Home » Uncategorized » Did Yeshua Nullify or Uphold the Law with the Woman Caught in Adultery in John 8? (By Guest Blogger Sarah Rush)
Did Yeshua Nullify or Uphold the Law with the Woman Caught in Adultery in John 8? (By Guest Blogger Sarah Rush)

Did Yeshua Nullify or Uphold the Law with the Woman Caught in Adultery in John 8? (By Guest Blogger Sarah Rush)

I hear people continually saying that Yeshua gave us a higher standard than that what is already in the Torah. They say Yeshua gave us love and grace whereas the Torah was all about dos and don’ts. The story of the woman caught in adultery, in John 8, is one of the common proof texts that people to use to show that Yeshua didn’t demand woman’s execution and hence he exercised grace rather than law. When I heard the following explanation of that account from a Torah perspective, by Sarah Rush, I felt it worthy of sharing with you. Enjoy. – Douglas Hamp

Commentary by Sarah Rush

The number of biblical commandments being broken in the story of the adulteress is actually quite astounding. First, any woman caught in adultery would have been taken WITH THE GUILTY MAN with whom she was caught, and brought to the established judges, who generally were found at the city gates. These judges were set in place to hear and try cases such as these. If the accused woman was only *suspected* of being unfaithful, it was the HUSBAND who had to bring her for judgment, and he actually had to bring her before the temple priests in this case. But in this John chapter 8 situation, it is alleged that the woman was caught in the act by witnesses, so the judges at the gates would have been the proper authorities to hear the allegations. However, as mentioned, both the man and the woman would have been required for the accusation.

Next, the actual witness had to make the accusation, and at least two witnesses were required in order for the matter to be established. In the John 8 account, not only did they bypass the proper authorities for hearing such accusations, but no witnesses came forth to go on record as having actually observed the event.

The scribes and pharisees were correct in one thing – that the Mosaic law would have demanded that the woman be stoned to death – but that death sentence required that the accusation be submitted before the proper authorities, in the correct legal fashion, and that all legal criteria be met (both the man and the woman presented, witnesses established, that both be found guilty in such a court).

Because they opted instead to skip all of these steps and go directly to Yeshua, they have already nullified their attempted allegations. Aware of their intent, Yeshua answered them in the proper LEGAL fashion. He responds by requesting that the guiltless party be the first to cast the stone. He does this because in Deuteronomy 13, the Mosaic law tells us clearly that in cases where a guilty verdict would require the death penalty, it was the responsibility of the ACCUSING WITNESS to be the first person to cast the stone. Why would God enact such a bizarre decree? It is actually quite a genius maneuver. Because it was up to that witness to initiate the stoning process, thus making him or her responsible for taking the life of this person who has been found guilty, it puts the burden on the witness to ensure absolutely that their testimony has been truthful. If they have misrepresented the facts and corrupted the judgment in any way, they have made themselves guilty of bearing false witness and murdering, which are two of the ten commandments. This person would then bear blood guilt which the temple sacrifices would not cover.

So, when Yeshua offered the honors of casting the first stone, he was challenging these men to put their life on the line with their testimony against the woman. Being scribes and pharisees, they would have known the law well enough to realize that they could not cast a stone at her without being guilty of intentional / high-handed transgression. Yeshua said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” He was CLEARLY referring to guilt in this accusation against this woman, not *in general*. How do I know this? It was the oldest men who dropped their rocks and retreated first – the men who knew the law BEST. They knew they’d been HAD.

Further, he asks the woman a bizarre question – he inquires about her accusers, and her condemnation. He is being 100% Torah-compliant here, asking who stands as an accuser against her, and whether she had been found guilty by the judges. She responds that no such person remains, to which Yeshua replies that he also does not condemn her. He says himself in several different places and ways (mostly in John) that he himself did not come to judge – and he proves that in this case of the alleged adulteress – and in a very specifically legal way!

Finally, it is curious to note that we never learn whether this woman was in fact guilty of adultery. No one asks her. I would propose to you that she very well might not have been, and that somehow she got swept up in the authorities’ attempt to trip Yeshua up with the law. If this is the case, she might have been guilty of violating Exodus 23:1-2, which says “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” This might be why Yeshua concludes with her by saying, “Go, and sin no more” – not because she was an adulteress, but because she participated in a mob whose intent was to bring harm to others.




About Douglas


  1. I think that to understand what Jesus said and did, you need to look at the context of the situation. Scripture tells us in John 7:37, that it was the last day of the feast Sukkot, Tishrei 21st, Hoshana Rabbah, the great Hoshana. this is where Jesus declares that He in the fountain of living water. John 7:37-38, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” In John 8:2, we read “And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them.” This would be Tishrei 22nd, the day after the great day, Shimini Atzeret. By not condoning the illegal stoning of the woman, whether guilty or not, He was upholding the letter of the law, as pointed out by Sarah Rush. But there was even more going on then this. Yeshua was fulfilling prophecy. Go to Jeremiah 17:5-13. We read that “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters…” Everyone knows Jer 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Yeshua certainly knew the heart of the crowd. They were forsaking the law, which means they were forsaking the law giver, Yeshua Himself, the LORD God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The scribes and Pharisees reference the law in John 8:5, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?” These scribes and Pharsees were attributing their righteousness to the law, but forsaking what was proscribed in the law in dealing with this situation. Gal 3:10-12 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the books of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.” And again in Gal 5:3, “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” These accusers were citing the law but not following the law. They are debtors to the whole law, but are lawbreakers, forsaking the whole law and He who gave them. Back to Jeremiah 17:13; “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.” I believe Yeshua was writing their names in the earth, Those that have forsaken the law, thus also forsaking the LORD, the fountain of living waters. We read of the fulfilling of this prophecy given in Jeremiah 17:13 in John 8:6. Yeshua perfectly fulfills ALL prophecy. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

  2. Messianic Jew and Rabbi. His online name was KevCornette, and this is entirely his work and not mine.

    When Jesus stands and cries in the Temple is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and meaningful events in the life of Messiah. In John 7:2, we read that this was during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), one of the three Feasts of Ascension (when all Jewish men from 12 years old and upward were required to be in Jerusalem).

    On the last day, the great day of the Feast, is Hosannah Rabbah, and a special ceremony took place as long as the Temple of God stood. The priest would be split into three divisions and perform certain functions.

    The first would stay in the Temple and prepare to shout the Hallel and glorify God (along with the Levitical Choir and musicians) when the other two groups got back from their assigned duties.

    The second division of priests would go out to the Kidron valley on the north of the Temple to cut down huge (25-30 foot long) willow branches. The willow branch is a symbol of the resurrection, for when these willow branches were put into the ground, they would take root and grow into trees. These priests would bring the branches into great stands to wave them over the Altar of sacrifice to make the sound of a mighty rushing wind to commemorate the day that God lit the fire of the Altar in Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-4). They would enter the Temple through the Eastern Gate (where the resurrected Jesus will enter at His return) and wait til the appropriate time.

    The last group accompanied the Kohen HaGaddol (High Priest) to the pool of Siloam, where he dipped a silver pitcher into the pool to draw out of the well “Living Waters”. As he drew the water out, he would sing/chant chapter 12 of Isaiah:


    And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of

    Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

    (can you see the Messianic prophecy here. The underlined part reads in Hebrew “Behold, God is Y’shua. I will put my confidence in and reverence him. YAH, YHVH is my strength, my rejoicing, and has become my Y’shua” — Y’shua is Jesus name in Hebrew! )

    After the water is drawn, the Kohen HaGaddol and his company would come up to the Temple through the Water Gate and wait outside the entrance. (as a quick aside, as soon as the companies of Kohen left, everyone would bow down and wait until the ceremony began)

    What these three companies were waiting for is the sound of the flute. The ceremony began with the sound of a flute playing from the pinnacle of the Temple of God. This flute was called “The Pierced One” and had five holes in it (remember Jesus had five wounds: 2 hands, 2 feet and his side!). As soon as the pierced one cried out, the ceremony began. However, in this year, while everyone is bowing and waiting for the Pierced One to cry out, Jesus STOOD and cried instead (for He truly is the Pierced One – Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16, John 19:34-37 & Revelation 1:7!)! HalleluYAH!

    Jesus cries out and tells them “This ceremony we have celebrated together for 1500 years, it is pointing to this: I will cause the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit] to come and dwell in you, if you will put your confidence in me, just like the Scripture said that the Kohen HaGaddol just quoted!” Many believed on Him on this day. And Jesus spoke with such power and authority that the Levitical Officers (who operated as policemen in the Temple complex and were commissioned to arrest anyone who disturbed the ceremony) could not arrest Jesus but simply said “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46).

    All of this takes place on the last day of Sukkot, the 21st day of Tishre. The following day is a minor Feast of the LORD called “Simchat Torah”, or “Rejoicing with the Torah”. It was supposed to be a great day of celebration and rejoicing before the LORD because God had given His people the Living Torah (who is, indeed, Jesus). Instead of rejoicing that Jesus had come bringing salvation, deliverence and the forgiveness of sin, the accusers came to bring accusation. On this day, Jesus was once again in the Temple teaching (John 8:2) — the common Jews rejoicing with the Living Word, and the leaders bringing the accusation.

    (I am sorry that this is taking so long to set up, but this information is needed to rightly divide the Word here, and have understanding of what Jesus said and did).


    And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 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. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 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.

    Now just a little more history: Whenever someone was caught in adultery, both the man and the woman would be brought to the Nicanor gates and accused. If witnesses could be gathered to confirm that adultery had indeed been committed, then there was a certain ceremony that would be done in order to bring judgment. However, in this instance they only brought the woman. This was a violation of the Oral Law of God. Strike One.

    Secondly, the priest was required to then stoop down and write the law that had been broken (na’aph, or ‘adultery’ would be written in Hebrew), along with the name of the accused, in the dust of the floor of the Temple (which Jesus did) [actually, the priest could write the law and the names anywhere, as long as the marks were not permanent – and the dust of the floor of the Temple was the most common place]. By doing this, Jesus showed these accusers that THEY were not keeping the law, but He would anyway. Strike Two.

    So these men ignored the law, brought the woman only, and then continued with accusation. So Jesus stood up (after plainly demonstrating they were violating the law themselves) said “He who is without sin among you, lem him first cast a stone at her” John 8:7). THEY did not want to cast the stone, they wanted Jesus to condemn her, so they continued accusing.

    Now to get this last part, lemme throw in just a little more history. Every year on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), the Kohen HaGaddol would immerse up to 11 times in a Mikveh (a baptismal tank) in order to be ceremonially cleansed between each separate portion of the day’s sacrifices. At the end of Yom Kippur, there was a celebration at the home of the Kohen HaGaddol, and there would be great rejoicing that God had received the sacrifice, and everyone’s sins had been rolled fore ward another year (as they were waiting on Messiah). To end the day, and announce to everyone the party was over (and it was time to go home), the Kohen HaGaddol would come out and quote Jeremiah 17:13 “‘Oh YHVH, the Mikveh of Israel…’ just as the mikveh cleansed me on this day, may the Holy One (Messiah), blessed be his name, cleanse all Israel when He comes”.

    (The KJV reads “Oh LORD the hope of Israel”… however, if you get your Strong’s Concordance out, you can look up the word translated hope, and it is #4723 ‘mikveh’ — which is a baptismal tank).

    So any religious Jewish man had heard this verse quoted by the High Priest every year since he was 12 years old. At 50, he would have heard it 39 times! (although Yom Kippur was NOT a Feast of ascension, many would come up for YOMA anyway, because of it’s close relationship in time to Sukkot, when they had to be there anyway). The entire verse is as follows:


    O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
    Jeremiah 17:13

    The way it reads in Hebrew is:

    “Oh YHVH, the Immerser of Israel, all those who leave your way shall be put to shame (publicly embarassed), those who turn aside from my ways will have their names written in the dust and blotted out, for they have departed from YHVH, the fountain of Mayim Hayim (the waters of life)..”

    So Jesus gave them a chance — they could have been just embarassed and then repented before the LORD. but instead they rejected, and in turn had their names written in the dust. This passage in Jeremiah is a Messianic prophecy of what Messiah would do when He came – and in this passage in John, we see Jesus fulfill the prophecy.

    In my opinion, the most interesting part is verse 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 heard the voice of God in their conscience, the Spirit of God bringing to their remembrance all the times they heard the Kohen HaGaddol quote the verse — but instead of receiving the conviction and repenting, they departed from Him (just as it was prophesied!). They left from the eldest to the youngest, the older having heard the verse quoted more often (imho). And Jesus did this on the day following His announcement that HE was the fountain of living waters (John 7:37-39). Strike Three and they were out!

    (as one more aside, then Jesus returns to his teaching of the multitude in the Temple, by saying “I am the light of the world”… this was the very morning that the four great lamps of the court in the Temple (which were called “The light of the world” were being extinguished after being kept lit for the entire celebration of Sukkot).

    That is my take on it, and I can’t wait to see the video of it in heaven.

  3. Just want to say thank you Douglas for helping me in my walk understand the enemy….more specifically Nimrod, I am so much more equipped to fight against an enemy that i was blinded to before…I used to swing at the air because I didn’t recognize the anti-messiah…but now I teach believers to stay away from him…http://www.slideshare.net/FearYaweh77/paganism-48522938

  4. Good article.

    …I’ve been saying EXACTLY the same thing for years. Jesus told us that He did not come to abolish the Law.

    He HAD to keep the Law. Had He condemned the woman when her accusers had left, He would have broken the Law. …Regardless of whether she was guilty (and she may very well have been, in light of His final words to her). Under the Law, proper testimonies were required, and since these were not available (since the accusers had gone), she had to be let go.

    People have often speculated about what Jesus wrote on the ground. A popular opinion is that it was the sins of the mob. …But would it not be far likelier that the Man who said, “it is written” would write down what is written in the Law?

    Too many people use this passage to push their own agenda, be it Jesus-as-antinomian or Jesus-as-white-knight, but Scripturally, it’s simply Jesus upholding the Law which God — i.e. Jesus Himself — gave to Israel. To imply that Jesus was anti-Law makes Him capricious and schizophrenic. Jesus was absolutely fine with putting adulterers and adulteresses to death, since He Himself ordained the death penalty for this. …Just as he was absolutely fine with stoning men who engaged in homosexual sex, and women who “played the whore” before marriage, provided the Law was observed. To say that Jesus would be fine with the West’s normalisation of fornication, adultery and homosexuality is pure blasphemy.

    P.S. Doug, does your e-mail still work? I’ve written to you a couple of times at your GMail address and have received no reply.

    • When I read John 8 , I feel love and peace in my heart , I’ve never speculated what Jesus wrote in the sand … 🙂

  5. Jesus, while upholding and fulfilling the Law, also was teaching “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”

    • Really? How was he saying that?

      • Jesus did not deny their right to stone the woman so He was upholding the Law. Whatever Jesus wrote in the sand had to have uncovered their own sin thus confronting them with their own unrighteousness. Then by saying “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” her accuser fled, there had to be someone to uphold the charge against her for the stoning to proceed.

        • Their own sin was to apply the Torah unrighteously — they were meant to bring both the adulterer and adulteress to justice and not to show partiality. Simply writing the Law which dealt with adultery would have been sufficient to reveal their own sin — and the older ones would have recognised it before the younger ones did (since they were no doubt more familiar with the Torah).

  6. Barry W. Gaugler

    Brilliant observation sister Sarah. Brilliant!

  7. Well done as this clears up many “doctrines” etc offered by the Christian churches.
    But from the Torah perspective we now have clarity.
    Thank you very much


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