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5 Now' Moses in the law com- ground, as though he heard them manded us, that such should be not. stoned: but what sayest thou ? 7 So when they continued ask
6 This they said tempting him, ing him, he lifted up himself, and that they might have to accuse said unto them, He that is without him. But Jesus stooped down, sin among you, o let him first cast and with his finger wrote on the a stone at her.
1 Lev. xx. 10. Deut. xxii. 21-24. xvi. 38–40; xxiii. 47.
5. Moses in the law, &c. The punish- more wisdom and knowledge of human ment of adultery commanded by Moses nature displayed than in the manner in was death. Lev. xx. 10. Deut. xxii. 22. which it was met. Wrote on the The particular manner of the death was ground. This took place in the temi1100 specified in the law. The Jews had ple. The ground, here, means the parethemselves, in the time of Christ, deter- ment, or the dust on the pavement. BY mined that the mode should be by stoning. this, Jesus showed them clearly that See this described in the Notes on Matt. he was not solicitous to pronounce an xxi. 35, 44. The punishment for adul. opinion in the case, and that it was nos tery varied. In some cases it was strang- his wish or intention to intermeddle with ling. In the time of Ezekiel, Ezek. xvi. the civil affairs of the nation. As 38—40, it was stoning, and being thrust though he heard them not. This is added through with a sword. If the adulteress by the translators. It is not in the was the daughter of a priest, the punish- original, and should not have been added. ment was being burned to death.
There is no intimation in the original, as 6. Tempting him. Trying him, or lay- it seems to be implied by this addition, ing a plan that they might have occasion that the object was to convey the impres to accuse him. If he decided the case, sion that he did not hear them. What they expected to be able to bring an ac- was his object is unknown, and conjecture cusation against him. For if he decided is useless. The most probable reason that she ought to die, they might accuse seems to be that he did not wish to interhim of claiming power which belonged to meddle ; that he designed to show no the Romans, the power of life and death. solicitude to decide the case ; and that he They might allege that it was not the did not mean to decide it unless he was giving an opinion about an abstract case, constrained to do so. but that she was formally before him, that 7. They continued asking him. They he decided her case judicially, and that pressed the question upon him. Ther without authority or form of trial. If he were determined to extort an answer from decided otherwise, they would have al- him, and showed a perseverance in evii leged that he denied the authority of the which has been unhappily often imitated. law, and that it was his intention to abro-Is without sin. That is, without this gate it. They had had a controversy particular sin ; he who has not himself with him about the authority of the sab- been guilty of this very crime, for in this bath, and they perhaps supposed that he place the connexion evidently demands would decide this case as he did that, this meaning. T Let him first cast a against them. It may be further added, stone at her. In the punishment by that they knew that Jesus admitted pub- death, one of the witnesses threw the licans and sinners to eat with him ; that culprit from the scaffold, and the other one of their charges was that he was threw the first stone, or rolled down a friendly to sinners, see Luke xv. 2; and stone to crush him. See Deut. xvi. 6, 7. they wished, doubtless, to make it appear This was in order that the witness might that he was gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, feel his responsibility in giving evidence, and a friend of sinners, and disposed to as he was also to be the executioner. relax all the laws of morality, even in the Jesus, therefore, put them to the test. case of adultery. Seldom was there a Without pronouncing on her case, be plan more artfully laid, and never was directed them, if any of them were inno
8 And again he stooped down, where are those thine accusers ? and wrote on the ground.
hath no man condemned thee? 9 And they which heard it, 11 She said, No man, Lord being convicted by their own con- And Jesus said unto her, Neither science, went out one by one, be- do I condemn ? thee: go, and sin ginning at the eldest, even unto the ? last:' and Jesus was left alone, 12 Then spake Jesus again and the woman standing in the midst. unto them, saying, I am the light
10 When Jesus had lifted up of the world : he that 5 followeth himself, and saw none but the wo- me shall not walk in darkness, bui man, he said unto her, Woman, shall have the light of life. 1 Job v. 12, 13; XX. 5, 27. Psa. Ix. 15, 16; : Ch. iii. 17.
* Ch. i. 4-9; iii. 19; ix, 5. 5 Ch. xiL 35, 46.
3 Ch. v, 14.
lxxi. 13. Luke xiii. 17.
cent to perform the office of executioner. that he did not exercise it, and should This was said evidently well knowing not condemn her to die. In this sense their guilt, and well knowing that no one the word is used in the previous verse, would dare to do it.
and this is the only sense which the pas9. The eldest. As being conscious of sage demands. Besides, what follows more sins, and being desirous to leave the shows that this was his meaning. I Go, Lord Jesus. The word eldest here pro- and sin no more. You have sinned. bably refers not to age but to honour. You have been detected and accused. From those who were in highest reputa- The sin is great. But I do not claim tion to the lowest in rank. This con- power to condemn you to die, and as sciousness of crime showed that the state your accusets have left you, my direction of the public morals was exceedingly cor- to you is that you sin no more. This rupt, and justified the declaration of passage therefore teaches us : 1. That Jesus that it was an “ adulterous and Jesus claimed no civil authority. 2. wicked generation.” Matt. xvi. 4. ( Alone. That he regarded the action of which Jesus only was left with the woman, &c. they accused her as sin. 3. That he
In the midst. Her accusers had gone knew the hearts and lives of men. 4. out, and left Jesus and the woman. But That men are often very zealous in acit is by no means probable that the cusing others of that of which they thempeople had left them, and as this was in selves are guilty. And, 5. That Jesus was the temple on a public occasion, they endowed with wonderful wisdom in meetwere doubtless surrounded still by many. ing the devices of his enemies, and eluding This is evident from the fact that Jesus their deep-laid plans to involve him in immediately, ver. 12, addressed a dis- ruin. course to the people present.
It should be added that this passage, 10. No man condemned thee? Jesus together with the last verse of the prehad directed them, if innocent, to cast a ceding chapter, has been by many critics stone, thus to condemn her, or to use the thought to be spurious. It is wanting in power which he gave them to condemn many of the ancient manuscripts and her. No one of them had done that. versions, and has been rejected by ErasThey had accused her, but they had not mus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, proceeded to the act expressive of judicial | Tittman, Knapp, and many others. It is condemnation.
not easy to decide the question whether 11. Neither do I condemn thee. This it be a genuine part of the New Testais evidently to be taken in the sense of ment or not. Some have supposed that judicial condemnation, or of passing sen- it was not written by the evangelists, but tence as a magistrate ; for this was what was often related by them, and that after they had arraigned her for. It was not a time it was recorded, and introduced by to obtain his opinion about adultery, but Papias into the sacred text. to obtain the condemnation of this woman. 12. I am the light of the world. See As he claimed no civil authority, he said Note, ch. i. 4, 9.
13 The Pharisees therefore said 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I unto him, Thou? bearest record of 3 judge no man. thyself; thy record is not true. 16 And yet if I judge, . my
14 Jesus answered and said un- judgment is true: for 5 I am not to them, Though I bear record of alone, but I and the Father that myself, yet my record is true: for I sent me. know whence I came, and whither 17 It is also written 5 in your
go ; but ’ye cannot tell whence I law, that the testimony of two men come, and whither I go.
3 Ch. iii. 17; xii. 47. I Ch. v, 31-47. . Ch. vil. 28 ; ix. 29, xlv. 6, 7; lxxii. 2. 5 Ver. 29; ch. Iyi. 2.
41 Sam. xvi. 7. Pes
6 Deut. xvii. 6; xix. 15.
13. Thou bearest record of thyself. of the sovereign who sent him, and is Thou art a witness for thyself, or in thy competent to bear witness of them. The
See ch. v. 31. The law re- court to which he is sent has no way of quired two witnesses in a criminal case, judging but by his testimony, and he is and they alleged that as the only evidence therefore competent to testify in the case. which Jesus had was his own assertion, it All that can be demanded is that he gire could not be entitled to belief. q Is not his credentials that he is appointed ; and Irue. Is not worthy of belief, or is not this Jesus had done both by the nature of substantiated by sufficient evidence. his doctrine and his miracles.
14. Jesus answered, &c. To this ob- 15. After the flesh. According to apjection Jesus replied by saying, first, that pearance, according to your carnal and the case was such as that his testimony corrupt mode, not according to the alone ought to be received ; and secondly, spiritual nature of the doctrines. By your that he had the evidence given him by his preconceived opinions and prejudices you Father. Though in common life, in are determined not to believe that I am courts, and in mere human transactions, the Messiah. I judge no man. Jesus it was true that a man ought not to give came not to condemn the world, ch. IP. evidence in his own case, yet in this 17. They were in the habit of judging instance such was the nature of the case rashly and harshly of all. But this was that his word was worthy to be believed. not the purpose or disposition of the
My record. My evidence, my testi- Saviour. This expression is to be undemony. [ Is true. Is worthy to be stood as meaning that he judged no one believed. | For I know whence I came after their manner; he did not come to --but ye, &c. I know by what authority censure and condemn men after the apI act; I know by whom I am sent, and pearance, or in a harsh, biassed, and what commands were given me ; but you unkind manner. cannot determine this, for you do not 16. And yet if I judge. If I should know these unless I testify them to you. express my judgment of men, or things. We are to remember that Jesus came not He was not limited, or forbidden to judge, of himself, ch. vi. 38 ; that he came not or restrained by any fear that his judgto do his own will, but the will of his ment would be erroneous. My judgFather. He came as a witness of those ment is true. Is worthy to be regarded. things which he had seen and known, ch. / For I am not alone. I concur with m. 11, and no one could judge of those the Father who hath sent me. His judg things, for no man had seen them. As he ment you admit would be right, and my came from heaven, as he knew his judgment would accord with his. He was Father's will, as he had seen the eternal commissioned by his father, and his world, and known the counsels of his judgment would coincide with all that Father, so his testimony was worthy of God had purposed or revealed. This was confidence. As they had not seen and shown by the evidence that God gave known these things, they were not quali- that he had sent him into the world. fied to judge. An ambassador from a 17. In your law. Deut. xvii. 6; xix. foreign court knows the will and purposes | 15. Compare Matt. xvü. 16. This re18 I am one that bear witness 20 These words spake Jesus in of myself, and the Father 1 that the treasury, * as he taught in the sent me beareth witness of me. temple: and no man laid hands on
19 Then said they unto him, him; for 5 his hour was not yet Where is thy Father ? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor 21 Then said Jesus again unto my Father: if 3 ye had known me, them, I go my way,
6 shall ye should have known my Father seek me, and 7 shall die in your also.
1 Ch. v. 37. Ver. 55 ; ch. xvi. 3; xvii. 25. 3 Ch. xiv. 7, 9.
4 Mark xii. 41. 6 Ch. vii. 30. Ch. vii. 34. 7 Job xx. 11. Psa. lxxiii. 18-20. Prov. xiv. 32. Isa. lxv. 20. Eph. ii. l.
lated to cases in which the life of an indi- to the same thing, and are one in counsel,
the Messiah, you would also at the same 18. I am one that bear witness of my time have been acquainted with God. We self. In human courts a man is not may here observe: 1. The manner in which allowed to bear witness of himself, because Jesus answered them. He gave no heed he has a personal interest in the case, and to their cavil ; he was not irritated by the court could have no proof of the im- their contempt ; he preserved his dignity, partiality of the evidence. But in the and gave them
an answer worthy of the Son case of Jesus it was otherwise. When of God. 2. We should meet the cavils one has no party ends to serve, when he is and sneers of sinners in the same manner. willing to deny himself; when he makes We should not render railing for railing, great sacrifices ; and when by his life he but “in meekness instruct those that gives every evidence of sincerity, his own oppose themselves, if God peradventure testimony may be admitted in evidence of will give them repentance to the acknowhis motives and designs. This was the ledging of the truth.” 2 Tim.ï. 25. 3. The case with Jesus and his apostles. And way to know God is to know Jesus Christ. though in a legal or criminal case such Ch. i. 18. No sinner can have just views of testimony would not be admitted, yet in God but in Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. iv. 6. an argument on moral subjects, about the
20. The treasury. See Note, Matt. will and purpose of him who sent him, it xxi. 12. His hour was not yet come. would not be right to reject the testimony The time for him to die had not yet of one who gave so many proofs that he arrived, and God restrained them, and came from God. | The Father-beareth kept his life. This proves that God has uitness of me. By the voice at his bap- power over wicked men to keep them and tism, and by the miracles which Jesus control them, and to make them accomwrought, as well as by the prophecies of plish his own purposes. the Old Testament. We may here re- 21. I go my way. See Note, ch. vü. mark : 1. That there is a distinction 33. [ Ye shall die in your sins. That between the Father and the Son. They is, you will seek the Messiah. You will are both represented as bearing testimony. desire his coming. But the Messiah that Yet, 2. They are not divided. They are you expect will not come, and as you have not different beings. They bear testimony rejected me, and there is no other Saviour
sins : whither I go, ye
cannot 24 I said s therefore unto you. come.
that ye shall die in your sins : for 22 Then said the Jews, Will he if ye believe not that I am he, ye kill himself? Because he saith, shall die in your sins. Whither I go, ye cannot come. 25 Then said they unto him,
23 And he said unto them, o Ye Who art thou ? 5 And Jesus saith are from beneath; I am from above: unto them, 6 Even the same that ye are of this world ; I am not of I said unto you from the beginthis world.
3 Ver. 21 * Mark xvi. 16. Acts ir. 12. c. 1 Luke xvi. 26. ? Ch. i. 14; iii. 13, 31.
i. 19, 22 ; X. 24. Luke xxii. 67.
• Ver. 12; Rom. viii. 7, 8. 1 Cor. xv. 47, 48.
ch. v. 17, 19–47. you must die in your sins. You will die preted. | Ye are of this world. You unpardoned, and as you did not seek me think and act like the corrupt men of this where you might find me, you cannot world. I I am nol of this world. My come where I shall be. Observe, 1. All views are above these earthly and corrupt those who reject the Lord Jesus must die notions. The meaning of the verse i unforgiven. There is no way of salvation “Your reference to self-murder shows that but by him. See Notes on Acts iv. 12. you are earthly and corrupt in your views. 2. There will be a time when sinners will | You are governed by the mad passions of seek for a Saviour, but will find none. men, and can think only of these." We Often this is done, too late, in a dying see here how difficult it is to excite wicked moment; and in the future world they men to the contemplation of heavenly may seek a deliverer, but not be able to things. They interpret all things in a low find one.
3. Those who reject the Lord and corrupt sense, and suppose all others Jesus must perish. Where he is, they to be governed as they are themselves. cannot come. Where he is, is heaven. 24. That I am he. That I am the Where he is not, with his favour and Messiah. mercy, there is hell ; and the sinner that 25. Who art thou ? As Jesus did not has no Saviour must be wretched for ever. expressly say in the previous verse that he
22. Will he kill himself? It is difficult was the Messiah, they professed still not to know whether this question was asked to understand him. In great contemps, from ignorance, or malice. Self-murder therefore, they asked him who he was. was esteemed then, as it is now, as one of As if they had said, “Who art thou that the greatest crimes ; and it is not impro- undertakest to threaten us in this manner!" bable that they asked this question with When we remember that they regarded mingled hatred and contempt. He is a him as a mere pretender from Galilee, deceiver, he has broken the law of Moses, that he was poor, and without friends, and he is mad, and it is probable he will go on that he was persecuted by those in authoand kill himself. If this was their mean- rity, we cannot but admire the patience ing, we see the wonderful patience of Je- with which all this was borne, and the coolsus in enduring the contradiction of sin- ness with which he answered them. Even ners. And as he bore contempt without the same, &c. What he had professed to rendering railing for railing, so should we. them was, that he was the light of the
23. Ye are from beneath. The express world, ver. 12, that he was the bread that sion from beneath here is opposed to the came down from heaven, that he was sent phrase from above. It means, you are of by his father, &c. From all this they the earth, or are influenced by earthly, might easily gather that he claimed to be sensual, and corrupt passions. You are the Messiah. He assumed no new cha governed by the lowest and vilest views racter, he made no change in his profes and feelings, such as are opposed to sions, he is the same yesterday, to-day, heaven, and such as have their origin and for ever. And as he had once pro in earth or in hell. [I am from above. fessed to be the light of the world, so in From heaven. My views are heavenly, the face of contempt, persecution, and and my words should have been so inter- | death, he adhered to the profession.