church; wine, the blood of Christ; oil, his mercy; whilst the host signifies St. Peter and his successors, the bishops and priests of the Church. (Origen, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and others)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s