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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

The Woman Caught in Adultery (Jn. 7:53-8:11)

(An Investigation & Reexamination)
PDF Version


The beloved story of an Adulteress (John 7:53 to 8:11) being forgiven resounds in the hearts of the public. The phrase, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," becomes a new penetrating doctrine; an unconditional doctrine of love. Overtime we discovered that this section of scripture does not appear in the second and third century manuscripts (which is footnoted in Bibles) meaning it was added to the text; it is not from the mouth of Yahweh. (See Appendix A) We might then say, we agree with ones who have said, "The story itself has justly seemed to vouch for its own internal truth, and the words in which it is clothed to harmonize with other Gospel narratives." Could this well beloved account actually be a darnel sowed among the wheat?   Heresy, you might say! We must always remember the warning in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, which states, "And no marvel! for, Satan himself, doth transfigure himself into a messenger of light! No great thing, therefore, if, his ministers also, are transfiguring themselves as ministers of righteousness!" Let us examine the contents of this man-made inserted message to see if it contradicts the rest of the Word of Yahweh.

(It is a known fact that this section of scripture did not come from the mouth of Yahweh, as was stated, by the textual committee, when they wrote, "Although the Committee was unanimous that the pericope (pe·ric·o·pe) was originally no part of the Fourth Gospel, in deference to the evident antiquity of the passage a majority decided to print it, enclosed within double square brackets, at its traditional place following Jn 7:52." (See Appendix A) In my opinion, it remains in print because the masses would not purchase a Bible that did not contain it. Publishers print it in their Bibles and footnote the truth that it does not belong in their Bibles, which very few people read, including the majority of pastors. Joseph Rotherham had the fidelity to Yahweh to leave it out of his Bible by placing it at the end of the Gospel of John with notes.)

Law of Moses
Yahoshua's mission was to fulfill the law of Moses. Yahoshua stated in Matthew 5:17-20, "Do not think, that I came to pull down the law, or the prophets,—I came not to pull down, but to fulfill. For, verily, I say unto you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away, one least letter, or one point, may in nowise pass away from the law, till all be accomplished.  Whosoever, therefore, shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and teach men so, shall be called, least, in the kingdom of the heavens; but, whosoever shall do and teach, the same, shall be called, great, in the kingdom of the heavens." Yahoshua's mission was to fulfill the law of Moses by not sinning against it. If he would have sinned by breaking one law of Moses, he could not have become our Savior and Redeemer. Concerning adultery, Yahweh commanded, through Moses, in Deuteronomy 22:22, "When a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then shall, both, of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman,—so shalt thou consume the wicked thing out of Israel." Not only did Yahoshua come to fulfill the law of Moses, he also unveiled truths that were even more rigorous than what had been taught by Moses. For example, he taught them, in Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard, that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But, I, say unto you, that, Every one who looketh on a woman so as to covet her, already, hath committed adultery with her, in his heart." Yahoshua did not break one law of Moses neither did he advocate others to break Moses' law.

Another Doctrine
We have been warned that there will be others who will proclaim a different glad-message, changing or adding to the Word of Yahweh. Yahoshua said, "Whosoever, therefore, shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and teach men so, shall be called, least, in the kingdom of the heavens..." (Mt. 5:19). This is exactly what has occurred in the man-made inserted message. This message relaxes not only Yahweh's commandment on adultery but on all of his commandments. The doctrine, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first," is not present anywhere in the Word of Yahweh (Old and New Testament), except in this case, but rather this teaching nullifies justice and righteousness. It states that no one can judge or enforce any of Yahweh's commandments because all have sinned. This doctrine implies that murderers, rapist, pedophiles, robbers and kidnappers should not be judged but rather we should say to the criminal, "Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" They would said, "No one, Lord, because all have sinned." Then we, like Jesus, would say, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." The lawless would overtake the earth with this doctrine, which would delight the deceiver, the god of this age. Sin would not be reckoned, which would delight our flesh. Yahweh's Word states just the opposite of this doctrine by making laws and enforcing them through the hands of righteous men and women.

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 would be in direct violation of the above doctrine. It states, "Dare any of you, having, a matter against his brother, sue for judgment before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or know ye not that, the saints, shall judge the world? And, if, by you, the world, is to be judged, unworthy are ye of the smallest judgment-seats? Know ye not that we shall judge, messengers? and not, then, matters of this life? If, then, for matters of this, life ye have judgment-seats, them who are of no account in the assembly, these, are ye seating thereupon? With a view to shame you, am I speaking. So, is it possible that there is among you—not so much as one wise man, who shall be able to judge between his brethren." We are to judge and to enforce Yahweh's laws, as was instructed in 1 Corinthians chapter five, when it said, "But, now, I have written unto you not to be mixing yourselves up,—if anyone named a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such a one as this, not so much, as to be eating together...Remove ye the wicked man from among, yourselves." This commandment of Yahweh commands us to judge wickedness and to enforce the judgment.
The Deception of the Man-Made Inserted  Message
(Known as John 7:53-8:11)
Let us examine the craftiness and deception that is employed in this inserted message. First, the bad guys, who everyone hates, are the Scribes and the Pharisees, who present this poor woman, which everyone love, before Yahoshua. The scenario would have been vastly different if the persons who brought the case to Yahoshua had been the husband and children of the woman who was caught in adultery. Second, the person who is caught is a woman and not a man, which allows for more tenderness. Our hearts would not have turned so tenderly if a man had been caught in the very act of adultery. By the way, where was the man anyway if they were both caught in the very act? Well, the story implies that the bad guy's, the Scribes and the Pharisees, probably let him go because they also are men. Third, the woman never repents of her sins or ask for repentance. Fourth, the bad guys motives are revealed when the story says, "This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him." Fifth, once the proclamation was given by Jesus, the eldest began to leave first because they, because of their age, have sinned the most. This is supposed to illustrate to us that the elders are the wisest. Sixth, the woman is alone with Jesus, which is so tender. The moral of the story is that the Scribes and the Pharisees are just as sinful as she is and in addition, no one is to judge anybody!  

Let us set up a different scenario, than what is above, and see if our inner emotions would be not as sympathetic. "Now early in the morning Jesus came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then a father and mother brought to Him a man who had been caught in the very act of kidnapping and raping their daughter, who then died. And when they had set him in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this man was caught kidnapping and in the very act of raping our daughter, who then died. "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at him first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the man standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the man, He said to him, "Sir, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" He said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to him, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." How does this story make you feel? Could this message be inserted into the text as John 7:53-8:11 was?

The inserted message (John 7:53-8:11) is all about removing judgment for our sins, which appeals to our fleshly lust. The fact of the matter is that Yahweh delights in justice, righteousness and lovingkindness. This message discards two of Yahweh's three attributes, justice and righteousness. The Gospel of John is the fulfillment of the Old Testament; the Law of Moses is in full force; people are not saved by grace in this book. Let us not forget what happened to the man who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath; "Then said Yahweh unto Moses, The man shall be, put to death,—all the assembly, stoning him with stones, outside the camp" (Nu. 15:35). The same Mosaic Law that was in Numbers is fully present and enforced in the Gospel of John, regardless whether we desire to believe it or not. Yahweh has given us laws to obey and he has given us judges to enforce his laws for the good of his children. We are judges, the hands, feet and mouth of Christ, who is a righteous judge. Our duty is to attempt to have Yahweh's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   

The story of the woman caught in adultery is a very cunning and deceiving false doctrine. It tugs on our very heart strings, which is why it is left in the majority of Bibles. This tugging on our hearts is why this doctrine is so dangerous because it is poison ingested voluntarily by those who hear what they want to hear. Our flesh desires a world where all our mistakes or willing sins be overlooked. We feel better about ourselves. When I am caught in a sin, I can boldly say, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," which gives me justification. This section of scripture should have been suspect from the very beginning because it contradicts the Word of Yahweh. We should have said, 'An enemy has set this darnel (story) amidst the wheat (Word of Yahweh).' We must shake ourselves out of our self-induced, dangerously deceptive dream and awake unto righteousness and justice, as well as lovingkindness.

(For footnotes and Appendix, see PDF verison.)

(When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew words
Yahoshua (yeh-ho-shoo’- ah) for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and ruah for pneuma (spirit).)


John 15:1-8

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