But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.” (Luke 10:33–35)
Previously we discussed some possible underlying reasons that both the Kohen and the Levite might have passed over the man left half dead in Yeshua’s parable. First, we looked at some halachic (legal) issues which seemed to justify their doing so. But then we followed that up with the Talmudic obligation to not pass over a possible corpse, based on a deeper look at the biblical prohibition against corpse contamination for the Kohen in Leviticus 21. Now we will turn to examine Yeshua’s choice of hero in this parable.
In Yeshua’s day, his audience would have understood the progression of Yeshua’s characters going from Kohen to Levite, and would have anticipated the last character to most likely be a common Israelite. However, Yeshua, the master story teller, puts an unexpected twist into the storyline by removing the anticipated character of the Israelite and replaces him with a Samaritan, one of the most unlikely candidates they could have imagined.