Not mentioned in the essay (I haven't seen the article), but the first route, through Samaria, brings to mind the the story of the rejection of Jesus by the Samaritan village as he traveled to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56). I assume the article discusses the passage.
The essay also made me think of the parable of the "good Samaritan" (Luke 10:29-37). A Samaritan saves a Jewish man who was waylaid by bandits on his travels between Jerusalem and Jericho. The story is obviously meant to overturn stereotypes about the Samaritans. Was Jesus underlining the point by making a Samaritan (one of the dangerous people on the first route) the rescuer of someone assaulted on the supposedly safer second route?
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