John 8:10
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
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(10) Where are those thine accusers?—Here again the Cambridge MS. has a shorter reading—“Where are they?” “Hath no man condemned thee?” or, more exactly, Did no man condemn thee? The “man” is in contrast to “thine accusers” or “they.” “Of all who brought the charge against thee, was there not one to condemn thee?” The question is put to her to lead to thoughts of her sin. He has spoken words which have carried a lesson to them: he has now a lesson for her.

John 8:10-11. When Jesus saw none but the woman — None of those who had been soliciting his judgment, but only the woman they had brought before him; he said, Where are those thine accusers? — Is there no one remaining to bear witness against thee? hath no man condemned thee — Hath no judicial sentence been passed upon thee? She said, No man, Lord: Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee — Neither do I take upon me to pass any such sentence, nor to order thee to be punished at this time: but thou must not therefore think that I approve thy conduct. Thou hast committed a great sin, and I charge thee to beware of committing it any more. Let this deliverance lead thee to repentance. “The English word condemn,” says Dr. Campbell, “is used with so great a latitude of signification, for blaming, disapproving, as well as passing sentence against, that I thought it better, in order to avoid occasion of mistaking, to use a periphrasis, which hits exactly the meaning of the Greek word κατακρινω, in these two verses.” He therefore renders the expression in the former verse, Hath no man passed sentence upon thee? and in the latter, Neither do I pass sentence on thee. “In this transaction Jesus appears unspeakably great, having displayed on the occasion a degree of wisdom and knowledge, power and goodness, vastly more than human. His wisdom he showed in defending himself against the malicious attacks of his enemies; his knowledge, in discovering the invisible state of their minds; his power, in making use of their own secret thoughts and convictions, to disappoint their crafty intentions; and his goodness, in pitying, and not punishing instantly, one who had been guilty of an atrocious act of wickedness.” — Macknight.

8:1-11 Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and yet do the same thing. All who are any way called to blame the faults of others, are especially concerned to look to themselves, and keep themselves pure. In this matter Christ attended to the great work about which he came into the world, that was, to bring sinners to repentance; not to destroy, but to save. He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate's office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the soul with the same caution. Those are truly happy, whom Christ does not condemn. Christ's favour to us in the forgiveness of past sins should prevail with us, Go then, and sin no more.Hath no man condemned thee? - Jesus had directed them, if innocent, to cast a stone, thus to condemn her, or to use the power which he gave them to condemn her. No one of them had done that. They had accused her, but they had not proceeded to the act expressive of judicial condemnation. 10. Woman, &c.—What inimitable tenderness and grace! Conscious of her own guilt, and till now in the hands of men who had talked of stoning her, wondering at the skill with which her accusers had been dispersed, and the grace of the few words addressed to herself, she would be disposed to listen, with a reverence and teachableness before unknown, to our Lord's admonition. "And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more." He pronounces no pardon upon the woman (such as, "Thy sins are forgiven thee" [compare Lu 5:28; 7:48]—"Go in peace" [compare Mr 5:34; Lu 7:50; 8:48]), much less does He say that she had done nothing condemnable; He simply leaves the matter where it was. He meddles not with the magistrate's office, nor acts the Judge in any sense (Joh 12:47). But in saying, "Go and sin no more," which had been before said to one who undoubtedly believed (Joh 5:14), more is probably implied than expressed. If brought suddenly to conviction of sin, admiration of her Deliverer, and a willingness to be admonished and guided by Him, this call to begin a new life may have carried with it what would ensure and naturally bring about a permanent change. (This whole narrative is wanting in some of the earliest and most valuable manuscripts, and those which have it vary to some extent. The internal evidence in its favor is almost overpowering. It is easy to account for its omission, though genuine; but if not so, it is next to impossible to account for its insertion). The close of the former verse told us, that though the scribes and Pharisees were gone, yet the woman was left in the midst, expecting Christ’s sentence. Christ knew well enough that the scribes and Pharisees, this poor woman’s accusers, were gone; but yet he acts warily, and calls for her accusers, and asks if no man had condemned her? Thereby intimating, that the law against adultery was a just law; and if the crime were proved against her, she deserved to die; but she must first be convicted, and condemned. He asks her, If she were condemned? For then he had nothing to say.

When Jesus had lift himself up,.... From the earth, towards which he stooped, and on which he had been writing:

and saw none but the woman; that is, none of those that had brought her there, and had accused her to him:

he said unto her, woman, where are those thine accusers? the Syriac and Arabic versions read only, "where are these?" these men, that brought thee here, and charged thee with this crime:

hath no man condemned thee? has no one offered to do unto thee what I proposed? what, not one that could take up a stone, and cast at thee? was there not one of them free from this sin? could no man take upon him to execute this sentence?

{3} When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

(3) Christ would not take upon himself the office of the civil magistrate: he was content to bring sinners to faith and repentance.

John 8:10-11. Οἱ κατήγ.] who have accused thee to me, as if I were to be judge.

οὐδείς] is emphatic: Has no one condemned thee? Has no one declared that thou art to be stoned? Were it not so, they would not have left the woman to go free, and all of them gone away. The κατέκρινεν here designates the sententia damnatoria, not as a judicial sentence (for the γραμματεῖς and Pharisees had come merely as asking a question concerning a matter of law or right), but simply as the judgment of an individual.

οὐδὲ ἐγώ σε κατακρ.: I also do not condemn thee. This is not the declaration of the forgiveness of sin, as in Matthew 9:2, Luke 7:48, and cannot therefore justly be urged against the historical genuineness of the narrative (see, in particular, Hengstenberg); nor is it a mere declinature of judicial competency, which would be out of keeping with the preceding question, and with the admonition that follows: on the contrary, it is a refusal to condemn, spoken in the consciousness of His Messianic calling, according to which He had not come to condemn, but to seek and save the lost (John 3:17, John 12:46; Matthew 18:11); not to cast out sinners; “not to quench the smoking flax,” etc. He accordingly does in this case what by His office He is called to do, namely, to awaken and give room for repentance[9] in the sinner, instead of condemning; for He dismisses her with the admonition μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε. Augustine well says: “Ergo et Dominus damnavit, sed peccatum, non hominem.” How striking the force of the negative declaration and the positive admonition!

In connection with the marriage law, it is clear from this passage that, in the case of adultery, repentance on the part of the guilty party makes the continuance of the marriage allowable.

John 8:10. ἀνακύψας … Jesus, lifting His head and seeing that the woman was left alone, says to her: Ἡ γυνήκατέκρινεν; “Woman,” nominative for vocative, as frequently, but see critical note, “where are they? Did no man condemn thee?” That is, has no one shown himself ready to begin the stoning?

10. none but the woman] The word for ‘but’ or ‘except’ occurs nowhere in S. John’s writings excepting Revelation 2:25; frequently in S. Luke, five times in S. Matthew, five times in S. Paul’s Epistles, once in S. Mark, and nowhere else.

hath no man condemned thee?] Literally, Did no man condemn thee? But here the English perfect may idiomatically represent the Greek aorist; see on John 8:29. The word for ‘condemn’ is a compound not found anywhere in S. John’s writings, but occurring nine times in the Synoptists. S. John uses the simple verb, which means ‘judge,’ but often acquires the notion of judging unfavourably from the context (see on John 3:17 and John 5:29).

John 8:10. Καὶ μηδένα θεασάμενος πλὴν τῆς γυναικός) The preposition πλήν, which is employed by John in no passage of all his writings, betrays the fact of these words being a gloss unknown to the ancients: he has everywhere expressed the force of that preposition by some other word.[218]—ἐκεῖνοι, those) They had now fled far away.

[218] Therefore Beng. here clearly approves of the omission of this clause (which the larger Ed. had less sanctioned), along with 2 Ed., and also the Vers. Germ.—E. B. [D Vulg. and several Versions, and Ambrose and Augustine, all omit the words.—E. and T.]

Verses 10, 11. - And Jesus lifted up himself, and said to her, Where are they? (these thy accusers). The question (with or without the additions) implied that our Lord had not seen the obvious effect of his words upon the accusing party. There was no triumph in his eye, no flush of victory over his enemies. Hath no one condemned thee? pronounced upon thee the sentence of condemnation? Has no one declared that thine is a case of stoning? - No one? Then the judgment has yet to be uttered, if it be left with him. Shall he cast the first stone; and leave the multitude, having tasted blood, to complete the terrible work? She said, No one, Lord. And he said (to her), Neither do I condemn thee. He had not come to condemn, but to save. A time is coming when the Father would commit all judgment into his hands - when his awful word, "I know you not," or "Depart from me," will be the signal of doom. But now his mission is to heal, not to wound; to comfort, not to punish; to reveal the heart of God, not to execute the crude judgments of men; to soothe, not to stone. He does not say, "Be of good courage; thy sins are forgiven." he does not say, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; Her faith hath saved her;" but, Go, and henceforth sin no more. He justifies the position that he will not quench the smoking flax nor break the bruised reed. He condemns the sin, but for a while spares the sinner. He refuses to set up his judgment against Moses, or take into his human hands the administration of civil or political law. He does not say, "Go in peace," or "Go to peace;" but from this moment, this awful "now" (ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν), "sin no more." The reticence and abruptness of the narrator are not like the style of apocryphal writers. Such a narrative could not have been invented by the second-century disciples, by docetic Ebionites, by the ordinary fabricators of apocryphal literature. If the text is so varied, conflicting, and ill-sustained as to envelop it in doubt; if the place in the gospel narrative be uncertain; if the use of a few words suggests a non-Johannine source; and if the position between John 7:52 and John 8:12 be difficult to accept; - there is yet nothing inconsistent with the Johannine teaching, or the sublime and unapproachable originality of the character of the Johannine Christ. The narrative will remain for all time an illustration of the blending of judgment with mercy, which has received its highest expression in the life work and Person of the Christ. John 8:10
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