Download the notes: Woman Caught in Adultery, Saved by the Law.
In John 8 – The scene opens against the background of the “Light of the World” coming back into the Temple at the close of the Feast of Tabernacles. The last day of the feast of Tabernacles was a very special day. It is known as “Hoshanah Rabba” — the great salvation. It was the last day of the feast of Tabernacles when Yeshua/Jesus spoke the words in John 7:37: “In the last day, that Great Day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
Water is a major theme of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the Talmud (in Succah 5), it describes a water pouring ceremony done during the feast of tabernacles. It is called “The rejoicing in the house of the water pouring.” The water pouring became a focus of the joy that the Torah commands for Tabernacles. During the days of the Feast of Tabernacles, mostly every scripture regarding water would be read to the people to remind them of one of the themes of the festival. During this time, Isaiah 12:3 would be read as it is written: “Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the Wells of Salvation.” Therefore, Yeshua/Jesus takes the liberty in John 7:37 on the last Day of the Feast of Tabernacles to say: “If any man Thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.”
Against that backdrop, we read the following narrative
John 8:1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 8:2 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. 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 8:4 They said unto him, Teacher, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what say you? 8:6 This they said, testing 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. 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 8:9 And they who 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 before him. 8:10 When Jesus had lifted himself up, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. Moreover, Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.
A straightforward narrative …a simple situation…but one needs to know the back ground to judge the matter. So what was Jesus this simple Galilean supposed to do…or was He a simple Galilean?
This misunderstanding is due in part to a number of disparaging statements made about Nazareth and the Galilee such as, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (Jn. 1:46), and “Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?'” (Acts 2:7).
According to Shmuel Safrai, Hebrew University Professor of Jewish History of the Mishnaic and Talmudic Periods, not only does the number of first-century Galilean sages exceed the number of Judean sages, but the moral and ethical quality of their teaching is still considered more highly than that of their Judean counterparts. There were many first-century Galilean sages as Yohanan ben Zakkai, Hanina ben Dosa, Abba Yose Holikofri of Tiv’on, Zadok and Jesus of Nazareth who helped impart a deep understanding of the Torah to the residents of Galilee. In addition to their high level of knowledge of and reverence for Scripture, the Galileans could be seen as the religious conservatives of the period. Jewish messianic nationalism flourished in the Galilee. Judah the Galilean, for example, was the founder of the “Zealots” movement, and it was in Galilee, not Judea, that the great revolt against Rome broke out in 66 A.D.