These were highwaymen and not merely took the property, but endangered the life. They were "robbers." From Jerusalem to Jericho the country was rocky and mountainous, and in some parts scarcely inhabited. It afforded, therefore, among the rocks and fastnesses, a convenient place for highwaymen.
These thieves "stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." This was not an uncommon occurrence along that road. There were cell phones and no 911 to call. What would become of this dying stranger? Well, three religious men happened along that way.
A Priest, Levite, and a Samaritan - Luke 10:31-33
The priest was the highest religious leader in Israel. William G. Moorehead writes in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Priest:
It was in virtue of the priestly functions that the chosen people were brought into near relations with God and kept therein...In short, the priest was the indispensable source of religious knowledge for the people, and the channel through which spiritual life was communicated.
But what did he do when he came upon the suffering stranger? Jesus said, "When he saw him, he passed by on the other side" (Luke 10:31).
The Levites were:
descendants of Levi who served as assistants to the PRIESTS in the worship system of the nation of Israel. As a Levite, AARON and his sons and their descendants were charged with the responsibility of the priesthood-offering burnt offerings and leading the people in worship and confession. But all the other Levites who were not descended directly from Aaron were to serve as priestly assistants, taking care of the tabernacle and the Temple and performing other menial duties (Num 8:6)2.
So, the Levites were religious officials who worked closely with the Priests.
What did the Levite do when he saw the desperate stranger? Jesus said, "When he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side" Luke 10:32).
Next, a Samaritan happened by. Remember, the Samaritans were hated by the Jews. Surely he would requite this hate by ignoring the hapless Jew? Let us see. Jesus said in Luke 10:34, "When he saw him, he had compassion on him..."
He acted on his compassion by binding up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and setting him on his beast, and bringing him to an inn, and taking care of him Luke 10:34! His job is done. Now he drops him off at the inn and goes on his way leaving him to fend for himself, right? Uh, no.
Jesus said in Luke 10:30:
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Commentators are generally agreed that "two pence" was a day's wages in that day and enough to take care of the man for several days. And, he promised more when he returned, if necessary.