And by chance there came down a certain priest that way,
&c.] Who had been at Jerusalem, to take his turn in the courses, and was now returning to Jericho, where the stationary men were, to which he belonged: for it is said F20, that
``the former prophets appointed twenty and four courses; and for every course there was a station at Jerusalem, of priests, and of Levites, and of Israelites; and when the time of the course came to go up, the priests and Levites went up to Jerusalem. The Rabbins teach, that there were twenty four courses in the land of Israel, and there were twelve at Jericho.''And which is elsewhere F21 related thus;
``the former prophets appointed four and twenty courses, and for every course there was a station at Jerusalem, of priests, of Levites, and of Israelites; the tradition is, that four and twenty thousand were the station from Jerusalem, and half a station from Jericho; though Jericho was able to furnish out a perfect station itself; but for the sake of dividing the glory to Jerusalem, it produced but half a station.''So that it is no wonder to hear of priests and Levites passing to and fro in this road. Nor was this a chance matter with respect to God, by whose providence all things are ordered, directed, and governed; nor any wonderful thing with respect to men, which fell out in an uncommon way, beyond expectation; the phrase only signifies, that so it came to pass:
and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side:
when he saw him naked, and in such a bloody condition, he might take him for one really dead, and therefore crossed the way on purpose, lest he should any ways touch him, and be defiled by him, and so break the law, and incur the penalty of it, mentioned in ( Numbers 19:16 ) or to shun so horrible a sight; or rather, through hardness of heart, and want of compassion.
F20 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 27. 1.
F21 T. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 30. 3. & Taanith, fol. 67. 4.