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The "Robbers" gang of unnamed thieves act as the antagonists of the famous Biblical parable, the Good Samaritan, like many of Jesus' parables the events were fictional but symbolic - in Biblical times there was a very real threat of roaming bandits and the story of the Good Samaritan would of been easily recognizable by people of the area, who would know of encounters by bandits and how dangerous certain roads were to travel alone.
Role in the Parable
According to most accounts of the tale a man was traveling on a road when he was set upon by a gang of robbers, who proceeded to beat him near-to-death, rob him of all valuables and even strip him naked - after beating and robbing their victim the gang tossed his broken body to the side of the road to die and returned to the desert.
The tale quickly changes focus on the plight of the victim, who is seen by a priest and a Levite, yet neither stop to aid him - at last a Samaritan arrives and took pity upon him, risking his own safety as he stopped and tended to the victim before taking him to safety.
The robbers are never truly punished for their crimes, due to the nature of the traveling gangs in Biblical times it was likely they evaded capture and continued to pillage but their role in the parable was simply to mug the victim and provide a means for the Good Samaritan to be introduced.
the robbers serve as a cruel reminder of human savagery, as is the inaction of the priest and Levite, leaving a broken man to die - this malevolence is countered by the arrival of the Good Samaritan, who Jesus uses to teach others the importance of benevolence towards others, especially when they are in need of aid.
- Good Samaritan (the titular hero of the parable, is often seen as symbolic of human compassion, his selfess actions are in direct opposition to the malevolence of the robbers (and the indifference of several passer-byes).