John 8:3
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
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(3) And the scribes and Pharisees . . .—This is the common phrase of the earlier Gospels, but “the scribes” are never named by St. John. His word to denote the hierarchy in their opposition to Christ is “the Jews.” (See Note on John 1:19.)

John 8:3-4. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman, &c. — While he was thus employed, the scribes and Pharisees set a woman before him, that had been taken in the act of adultery; and standing round him, desired his opinion of the affair, which, it appears from John 8:6, they did with an insidious intention. “Probably,” says Dr. Macknight, “the Romans had modelled the laws of Judea according to the jurisprudence of Rome, and in particular had mitigated the severity of the punishment of the adulteress. Wherefore, if Jesus should say that the law of Moses ought to be executed upon this adulteress, the Pharisees hoped the people would stone her immediately, which would afford them an opportunity of accusing him before the governor, as a mover of sedition. But, if he should determine that the innovations practised by the Romans in such cases should take place, they resolved to represent him to the people as one who made void the law out of complaisance to their heathen masters. This their craft and wickedness Jesus fully knew, and regulated his conduct towards these depraved hypocrites accordingly, for he made them no answer.”

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.Mount of Olives - The mountain about a mile directly east of Jerusalem. See the notes at Matthew 21:1. This was the place in which he probably often passed the night when attending the feasts at Jerusalem. The Garden of Gethsemane, to which he was accustomed to resort John 18:2, was on the western side of that mountain, and Bethany, the abode of Martha and Mary, on its east side, John 11:1. 3-6. scribes and Pharisees—foiled in their yesterday's attempt, and hoping to succeed better in this. There were (as they say) three sorts of scribes amongst the Jews. The first were secretaries to princes and great men; so Sheva was scribe to David, 2 Samuel 20:25. A second sort were such as we call scriveners, or public notaries, who made instruments for people, and were employed in their more private bargains and contracts. Neither of these seem to have been of authority enough to have done this act; and besides, the Pharisees being joined with them makes it evident, that these scribes were those who expounded the law in the temple and in the synagogues, and are therefore called lawyers. They are often joined with the Pharisees in our Saviour’s discourses, Matthew 23:13-15, &c. And we find them often joining with them in their discourses and actions, tending to entrap our Saviour: such was their design at this time.

And the Scribes and Pharisees,.... The members of the sanhedrim, who had been so miserably disappointed the day before, were no less diligent and industrious in their wicked way, seeking all opportunities, and taking all advantages against Christ; and fancying they had got something whereby to ensnare him, and bring him into disgrace or danger, they pursue it; and

brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; who, as some conjecture, might have been taken in it the day before, in one of their booths; being drawn into it through intemperance and carnal mirth, which at this feast they greatly indulged themselves in; which shows, that they were far from drawing the Holy Ghost at this time upon them; that on the contrary, they fell into the hands, and under the power of the unclean spirit: who this woman was, is not material to know; what is pretended to be taken out of the annals of the Spanish Jews, is no doubt a fable; that she was the wife of one Manasseh of Jerusalem, an old man, whose name was Susanna (d):

and when they had set her in the midst; of the company, as the Persic version reads, to be seen by all the people. This history of the woman taken in adultery, is wanting in the Alexandrian copy, and in other ancient copies; nor is it in Nonnus, Chrysostom, and Theophylact; nor in any of the editions of the Syriac version, until it was restored by De Dieu, from a copy of Archbishop Usher's; but was in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, and in the Harmonies of Tatian and Ammonius; the former of which lived about the year 160, and so within 60 years, or thereabouts, of the death of the Evangelist John, and the other about the year 230; it was also in Stephens's sixteen ancient Greek copies, and in all Beza's seventeen, excepting one; nor need the authenticness of it be doubted of; Eusebius (e) says, it is in the Gospel according to the Hebrews; nor should its authority be called in question.

(d) Vid. Selden. Uxor Hebr. l. 3. c. 11. p. 377. (e) Hist. Ecless. l. 3. c. 39.

{1} And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

(1) While the wicked go about to make a snare for good men, they make a snare for themselves.

John 8:3. ἄγουσι δὲ οἱ γραμματεῖςκατειλημμένην. The scribes and the Pharisees, who in the synoptics regularly appear as the enemies of Jesus, bring to Him a woman taken in adultery. In itself an unlawful thing to do, for they had a court in which the woman might have been tried. Obviously it was to find occasion against Him that they brought her; see John 8:6. They knew He was prone to forgive sinners.—καὶ στήσαντεςτί λέγεις; “And having set her in the midst,” where she could be well seen by all; a needless and shameless preliminary, “they say to Him, Teacher,” appealing to Him with an appearance of deference, “this woman here has been apprehended in adultery in the very act”. ἐπʼ αὐτοφώρῳ is the better reading. Originally meaning “caught in the act of theft” (φώρ), it came to mean generally “caught in the act,” red-hand. But also, as the instances cited by Kypke show, it frequently meant “on incontrovertible evidence,” “manifestly”. Thus in Xen., Symp., iii. 13, ἐπʼ αὐτοφώρῳ εἴλημμαι πλουσιώτατος ὤν, I am evidently convicted of being the richest. See also Wetstein and Elsner.

3. the scribes and Pharisees] This phrase is used thrice by S. Luke, once each by S. Matthew and S. Mark. S. John nowhere mentions the scribes: he speaks of the hierarchy as ‘the chief priests’ or ‘rulers’ with or without ‘the Pharisees,’ or else simply as ‘the Jews.’ Here we are probably not to understand an official deputation from the Sanhedrin: there is nothing to shew that the woman had been taken before the Sanhedrin before being brought to Christ.

brought unto him] Literally, bring unto Him. The bringing her was a wanton outrage both on her and on all generous and modest spectators. She might have been detained while the case was referred to Christ. The statement ‘in the very act’ is another piece of brutal indelicacy; and the Greek verb, hath been taken, adds to this.

John 8:3. Κατειλημένην) תפש, Septuag. καταλαμβάνειν· but at Numbers 5:13, and more frequently, συλλαμβάνειν.

Verse 3. - And the scribes and Pharisees are bringing - dragging by main force - (to him) a woman taken in adultery; and, having caused her - forced her, notwithstanding the hideous shame of her discovery - to stand in the midst, they say unto him, Master. The "scribes" are not elsewhere referred to in John's Gospel, although the phrase, "scribes and Pharisees," is very frequently used in the synoptic Gospels for the opponents of our Lord and the subjects of his invective. They come together in the final scenes as combining to thwart and tempt him. John refers to "Pharisees" twenty times, and four times in connection with the "priests;" but never with the "scribes." The scribes are elsewhere in the New Testament spoken of as νομικοί or νομοδιδάσκαλοι, and also as "rabbis" in the Mishna. The scribes and Pharisees are no deputation from the Sanhedrin, nor are they representatives of the party of Zealots, as some have pretended. There is no indication of any mere sectional animosity or of any genuine desire to receive an authoritative or prophetic response to their inquiry. The Sanhedrin itself would certainly not have condescended at this epoch to have submitted any question of its own action to the arbitrament of Jesus. Numerous witnesses of the act of adultery are inconceivable, though in the excitement and confusion of the Feast of Tabernacles in a crowded city and suburbs, this may have been more feasible than might otherwise be supposed. The probability is that the act was undeniably committed in such a way as to bring this woman under the cognizance of these reformers or defenders of the theocracy who cropped up on all sides, and that a group of bigots scow at once that capital might be made for their antagonism to Jesus by proposing to him a query which would, however it might be answered, lower his prestige. According to ver. 10 (omitted in Codex B), these scribes and Pharisees were, if not the "witnesses" of adultery, the "accusers" ready to take the case before the highest court. Considering the long desuetude of the Law, and the impossibility of even the Sanhedrin legally inflicting the penalty of stoning, even if it were so disposed, the whole question looks like a subtle but ill-considered plot to entangle the Lord in his judgments, and to induce him to sacrifice his influence with the people. The absence of the guilty man is noteworthy (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). John 8:3
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