John 8:8
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
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(8) And wrote on the ground.—The Cambridge MS. inserts, “with His finger,” as in John 8:6. The repeated action repeats His determination to avoid the office of judge. He has answered them, and He leaves His answer to do its work. There is a law written in their hearts, and this, while He now writes on the ground, is convicting them.

There is a strange addition at the end of the verse, in one of the older MSS. of this section, showing how men have tried to give a definite meaning to the action of writing. It reads, “and wrote on the ground the sin of each one of them.”

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.They continued asking him - They pressed the question upon him. They were determined to extort an answer from him, and showed a perseverance in evil which has been unhappily often imitated.

Is without sin - That is, without this particular sin; he who has not himself been guilty of this very crime - for in this place the connection evidently demands this meaning.

Let him first cast a stone at her - In the punishment by death, one of the witnesses threw the culprit from the scaffold, and the other threw the first stone, or rolled down a stone to crush him. See Deuteronomy 17:6-7. This was in order that the witness might feel his responsibility in giving evidence, as he was also to be the executioner. Jesus therefore put them to the test. Without pronouncing on her case, he directed them, if any of them were innocent, to perform the office of executioner. This was said, evidently, well knowing their guilt, and well knowing that no one would dare to do it.

8. again he stooped down and wrote—The design of this second stooping and writing on the ground was evidently to give her accusers an opportunity to slink away unobserved by Him, and so avoid an exposure to His eye which they could ill have stood. Accordingly it is added. When our Saviour had said this, he returneth to his former posture and action, (it being not a thing wherein he was concerned, who was not sent into the world to be a secular judge), as not at all regarding them. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. As before, having said enough to confound them; and yet unwilling to pursue the matter any further, or publicly expose them in any other way; and that they might have an opportunity of withdrawing themselves without any further notice of his, he took this method. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
John 8:8-9. Πάλιν, κ.τ.λ.] To indicate that He has nothing further to do with the case. According to Jerome[8] and Euthymius Zigabenus, “in order to give space to the questioners to take themselves away;” but this is not in keeping with John 8:6.

ἐξήρχοντο] descriptive imperfect.

εἷς καθʼ εἷς] Mark 14:19.

ἕως τ. ἐσχάτ.] is to be connected with εἷς καθʼ εἷς, ἀρξ. ἀπὸ τ. πρεσβ. being an intervening clause. See on Matthew 20:8.

The πρεσβύτεροι are the elders in years, not the elders of the people; for there would be no apparent reason why the latter should be the first who should have chosen to go away; besides, the elders of the people are not named along with the others in John 8:3. Those more advanced in years, on the other hand, were also thoughtful and prudent enough to go away first, instead of stopping to compromise themselves further.

ἕως τῶν ἐσχάτ.] attested as genuine by preponderating evidence. It does not refer to rank, the least (so most modern expositors, even Lücke, B. Crusius, De Wette, Maier, Lange), which the context does not sanction; the context (see εἷς καθʼ εἷς) leads us rather to render it ‘unto the last who went out,’ i.e. until all were gone. The feature that the eldest (who probably stood nearest to Jesus) were the first to go out, is characteristic and original; but that the going away took place in the order of rank, is a meaning imported into the words by the expositors. After ἀκούσ. the received text has καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς συνειδήσεως ἐλεγχόμενοι, a gloss opposed to very important witnesses; but as to the matter of fact, right enough.

μόνος ὁ Ἰησ., κ.τ.λ.] Augustine well says: “Relicta sunt duo, miseria et misericordia.” But it does not exclude the presence of the disciples and the crowds of lookers-on at a distance.

[8] According to whom Christ wrote the sins of His accusers and of all mortals!John 8:8. Having shot this arrow Jesus again stooped and continued writing on the ground, intimating that so far as He was concerned the matter was closed.8. again he stooped down] He again declines to have the office of judge thrust upon Him. The Reader of men’s hearts knew how His challenge must work: no one would respond to it.

and wrote on the ground] A Venetian MS. ascribed to the tenth century has the remarkable reading ‘wrote on the ground the sins of each one of them.’ The same strange idea appears in Jerome, shewing how soon men began to speculate as to what He wrote. Others suppose that He wrote His answer in John 8:7. As has been shewn (John 8:6), it is not certain that He wrote anything.
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