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27. And he, answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
The first of these precepts you find in Deuteronomy, vi. 5. It enjoins the supreme love of God, in a variety of phrases, not to express different ideas, but to convey the same thing more strongly. The second precept, relating to the love of our neighbour, does not immediately follow the first, but is found in a different place; Lev, xix. 18.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.
Thou shalt possess eternal life: for whoever loves God and his neighbour, in the manner prescribed in these precepts, cannot fail to perform every other duty which he owes to each.
29. But he, he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
He proposed this question, in order to vindicate himself from the imputation of not understanding the law which he professed to teach; for he had something to offer upon the question, who is my neighbour? which would prove his skill in expounding the law. The observation which he intended to make was probably this, which corresponded with the language of the Pharisees upon this subject, that no one was a neighbour but a native Israelite. The answer of Jesus, therefore, is directed to remove this prejudice, by showing that strangers, and persons of different religious opinions from ourselves, are intitled to our assistance, when in distress, no less than persons of the same country, and of the
same religious sect. This sentiment he endeavours to inculcate by a beautiful parable; an ancient and inof fensive method of conveying instruction.
30. And Jesus, answering, said; A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho ;
Some better render this clause, by admitting that the evangelist has made a slight transposition of words, A certain man of Jerusalem went down to Jericho: for the story requires that this man should be a Jew, which does not at all appear from the common translation: for a stranger might go down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
And fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him halfdead.
The scene of this parable is very properly laid in the road from Jerusalem to Jericho: for the country was mountainous, and adapted to the purposes of robbers. Dr. Shaw tells us that one of the passes is still called the mountain of blood, or the bloody road; probably, from the murders committed there. While the traveller lay in this wretched condition, two persons passed by, from whose compassion he might have expected relief, but who did not afford him any.
31. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side, "on the further side."
32. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came, and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
A priest and a Levite were persons who taught the law to others, and could not but know that it enjoined compassion; nor had they, in this instance, any of those excuses to offer for their inhumanity which they might be disposed to plead for the person who called for their assistance was not a Samaritan or a Gentile, but an Israelite and a brother; in the most wretched condition to which a human being could be reduced; yet they passed by him without pity, or without feeling so much compassion as was sufficient to induce them to take the trouble of giving him assistance. But mercy is sometimes found where we had least reason to expect it, and appears to be wanting where we seemed authorized to look for it. Those tender offices of humanity are performed by a stranger, which were denied by a priest and a Levite.
33. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
The person before him was a Jew, a man of a foreign nation and of a different religion from his own, whom he had been taught to regard with the deepest hatred from his infancy, and who would perhaps have been little disposed to give him relief in like circumstances. Powerful arguments these for disregarding him! Yet when he saw his distress; when he perceived a fellowcreature naked and wounded, and dying upon the public road, his humanity overcame them all: he was deeply affected with his condition.
34. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, tearing his own clothes for the purpose, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast,
Oil and wine have great virtue in healing wounds, and were part of the provisions which travellers carried with them on their journey. He chose to submit to the inconvenience of walking himself, in order that he might accommodate this distressed stranger,
And brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence*, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Being obliged to leave him the next day, he endeavours to secure him attention when he is gone, by giving the host as much money as he could then spare, to provide necessaries; and, as he was apprehensive this might not be sufficient, by binding himself to repay whatever more might be expended. Without entering into this engagement, he was afraid that the mercenary disposition of the host might lead him to refuse what was wanted. Jesus, having finished the parable, turns to the expounder of the law, and asks him, which of the three, he thought, had acted the part of a neighbour.
36. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37. And he said, He that showed mercy on him.
The case is so plain that he is compelled, in opposition to his own opinions and most inveterate prejudices, to acknowledge that the character of neighbour belonged to the Samaritan.
Then Jesus said unto him, Go and do thou likewise.
This teacher of the law thought that no one was to be considered as a neighbour, who was not of the same country, and did not profess the same religion, with himself. But Jesus, by exhorting him to imitate the con
* See note on Matt. xx. 2.
duct of the good Samaritan, who had shown compassion to a Jew in distress, directs him to regard every man as his neighbour who stands in need of his assistance, and to afford him all the kind services in his power, however separated from him by country or religious opinions.
38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman, named Martha, received him into her house.
This village was Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem, and the place where Jesus afterward raised from the dead Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. As they made an entertainment for Jesus and his disciples, it is probable that they were persons of some property. Luke has inserted the story in this place, although it did not happen till afterwards for we find him speaking of the arrival of Jesus at Bethany, xix. 29.
39. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
Jesus took every opportunity of communicating his doctrine, when persons were disposed to hear him; and Mary was glad of an occasion of placing herself in the position of a disciple to attend to his words: for sitting at the feet was the usual posture of disciples, when listening to the instructions of a teacher; as we find from what Paul says, Acts xxiii. 3, that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. But Martha, being anxious to testify her respect for Jesus, by providing a handsome entertainment for him, was displeased to find that the whole work was left to her, and therefore complains to Jesus of her sister's conduct, and desires him to direct her to give assistance.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him and said, Lord, "Master," dost thou