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Yeshua and the Adulterous Woman

Updated: Feb 18

The Adulterous Woman--Christ Writing upon the Ground by James Tissot from the Brooklyn Museum

The story of Yeshua and the adulterous woman has been used by mainstream Christians to “prove” that the Torah is done away with. This conclusion comes from a lack of understanding of what YHWH’s instructions are on the matter. At face value, it would appear that Yeshua is going against the Torah, his Father’s instructions, but that is not the case as we will see. If Christians started in Genesis (where the Bible begins, not Matthew), then they would be able to see with clearer eyes what exactly is going on. So, let us read about the woman “caught” in adultery and begin to peel back the layers of what is truly happening.

The Context and Set-Up

“And at dawn He came again into the Set-apart Place, and all the people were coming to Him. And having sat down, He was teaching them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And having set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. And in the Torah Mosheh (Moses) commanded us that such should be stoned. What then do You say? And this they said, trying Him, so that they might accuse Him. But יהושע, bending down, wrote on the ground with the finger, as though He did not hear.” (John 8:2-6)

Right from the beginning, something doesn’t sound right, can you guess what it is? The Pharisees said they caught the women in the VERY act of committing adultery, if so then where is the man that she was sinning with? Surely, he’s not running out in the streets naked, if he was, he would be quite easy to identify and bring to Yeshua as well. But the man is not present and isn’t even mentioned, why? Because he never existed, this is a rouse set up by the Pharisees, testing Yeshua’s knowledge of the Torah. And what does the Torah say regarding adultery?

“And a man who commits adultery with the wife of another man, who commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour: the adulterer and the adulteress shall certainly be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10)

Both perpetrators must be put to death, not just the woman. Again, supposedly she was caught in the very act, and yet the man is nowhere to be seen. There is another issue here, why did the Pharisees bring Yeshua the “adulterous” woman, he was not a judge or acting as a priest, and the Torah states that it was up to the judges and priest to declare whether or not the accused were guilty or not.

“One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation…” (Deuteronomy 19: 15-18)

I will use the rest of verse 18 here in a minute, but as you can see it was up to the priests and the judges, and at that time Yeshua was neither of those. Are you starting to see how this whole ordeal reeks of a setup? To be fair John did tell us that the Pharisees were testing Yeshua and hoping to find something to accuse him with. They knew exactly what they were doing and orchestrated the whole fiasco, somewhere I can hear “It’s a trap!” Indeed, it was and what was Yeshua writing with his finger? I like to think he was writing the instructions on what to do, like Deuteronomy 17 and 19.

Yeshua Sees Through the Trap

“But as they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And bending down again, He wrote on the ground. And when they heard it, being reproved by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the older ones until the last. And יהושע was left alone, and the woman standing in the middle. And יהושע, straightening up and seeing no one but the woman, said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Did no one condemn you?” And she said, “No one, Master.” And יהושע said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:7-11)

So what did Yeshua mean when he said let the one without sin throw the first stone? Well for starters those who witnessed the transgression had the right to throw the first stone.

“At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall he that is to die be put to death. He is not put to death by the mouth of one witness. “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and the hand of all the people last. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 17:6-7)

Ah, so Yeshua put the Pharisees on the spot now, he knew they didn’t witness the adultery take place. They sinned by not bringing the accused to the right people for judgment and for bearing false witness. You may say, “Well they could have thrown the stones anyway.” They could have if they wanted to die.

“…and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 19: 18-19)

So, you see had the Pharisees thrown a stone they would have been signing their own death warrant. Noticed too that the eldest were the first to disperse because they knew the jig was up, Yeshua had seen through the deception. Then after the mob had left, Yeshua askes the woman where are your accusers, she had no legitimate witnesses. Remember on the testimony of two to three witnesses, but lo and behold there was nothing to witness. The last thing the Messiah tells her is quite interesting, go and sin no more. What sin had she committed? Well not adultery, if she had then the Pharisees would have taken her before the judges and the priests, even after testing Yeshua. So, what was her sin? Possibly her willingness to participate in the setup, I imagine the conversation between her and the Pharisees went a little like this, “Hey, we're going to use you to trick this guy calling himself the Messiah. Don’t worry we’re not really going to stone you, we just want him to mess up so we can properly accuse him.” And had Yeshua made the wrong move, well, there would have been a group of people to bear witness against him. It was rather foolish on the Pharisees part, for how could they trip up the walking, talking Torah?

Proper Research Brings Understanding

I hope this brought new understanding of what exactly went on with the “adulterous” woman. I know you may have been wondering what it was all about, or maybe even some of your Christian friends and family members challenged you on the matter. Well, now you can stand firm and give a proper answer to their inquiry. Continue to test all things, including this, and may the Ruach Hakodesh lead you into all truth.


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