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Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach[a] them. The experts in the law[b] and the Pharisees[c] brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them and said to Jesus,[d] “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death[e] such women.[f] What then do you say?” (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against[g] him.)[h] Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.[i] When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight[j] and replied,[k] “Whoever among you is guiltless[l] may be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then[m] he bent over again and wrote on the ground.

Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones,[n] until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up straight[o] and said to her, “Woman,[p] where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]][q]

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  1. John 8:2 tn An ingressive sense for the imperfect fits well here following the aorist participle.
  2. John 8:3 tn Or “The scribes.” The traditional rendering of γραμματεύς (grammateus) as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader.
  3. John 8:3 sn See the note on Pharisees in 1:24.
  4. John 8:4 tn Grk “to him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  5. John 8:5 sn An allusion to Lev 20:10 and Deut 22:22-24.
  6. John 8:5 sn The accusers themselves subtly misrepresented the law. The Mosaic law stated that in the case of adultery, both the man and woman must be put to death (Lev 20:10, Deut 22:22), but they mentioned only such women.
  7. John 8:6 tn Grk “so that they could accuse.”
  8. John 8:6 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author of 7:53-8:11.
  9. John 8:6 tn Or possibly “Jesus bent down and wrote an accusation on the ground with his finger.” The Greek verb καταγράφω (katagraphō) may indicate only the action of writing on the ground by Jesus, but in the overall context (Jesus’ response to the accusation against the woman) it can also be interpreted as implying that what Jesus wrote was a counteraccusation against the accusers (although there is no clue as to the actual content of what he wrote, some scribes added “the sins of each one of them” either here or at the end of v. 8 [U 264 700 al]).
  10. John 8:7 tn Or “he straightened up.”
  11. John 8:7 tn Grk “and said to them.”
  12. John 8:7 tn Or “sinless.”
  13. John 8:8 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.
  14. John 8:9 tn Or “beginning from the eldest.”
  15. John 8:10 tn Or “straightened up.”
  16. John 8:10 sn Woman was a polite form of address (see BDAG 208-9 s.v. γυνή 1), similar to “Madam” or “Ma’am” used in English in different regions.
  17. John 8:11 tc The earliest and best mss do not contain 7:53-8:11 (see note on 7:53).