Luke 10:29

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:29 in Other Translations

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Luke 10:29 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 10:29

But he willing to justify himself
Upon the foot of his own righteousness, and to make himself appear to be righteous to others; for this the Jews thought themselves able to do, both to justify themselves before God by their own works, and make it out to men, that they were truly righteous persons; and it is a maxim with them, that

``every one (wmue ta qydumh) that justifies himself, below (on earth), they justify him above (or in heaven) F11.''

No wonder then that this man was desirous of justifying himself; and in order to which

he said, and who is my neighbour?
he takes no notice of God, and love to him, as coming into the account of his justification, only of his neighbour; thinking when this question was answered, he should be very able to make it out, that he was not wanting neither in doing justice between himself and his neighbour, nor in showing kindness and beneficence to him; for by his neighbour he meant only an Israelite; one of the same nation and religion with him. So the Jews commonly interpret the word neighbour, either of one that is related to them in nature, (wbwrq) , that is, near akin to them in blood F12; or that professes the same religion as they do, and whom they call a neighbour in the law; and so they explain the passage now cited, "and thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself", (hrwtb Ker awhv) ; "that is, who is thy neighbour in the law" F13: for they will not allow a Gentile, no, not even a proselyte of the gate to be a neighbour: for thus they say F14,

``an Israelite that slays a proselyte of the gate, or the stranger that dwells with him, is not slain for him by the sanhedrim; for it is said, ( Exodus 21:14 ) but if a man comes presumptuously upon his neighbour to slay him and there is no need to say he is not slain for a Gentile.''

And again F15,

``when a man sees one of them (the Gentiles) fall into the sea, he need not take him up; as it is said, ( Leviticus 19:16 ) "neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour", (Ker hz Nyaw) "but this is not thy neighbour."''

This notion Christ opposes and disproves in the following parable, which is an answer to the lawyer's question.


F11 T. Bab. Tasnith, fol. 8. 1.
F12 Kimchi in Psal. xv. 3.
F13 Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 9.
F14 Maimon. Hilch. Rotzeach, c. 2. sect. 11.
F15 Ib. c. 4. sect. 11.

Luke 10:29 In-Context

27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

Cross References 1

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