Not only did this "ignorant carpenter" confound them by quoting the law exactly, He wrote it out perfectly, upside down and backwards so that all who were facing Him could plainly read it!
7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
The power of this rebuke has stood as an indictment of man's hypocrisy down through the ages. Regardless of what Jesus wrote, you can see that it broke them, totally shattering their unity. With one stroke they went from being vicious accusers to being helpless sinners facing the judgment of an angry God.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
The bible says "let every word be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses." (2nd Corinthians 13:1) So now Jesus writes out a second scripture. This time it was Deuteronomy 22:22.
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Notice that in both of these scriptures the man is mentioned first and that both parties are guilty of death! Also note that stoning is not mentioned. That's where the Pharisees lied!
At this point, we recall that the scribes were those whose task was to copy out the scriptures. So they should be expected to know what the Law said. The Pharisees were especially noted for memorizing the five books of Moses. But what have they done here? They have shown themselves to be liars, and incompetents in front of all the people. First of all they were liars for misquoting Moses whose disciples they claimed to be. Experts in the Law who don't even know what the Law says?
And then they show themselves to be incompetent to rule over the people by not bringing in both guilty parties! They claimed to have caught her in the very act, so they must have caught him as well! Even though they had taken captive a prisoner who was known to be guilty, they let the other guilty party go free! So there was no way for them to execute judgment or even to make their accusation stick according to the law of Moses!
Now after Jesus spoke the words "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" He continued to write. While that was sinking in, the second scripture completed the proof that none of the accusers were without sin! Perhaps there was an element of sarcasm in his voice as he said it! As if to say, 'here by quoting the law, I have exposed your sin. Now which of you has the nerve to claim he is without sin?' In other words Jesus has exposed their sin and they could not stand before God with sin.
Let's look at one more aspect of this. Speaking of witnesses and the sentence of death consider this passage from Deuteronomy.
2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
[Here we note that the context is speaking of those who go to serve and worship other gods, i. e. spiritual adultery.] What this tells us is that those who witnessed the crime must be the ones to "first cast a stone at her". These Pharisees have told Jesus that "this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act." So Jesus Challenges them, saying, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." What this does is call for two or more of them to come forth and claim to be witnesses of the act. If they come forth with such an accusation, it becomes obvious that they know the identity of the other guilty party in the adultery. And as we noted above they have failed to accuse the other party, knowing full well who he is, having witnessed the act themselves. So if they claim to be witnesses they are not without sin, having failed to deal with both guilty persons. The result is that the accuser of the brethren is automatically guilty of sin!
Here is the prayer of the woman at this point.
Ps 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
Ps 119:175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. Ps 69:18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
Ps 40:14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
You will notice that the prayer shifts to imprecation, calling for judgment on one's enemies. And that's exactly what Jesus accomplishes in verse 9. It's no wonder they all left, after being rebuked and corrected in matters of the Law. They were utterly embarrassed! And when they were convicted of sin, they were unwilling to repent before the only one who had the power to forgive sin. "Who is this thatforgiveth sins...?!" (Luke 7:49)
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
They left one by one, showing that their unity was shattered. The eldest left first. The leaders were first to realize that they had just made total fools of themselves.
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