Luke 10:26, Loving Both Neighbor and Enemy

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

//In her latest book Short Stories By Jesus, Amy Jill-Levine pointed out something interesting, and I’m still trying to decide if it’s relevant. She was discussing the parable of the Good Samaritan. A lawyer came to Jesus asking who his neighbor is. The Law commands that he love his neighbor, so he wants to know who he is supposed to love.

Jesus asks the lawyer what he reads in the Law. “How readest thou?” Then he launches into a story of how a Samaritan had compassion for his enemy, a Jew.

It turns out that in Hebrew, the words “neighbor” and “evil” share the same consonants, and since biblical Hebrew is written without vowels, the two words are written identically. “How readest thou?” Jesus asks. Amy wonders if Jesus isn’t asking the lawyer, “Are you able to see in your Torah that your enemy is also your neighbor?”

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