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(10) Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin (Greek: hamartane) no more.”

Once again, Jesus arises from the bent posture that he assumed so that he could write on the ground. This time, though, he does so, not to face his opponents, but to face this woman. His opponents, having quit the field, are nowhere to be found.

Jesus doesn’t ask the woman whether she is guilty, but only whether anyone condemns her. He assumes her guilt—a fact made clear in the next verse when he tells her to go and sin no more. But his question “serves only to bring home to the woman the full reality of the fact that she no longer has to fear anything from those who had threatened her life”[1]

It is good to better understand the scenario of this periscope; a woman is caught in the act of adultery and brought shamefully before Jesus. Jesus was asked what the right thing is to do. He squats down toward the earth. Obviously, this seems like an odd gesture, but Liz Higgs suggests that if the woman was literally “caught in the act” she may have been naked and by squatting down, Jesus, not bringing further shame on her by looking at her nakedness, preserved some of her dignity.[2]

[1] Ridderbos, Herman (translated by John Vriend), The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 290

[2] Liz Curtis Higgs, Really Bad Girls of the Bible (Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2000) 80-82