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5: Moses hath commanded us to stone such - If they spoke
accurately, this must have been a woman, who, having been
betrothed to a husband, had been guilty of this crime before
the marriage was completed; for such only Moses commanded to
be stoned. He commanded indeed that other adulteresses should
be put to death; but the manner of death was not specified.(De 22:23).
6: That they might have to accuse him - Either of usurping the
office of a judge, if he condemned her, or of being an enemy to
the law, if he acquitted her. Jesus stooping down, wrote with
his finger on the ground - God wrote once in the Old Testament;
Christ once in the New: perhaps the words which he afterward
spoke, when they continued asking him. By this silent action, he,
- fixed their wandering, hurrying thoughts, in order to awaken
their consciences: and,
- signified that he was not then come to condemn but to save
7: He that is without sin - He that is not guilty: his own
conscience being the judge) either of the same sin, or of some
nearly resembling it; let him - as a witness, cast the first
stone at her.
9: Beginning at the eldest - Or the elders. Jesus was left alone
- By all those scribes and Pharisees who proposed the question.
But many others remained, to whom our Lord directed his discourse
10: Hath no man condemned thee? - Hath no judicial sentence been
passed upon thee?
11: Neither do I condemn thee - Neither do I take upon me to pass
any such sentence. Let this deliverance lead thee to repentance.
12: He that followeth me shall in nowise walk in darkness - In
ignorance, wickedness, misery: but shall have the light of life
- He that closely, humbly, steadily follows me, shall have the
Divine light continually shining upon him, diffusing over his
soul knowledge, holiness, joy, till he is guided by it to life
13: Thou testifiest of thyself; thy testimony is not valid
- They retort upon our Lord his own words, (Joh 5:31);
if I testify of myself, my testimony is not valid. He had
then added, There is another who testifieth of me.
To the same effect he replies here, (Joh 8:14),
Though I testify of myself, yet my testimony is valid; for I
am inseparably united to the Father. I know - And from firm and
certain knowledge proceeds the most unexceptionable testimony:
whence I came, and whither I go - To these two heads may be
referred all the doctrine concerning Christ. The former is
treated of (Joh 8:16), &c, the latter (Joh 8:21), &c.
For I know whence I came - That is, For I came from God,
both as God and as man. And I know it, though ye do not.
15: Ye judge after the flesh - As the flesh, that is, corrupt
nature dictates. I judge no man - Not thus; not now; not at my
16: I am not alone - No more in judging, than in testifying: but I
and the Father that sent me - His Father is in him, and he is in
the Father,(Joh 14:10,11); and so the Father is no more alone without the
Son, than the Son is without the Father, (Pr 8:22,23,30).
His Father and he are not one and another God, but one God,
(though distinct persons,) and so inseparable from each other.
And though the Son came from the Father, to assume human nature,
and perform his office as the Messiah upon earth, as God is
sometimes said to come from heaven, for particular manifestations
of himself; yet Christ did not leave the Father, nor the Father
leave him, any more than God leaves heaven when he is said to
come down to the earth.
17: (De 19:15).
19: Then said they to him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered
- Showing the perverseness of their question; and teaching that
they ought first to know the Son, if they would know the Father.
Where the Father is - he shows, (Joh 8:23).
Meantime he plainly intimates that the Father and he were
distinct persons, as they were two witnesses; and yet one in
essence, as the knowledge of him includes the knowledge of
23: Ye are - Again he passes over their interruption, and proves
what he advanced, (Joh 8:21).
Of them that are beneath - From the earth.
I am of them that are above - Here he directly shows whence
he came, even from heaven, and whither he goes.
24: If ye believe not that I AM - Here (as in(Joh 8:58)) our Lord claims the Divine name, I AM,(Ex 3:14). But the Jews, as if he had stopped short,
and not finished the sentence, answered, Who art thou?
25: Even what I say to you from the beginning - The same which
I say to you, as it were in one discourse, with one even tenor
from the time I first spake to you.
26: I have many things to say and to judge of you - I have much to
say concerning your inexcusable unbelief: but he that sent me is
true - Whether ye believe or no. And I speak the things which I
have heard from him - I deliver truly what he hath given me in charge.
27: They understood not - That by him that sent him he meant God
the Father. Therefore in (Joh 8:28,29) he speaks plainly of the
Father, and again claims the Divine name, I AM.
28: When ye shall have lifted up - On the cross, ye shall know - And
so many of them did, that I AM - God over all; and that I do
nothing of myself - Being one with the Father.
29: The Father hath not left me alone - Never from the moment I
came into the world.
32: The truth - Written in your hearts by the Spirit of God, shall
make you free - From guilt, sin, misery, Satan.
33: They - The other Jews that were by, (not those that believed,)
as appears by the whole tenor of the conversation. We were never
enslaved to any man - A bold, notorious untruth. At that very time
they were enslaved to the Romans.
34: Jesus answered - Each branch of their objection, first
concerning freedom, then concerning their being Abraham's
offspring, (Joh 8:37), &c.
He that committeth sin, is, in fact, the slave of sin.
35: And the slave abideth not in the house - All sinners shall be
cast out of God's house, as the slave was out of Abraham's: but
I, the Son, abide therein for ever.
36: If I therefore make you free, ye - shall partake of the same
privilege: being made free from all guilt and sin, ye shall
abide in the house of God for ever.
37: I know that ye are Abraham's offspring - As to the other branch
of your objection, I know that, ye are Abraham's offspring, after
the flesh; but not in a spiritual sense. Ye are not followers
of the faith of Abraham: my word hath no place in your hearts.
41: Ye do the deeds of your father - He is not named yet.
But when they presumed to call God their Father, then he
is expressly called the devil, (Joh 8:44).
42: I proceeded forth - As God, and come - As Christ.
43: Ye cannot - Such is your stubbornness and pride, hear - Receive,
obey my word. Not being desirous to do my will, ye cannot
understand my doctrine, (Joh 7:17).
44: He was a murderer - In inclination, from the beginning - Of his
becoming a devil; and abode not in the truth - Commencing murderer
and liar at the same time. And certainly he was a killer of men
(as the Greek word properly signifies) from the beginning of the
world: for from the very creation he designed and contrived the
ruin of men. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own - For
he is the proper parent, and, as it were, creator of it. See the
origin not only of lies, but of evil in general!
45: Because I speak the truth - Which liars hate.
46: Which of you convicteth me of sin? - And is not my life
as unreprovable as my doctrine? Does not my whole behaviour
confirm the truth of what I teach?
47: He that is of God - That either loves or fears him, heareth
- With joy and reverence, God's words - Which I preach.
48: Say we not well - Have we not just cause to say, Thou art,
a Samaritan - An enemy to our Church and nation; and hast a devil?
- Art possessed by a proud and lying spirit?
49: I honour my Father - I seek his honour only.
50: I seek not my own glory - That is, as I am the Messiah, I
consult not my own glory. I need not. For my Father consulteth
it, and will pass sentence on you accordingly.
51: If a man keep my word - So will my Father consult my glory.
We keep his doctrine by believing, his promises by hoping, his
command by obeying. He shall never see death - That is, death
eternal. He shall live for ever. Hereby he proves that he was
no Samaritan; for the Samaritans in general were Sadducees.
54: If I honour myself - Referring to their words, Whom makest
56: He saw it - By faith in types, figures, and promises; as
particularly in Melchisedec; in the appearance of Jehovah to
him in the plains of Mamre, (Ge 18:1); and in the promise that
in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
Possibly he had likewise a peculiar revelation either of
Christ's first or second coming.
57: Thou art not yet fifty years old - At the most. Perhaps the
gravity of our Lord's countenance, together with his afflictions
and labours, might make him appear older than he really was.
Hast thou seen Abraham - Which they justly supposed must have been,
if Abraham had seen him.
58: Before Abraham was I AM - Even from everlasting to everlasting.
This is a direct answer to the objection of the Jews, and shows
how much greater he was than Abraham.
59: Then they took up stones - To stone him as a blasphemer; but
Jesus concealed himself - Probably by becoming invisible; and so
passed on - With the same ease as if none had been there.