John 8:11
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
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(11) She said, No man, Lord.—She simply answers His question. There is no plea for forgiveness. There is no attempt at defence. We know not what passed in her heart; we know not what was written upon her countenance. We know not whether the word “Lord” was simply the “Sir” of courtesy, or whether it contained something of the reverence of worship. He knew all.

Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.—Or, more exactly, and be no longer a sinner. There is no expression of forgiveness or peace as we find in other cases. (Comp. Matthew 9:2; Luke 7:48.) He does not condemn her, for “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). His words must have come to her as words of mercy in contrast to the angry words of those who dragged her before Him. He does not condemn her, and yet by these words she must have been condemned more truly than by any words of accuser. He does not condemn her; and yet the very words which bid her go are the condemnation of her sin. (Comp. John 5:14.) As in the case of the woman of Samaria (John 4), there is something in the tone and manner of dealing with this woman which goes beyond all words; and as we read the narrative the heart completes the picture, and we feel it preserves for us a real incident in our Lord’s ministry of mercy. It is a mark of truthfulness that the narrative tells us no more. It has not the completeness of an apocryphal story. We feel we should like to know more. She passed from His presence as her accusers had before. What came afterwards to her and to them? Did she, in obedience to the words now heard, go forth to a new life, rising through penitence and faith to pardon, peace, purity? Did they who shrink from His presence now, so learn His words as to come to that Presence again, seeking not judgment on others, but pardon for themselves? Over all the veil is drawn. We may not trace the history of lives known only to themselves and to God; but the lessons are patent, and remain to condemn every human judgment of another’s sin; to condemn every sin in our own lives; to declare to every sinner the forgiveness which condemns not.

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.Neither do I condemn thee - This is evidently to be taken in the sense of judicial condemnation, or of passing sentence as a magistrate, for this was what they had arraigned her for. It was not to obtain his opinion about adultery, but to obtain the condemnation of the woman. As he claimed no civil authority, he said that he did not exercise it, and should not condemn her to die. In this sense the word is used in the previous verse, and this is the only sense which the passage demands. Besides, what follows shows that this was his meaning.

Go, and sin no more - You have sinned. You have been detected and accused. The sin is great. But I do not claim power to condemn you to die, and, as your accusers have left you, my direction to you is that you sin no more. This passage therefore teaches us:

1. that Jesus claimed no civil authority.

2. that he regarded the action of which they accused her as sin.

3. that he knew the hearts and lives of men.

4. that men are often very zealous in accusing others of that of which they themselves are guilty. And,

5. that Jesus was endowed with wonderful wisdom in meeting the devices of his enemies, and eluding their deep-laid plans to involve him in ruin.

It should be added that this passage, together with the last verse of the preceding chapter, has been by many critics thought to be spurious. It is wanting in many of the ancient manuscripts and versions, and has been rejected by Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Tittman, Knapp, and many others. It is not easy to decide the question whether it be a genuine part of the New Testament or not. Some have supposed that it was not written by the evangelists, but was often related by them, and that after a time it was recorded and introduced by Papias into the sacred text.

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). She tells him, None had. He replies, Neither did he. He did not acquit her, for he was not to make void the law of God; nor did he condemn her: he was neither a witness in the case, nor yet a secular judge, to whom such judgments did belong; he was only to speak to her, as the Mediator and Saviour of man.

Go, I discharge thee, as being coram non judice, before one who in my present capacity am no judge to hear this cause, and to give sentence in it.

Sin no more; whatever becometh of thee as to man’s judgment, thou hast reason to fear the greater judgment of God, if thou goest on in a course of sin. Nor doth he say, Commit adultery no more; but, sin no more. No partial repentance or sorrow for any particular sin will suffice a penitent that hopes for any mercy from God; but a leaving off all sin, of what kind soever it be.

She saith, no man, Lord,.... No man said a word to me, or lift up his hand against me, or moved a stone at me:

and Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee; Christ came not into the world to act the part of a civil magistrate, and therefore refused to arbitrate a case, or be concerned in dividing an inheritance between two brethren, Luke 12:13. Nor did he come into the world to condemn it, but that the world, through him, might be saved, John 3:17; nor would he pass any other sentence on this woman, than what he had done; nor would he inflict any punishment on her himself; but suitably and agreeably to his office; as a prophet, he declares against her sin, calls her to repentance, and bids her

go and sin no more; lest as he said to the man he cured at Bethesda's pool, a worse thing should come unto her. Wherefore the Jew (s) has no reason to object to this conduct of Christ, as if he acted contrary to the law, in Deuteronomy 13:5. "Thou shalt put the evil away from the midst of thee"; and also to the sanctions of all civil laws among men, which order the removal of evil, by putting delinquents to death; and he observes, that those that believe in him, do not follow him in this, but put adulterers and adulteresses to death; and that indeed, should his example and instructions take place, all courts of judicature must cease, and order be subverted among men: but it should be observed, that our Lord manifested a regard, even to the law of Moses, when he bid this woman's accusers that were without sin, to cast the first stone at her; though as for the law in Deuteronomy 13:5, that respects a false prophet, and not an adulterer or an adulteress; nor do the civil laws of all nations require death in the case of adultery; and did they, Christ here, neither by his words nor actions, contradicts and sets aside any such laws of God or man; he left this fact to be inquired into, examined, and judged, and sentence passed by proper persons, whose business it was: as for himself, his office was not that of a civil magistrate, but of a Saviour and Redeemer; and suitably to that he acted in this case; he did not connive at the sin, he reproved for it; nor did he deny that she ought to suffer according to the law of Moses, but rather suggests she ought; but as this was not his province, he did not take upon him to pronounce any sentence of condemnation on her; but called her to repentance, and, as the merciful and compassionate Saviour, gave her reason to hope pardon and eternal life.

(s) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 47. p. 435, 436.

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
John 8:11. And she said: “No one, Lord”.—Εἶπεἁμάρτανε. “Neither do I condemn thee,” that is, do not adjudge thee to stoning. That He did condemn her sin was shown in His words μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε. Therefore Augustine says: “Ergo et Dominus damnavit, sed peccatum, non hominem”.

11. No man, Lord] We must bear in mind that ‘Lord’ may be too strong a translation of the Greek word, which need not mean more than ‘Sir’ (see on John 6:34). But as we have no such ambiguous word in English, ‘Lord’ is best.

Neither do I condemn thee] He maintains in tenderness towards her the attitude which He had assumed in sternness towards her accusers: He declines the office of judge. He came not to condemn, but to seek and to save. And yet He did condemn, as S. Augustine remarks, not the woman, but the sin. With regard to the woman, though He does not condemn, yet He does not pardon: He does not say ‘thy sins have been forgiven thee’ (Matthew 9:2; Luke 7:48), or even ‘go in peace’ (Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48). “We must not apply in all cases a sentence, which requires His Divine knowledge to make it a just one” (Alford). He knew whether she was penitent or not.

go, and sin no more] Or, go and continue no longer in sin. The contrast between the mere negative declaration and the very positive exhortation is striking. See on John 5:14.

John 8:11. Πορεύου, go) He does not add, in peace; nor does He say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; but, hereafter sin no more: ch. John 5:14, [Jesus to the impotent man] “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

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