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MrShorty

Why did she stay?

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Maybe I could have made the title more click-bait-y if I had tried ("Four reasons the woman in adultery stayed with Jesus -- the 3rd one will blow your mind").

At random today, I opened a chapter in the gospel of John to find myself reading the account of the woman taken in adultery (John chapter 8). I thought about the usual stuff, but one novel, unique thing stood out to me this time -- why was the woman still there when the Savior looked up from his doodling? Placing myself in the (somewhat socially awkward) situation, here I am, brought to a controversial teacher known for upsetting the establishment immediately after being caught committing a serious crime. I know I'm guilty and I know the penalty should be severe. This teacher, though, "shames" all of my accusers into leaving with the crime unpunished. After the last of my accusers leaves, what prevents me from leaving? why do I stay and wait for the teacher to acknowledge that my accusers have left? The scriptural account doesn't suggest that he barely caught me while I was on my way out (but it's not as if the scriptural account is given in that kind of detail). Is there some kind of patriarchal custom that keeps me there waiting for the last man in the area excuses me? Am I able to sense something about this man that keeps me there until he dismisses me?

I don't know If I expect an answer from the group. I recognize that scripture does not always answer these questions. But something about this struck me. Why do I as a sinner stay in proximity to the Savior? I don't know that I expect any kind of "one true" answer, but I would not object to others' thoughts or reflections.

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3 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Maybe I could have made the title more click-bait-y if I had tried ("Four reasons the woman in adultery stayed with Jesus -- the 3rd one will blow your mind").

At random today, I opened a chapter in the gospel of John to find myself reading the account of the woman taken in adultery (John chapter 8). I thought about the usual stuff, but one novel, unique thing stood out to me this time -- why was the woman still there when the Savior looked up from his doodling? Placing myself in the (somewhat socially awkward) situation, here I am, brought to a controversial teacher known for upsetting the establishment immediately after being caught committing a serious crime. I know I'm guilty and I know the penalty should be severe. This teacher, though, "shames" all of my accusers into leaving with the crime unpunished. After the last of my accusers leaves, what prevents me from leaving? why do I stay and wait for the teacher to acknowledge that my accusers have left? The scriptural account doesn't suggest that he barely caught me while I was on my way out (but it's not as if the scriptural account is given in that kind of detail). Is there some kind of patriarchal custom that keeps me there waiting for the last man in the area excuses me? Am I able to sense something about this man that keeps me there until he dismisses me?

I don't know If I expect an answer from the group. I recognize that scripture does not always answer these questions. But something about this struck me. Why do I as a sinner stay in proximity to the Savior? I don't know that I expect any kind of "one true" answer, but I would not object to others' thoughts or reflections.

Because you have a sense that He will alleviate your shame, provide a new start, help you do better, etc.

Because you are grateful you did not suffer the full consequences.

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two possibilities that I can think of.

1) She was all ready to be stoned to death.  It was only after she heard Jesus' question s that she even thought to look up.

2) She was aware that they left.  But she was so filled with gratitude that she had to stare at Jesus in disbelief.  Stunned that such a noble man would go through anything to save her, a sinner.

Would that we all would do so at the very thought of the Atonement.

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There are variant manuscripts that insert the phrase “the sins of each one of them” at the end of verse 6.  Someone who could do that to my accusers, would be worth hearing from.

—Also - it’s very early in the morning, and the woman was brought to him immediately after being caught “in the very act” of adultery.  She’s probably not wearing very much (if anything), and she’s been hauled against her will into he most crowded place in Jerusalem.  Even once freed—the prospect of venturing out onto the streets of Jerusalem in that state would have been daunting, and I imagine Jesus having one of His disciples fetch her a robe or something as he dismisses her.

—Considering that this happened during the Feast of Tabernacles, when thousands of out-of-towners would have been in the city and sleeping in tents or makeshift booths set up on the streets—our woman may well have either been an out-of-towner with no immediate place to go, or a prostitute.

—The likelihood of this woman being stoned was approximately zero.  The Jews couldn’t put someone to death without Roman sanction (hence, the nature of the trap they were laying for Jesus—to put him at odds with either the Torah or the Romans).  There was a giant fortress full of Roman soldiers immediately adjacent to and looking down on the entire temple complex, watching the drama unfold.  The woman’s situation was no doubt humiliating, but she was not in mortal peril.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

.....

—The likelihood of this woman being stoned was approximately zero.  The Jews couldn’t put someone to death without Roman sanction (hence, the nature of the trap they were laying for Jesus—to put him at odds with either the Torah or the Romans).  There was a giant fortress full of Roman soldiers immediately adjacent to and looking down on the entire temple complex, watching the drama unfold.  The woman’s situation was no doubt humiliating, but she was not in mortal peril.

Although I love your logic - I wonder if there was something else going on.  For some background - I do not think the Roman's cared that much about day to day stuff going on among the Jews.  If a Jew were to kill a Jew - I do not think they would bother to care.  Unless there was some Roman stake in the ground.  In this case - I am not sure the Romans had any dog in the fight.

As I look at this particular verse - it appears to me that the whole "affair" (pun intended) was fixed specifically to "catch" the possible Messiah.  It is not uncommon, even today for a woman in the Middle East society to in essence, be raped and accused of adultery.    I have speculated that it is possible that this woman was someone that Jesus knew and for whom he had concern.  That she had been forced or tricked into the condition and that the Jews were bating Jesus for the only reason of accusing him.  That they had a pretty good idea that Jesus would stick up for her.

I believe that Jesus then turned the tables on her accusers (though I do wonder what he was writing in the dirt - I think it would be very informative).  I speculate that Jesus turned the tables because they were the one's that had forced her into adultery.   I do believe that the woman was ashamed because of the whole affair.  I believe the final words that Jesus spoke to her somewhat along the line that he forgave her but with the admonition that she needed to be more careful to avoid such predicaments - not that it was so much her fault but rather to avoid whatever it was that compromised her in the first place.  

 

The Traveler

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Gratitude is a possibility. I expect that if I were in a situation where a random stranger had said something to my accusers that effectively avoided my execution (or postponed or "stayed" -- I want to say there is a technical legal term for when the court finds you guilty of the accused crime but the court also decides that it will not impose the allowed punishment). Maybe I'm just naturally awkward, but I could see myself delaying my departure as I muster the courage or find the words to try to thank this stranger for delaying/postponing the sentence.

@CV75: I like the possibility that I stick around to see if this man who was clever enough (almost as good as Perry Mason) to "stay" my execution (if that is the right word) might also have greater wisdom for me -- maybe even some nuggets that could change my reprobate nature. I suppose it's probably a question of just how humble I am in the moment. Would I have the humility to wait and see if this man has more to offer than what a clever defense attorney would offer?

@Just_A_Guy: The possibility I'm naked is an interesting twist. Perhaps you are correct and there is little to no real risk of being stoned. Even still, are there other social consequences that I'm aware of (think Scarlett A's)? Am I waiting around to see if he has more to offer in avoiding these other social consequences? Am I selfish enough to see it all as avoiding punishment for sin while overlooking or avoiding the hard path of real repentance?

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This story in John was added many centuries later  and it is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I believe one of the main reasons she stayed was because Jesus was the only one who showed her compassion and who talked with her as a human being. He looked at her and talked to her with kindness. We don't know her name, she is treated like an object to be displayed and judged by those who believe are morally superior. She is probably terrified...hanging in there waiting to see what these men will decide to do with her. We don't know the circumstances that led her to be in that kind of situation (where was the man?) and yet we all know her just for the sinful act she committed. But her sinful act is not who she was but what she did. Can you imagine what must feel like to be referred to as "The porn user" "The cheater" "The thief", etc?. And this is what touches me about Christ because even though he is aware of the sins we commit, he looks at our hearts and see what we can become: Go and sin no more.

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20 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

There are variant manuscripts that insert the phrase “the sins of each one of them” at the end of verse 6. 

I've heard things to this effect.  But I have never actually seen reliable source material.  It sounds like a myth.  It doesn't even fit in the flow of the passage.

Edited by Carborendum

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20 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I've heard things to this effect.  But I have never actually seen reliable source material.  It sounds like a myth.  It doesn't even fit in the flow of the passage.

I’m going off the footnotes from the NET translation of the Bible (app can be downloaded for free).

As far as “flow of the passage” goes—as @Suzie states, the entire pericope adulterae doesn’t seem to be original to the gospel of John anyways.  (I’m not saying it’s not true; just that it doesn’t seem to have been in the earliest drafts of the written book.)

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The likelihood of this woman being stoned was approximately zero.

Precisely, and this is why you can tell from the start that it was a set up. They weren't planning to stone the woman because they knew they didn't have legal grounds to do so. (Where is the man? Where are the witnesses? Who "found" her?). Jesus was very much aware of it and this is why he "stooped down and wrote on the ground".

There are variant manuscripts that insert the phrase “the sins of each one of them” at the end of verse 6

When someone was accused of committing a serious offense/sin, didn't the priest have to write their names and the charges against them? (often times, the temple floor was used for this purpose because it couldn't be permanent) so just maybe Jesus wrote both their sins and their names? In Jeremiah 17:13 (which was read also during the first seven days of the Feast of the Tabernacles) it says: " O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that aforsake 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."  It is interesting because just before this story, in John 7 Jesus refers to himself in a similar fashion (verses 14-15 of Jeremiah are also very interesting).

 

 

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I like the Inspired Version of the Bible on this account:

"When Jesus had raised up himself and saw none of her accusers and the woman standing, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more. And the woman glorified God from that hour and believed on his name.  -- John 8:10-11 Inspired Version

----------------

Apparently the woman repented of her sins and believed on Christ after this incident occurred. 

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