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writing on the ground

Discussion in 'Exposition & Bible Study' started by andy153, Aug 24, 2004.

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  1. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Hi all,


    When Jesus was questioned by the pharisees in the gospel of John 8:6-8 he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

    Can anyone shed any light on this for me? :confused:

    andy153
     
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  2. Macca

    Macca Veteran

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    What Jesus wrote was not important. What the accusers thought He wrote when He said "let the one with no sin cast the first stone" this frightened them all off.
    Macca. :preach: :holy:
     
  3. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Hi Macca,

    thanks for your reply, I was not so much concerned about wahat Jesus wrote as why he did this. I have heard a few theories but neve been convinced by any of them. I believe I have the answer but was wondering what others thought.

    andy153 :confused:
     
  4. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    This is a sermon on this subject given by Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovich) of Ochrid

    What was Christ writing on the ground
    An excerpt...
     
  5. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Thank you prodromos,

    you have certainly given me food for thought there. Your post was very enlightening. There is however, a little bit more to it I believe.

    andy153 :confused:
     
  6. muffler dragon

    muffler dragon Ineffable

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    Andy,

    There are a couple different things I will try to find for you to see, but off the top of my head this is a summary of them:

    1) that Y'shua was showing that he understood Halacha (Oral Law) quite well as far as the underlying documents for work and punishment and such.

    2) that he was writing the names of the people there.

    One added point that I would like to make is that the passage in question was a later addition to the text. So while it is beneficial to evaluate, it is good to keep that in mind in some regards.

    I'll see what I can dig up for you.

    m.d.
     
  7. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    thanks for the help muffler dragon,

    andy153
     
  8. KleinerApfel

    KleinerApfel When I awake I am still with You

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    Those are some interesting thoughts everyone.

    Someone once said to me that Jesus was mercifully distracting the gathered mens' eyes from the spectacle of the poor exposed woman before them. The actual words would be unimportant. The action was to spare her their stares.

    I like that idea, and it would fit well with the situation and the gentle response we would expect of Jesus, but of course it's all guess-work.

    God bless, Susana
     
  9. Unnamed Servant

    Unnamed Servant Member

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    I think he wrote WOW, because he couldn't believe their cold hearts.:)
     
  10. jbarcher

    jbarcher ANE Social Science Researcher

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    prodromos, how does one arrive at that? I'm guessing tradition, but hey, what do I know about tradition...(other than it's democracy in action ;))
     
  11. daveleau

    daveleau In all you do, do it for Christ and w/ Him in mind

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    There are many theories but no one is sure because Scripture does not tell us.

    William Barclay says that Jesus was confused on what to do and was stalling. (nope, I don't think so)
    Some say He wrote a few words that highlighted sin in the lives of the men who were accusing. Like possibly the names of those who had been with her.

    I think the later is true. :)
    Dave
     
  12. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Ok folks, here goes!

    My origional question was why did Jesus write on the ground when questioned by the pharisees ?

    To understand why the Lord stooped down and wrote on the ground, you must understand the question the pharisees asked the Lord.

    John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    6 This they said, tempting 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. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

    The pharisees tried to use the law of Moses against Christ, to trip him up as it were so they could use the law against him. But who gave Moses the law and how did he give it?

    Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    The same finger that wrote on the tablets of stone now writes on the ground before them. Jesus is revealing his divinity to them but they are blind to it.

    Moses went up to receive the law from God. Now God had come down to man to write the new law not on stone but on clay. Moses had to receive the law twice, read how many times the Lord wrote on the ground.

    andy153 :)
     
  13. JohnJones

    JohnJones Well-Known Member

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    Leviticus 20:10 "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer AND the adulteress shall surely be put to death."

    The Law is very clear that both the adulterer and adulteress must be stoned, but these Jews were trying to stone the woman only, and were therefore breaking the Law. In this instance it was not Jesus vs the Law, but Jesus AND the Law vs the Jews who wanted to disobey the Law. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus either wrote Leviticus 20:10 or "where is the man?" on the ground.
     
  14. bratchaman

    bratchaman New Member

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    Yes, it is a thing all to common for the woman to take all the blame as a seducer and the man who was also sinning to be left out of the picture.

    These are all good points. Before reading this post, I always thought he was stooping to write so that the accusers could leave without his stare upon them. Because, when he looked up, all the accusers were gone. I also thought that he was ignoring the people because it was not important and there were accusing her for the wrong reason (they accused her to set a trap for Jesus not for justice).
     
  15. Crazy Liz

    Crazy Liz Well-Known Member

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    Andy, you could be right, but I have a different idea.

    First of all, we know that the woman's accusers were literate, but the woman was almost certainly not. I think this is important, especially since the story appears in John's gospel, and it is John's style to record details known to the person encountering Jesus in a saving way, and not to record details unknown to the key person in the story. This explains why the author does not record the words.

    Second, what words might Jesus have wanted to communicate to the literate scribes and Pharisees who asked Jesus about the precedent set by Moses, while not communicating the same information to the illiterate woman?

    I think I have a good idea. I think he wrote Genesis 38. Here's why:

    First, it is a precedent from the Torah (the 5 books of Moses) for forgiving such a woman, and the scribes and Pharisees were asking Jesus what he said, compared to what Moses commanded.

    Second, the accusers went away from the oldest to the youngest. These scribes and Pharisees knew the Torah well. They had memorized much of it, and had read it enough times to be very familiar with it. The older the person, the more familiar. Therefore, the older ones would have recognized the whole story more quickly, based on just a few words,and would more quickly have made the connection between the present situation and the story. Thus, they would have understood the end and point of the story more quickly than the younger ones.

    There are several other reasons I think these stories are correlated in such a way that this might have been what he wrote, but I'll leave it to you for now to compare the stories in John 8 and Genesis 38 and see whether it makes sense to you and why.
     
  16. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Bishop Nikolai states as much in the fifth sentence in the excerpt I posted :)
     
  17. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Very good insight Andy. I think you may be on to something there.
     
  18. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Hi all,

    I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions so far.

    Crazy Liz: I find your post very interesting.

    I think you are refering to the relationship between Judah and his daughter in law Tamar.

    Tamar was supposed to have been a harlot and when brought before her accusers to be burnt she was saved by the, signet, bracelets and staff given to her by Judah. These represent the power and authority of Judgement. The very thing that should have condemned her saved her ?

    Is this what you are refering to?

    andy153 :confused:
     
  19. Crazy Liz

    Crazy Liz Well-Known Member

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    That story, but not those particular details. I don't put a huge amount of importance on the symbolic items in the story. Rather, I just look at the story. It's very interesting to me how women and men tend to interpret these two stories differently. When I have studied them in commentaries, every commentary I found that was written by a woman noted them as parallel stories, but none written by a man noted that. Interesting?

    It is a precedent within one of the books of Moses, known to Jews as "the Law," for not executing an adulteress. In matters dealing with women and sexuality, this would not be the only time Jesus referred to Genesis in order to oppose a strict but unjust interpretation of the Mosaic Law. (See, for example, Matthew 19)

    Note Judah's words:[bible]genesis 38:26[/bible]These words make a fitting response to Jesus' words:[bible]john 8:7[/bible]The older Pharisees would more quickly have been able to recognize and mentally review the entire story, and be convicted by these words.

    Both women were oppressed by a double standard WRT sexuality (as was the other Tamar in the OT, also).

    But even more than that, the little story in Genesis 38 is probably the greatest story of grace and repentance in the OT. Judah finally broke the cycle of one sin leading to a worse sin, which characterizes the first part of the story, by repenting and then by acting in grace. Only grace can break the cycle of sin. Judah's first two sons had sinned, and God had killed them. The sin of the first son is not specified. The second son sinned specifically against Tamar. And Judah sinned against Tamar because he was afraid. Fear leads to more sin. The same author who wrote this gospel wrote:[bible]1 john 4:18[/bible]

    The placement of the Tamar story in the cycle of the patriarchs indicates this is the reason Israel's fourth son inherited the birthright. Jacob's first 3 sons each lost their birthright because of how they treated the women in the family. So the parallels between these two stories indicate why Jesus is the legitimate Messiah, and the Pharisees' rule is illegitimate.


    This part has less to do with the story in John, but later references to Tamar in the OT indicate she was considered the great matriarch of the tribe of Judah. When the elders bless Ruth, they say, "May you be like Tamar." David names his daughter after her. Although no more of her life is mentioned in the Bible beyond this story, we know that she went on to become a woman of great renown.
     
  20. andy153

    andy153 Regular Member

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    Hi Crazy Liz,

    thank you for explaining to me where you were coming from. I see the connections you are making and thank you for sharing them with me.

    andy153

    Hey Liz! your not so crazy! :wave:
     
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