–by Mary A. LaClair

1,300 words  jesus-john8-full-231x300

2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”  John 8:2- 12 RSV

Actually, all the versions I checked do not say “sand”; they say “ground”. Buildings, such as the Temple where this took place, are seldom built on sand.

What did Jesus write on the ground?  Some think it was the names of the men present, men who had sinned with her. Others think there is no way of knowing what was written. I have heard many agree with the former; however concerning the latter I believe there IS a way to surmise from Scripture what Jesus wrote on the ground. Notice that He did write twice.

More than 24 times in Scripture it is recorded that Jesus spoke “It is written” and/or to the effect ‘you should know the Scriptures’. Documentation in the link at the end of this piece lists many of Jesus’ references to the Holy Scriptures.

Once it is established in our minds that Jesus responded to questions, and often spoke, using Scriptures it is easy then to reflect that Jesus most probably answered here with a Scripture also. The Scribes and Pharisees were proud of being teachers of the Law and they were here to test Jesus on the Law but instead Jesus tests them on the Law.

Like Adam, the stronger sex, these male accusers tried to pass the entire blame on to the weaker sex, woman. But Jesus acquits the woman while He calmly and effectively silences her haughty, prideful accusers. These men were quilty of what today is called ‘slut slaming’; Jesus condemned the male for his part but acquited the woman.

I believe Jesus followed His pattern of quoting Scriptures and that He either cited or scroll with rodswrote out Hosea 4:13-14, in the ground; that Scripture which says God holds the male more accountable than the female for sex sins.

Jesus, Himself being the Law Giver, tells us in Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17 that: “not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass away.” (jot or tittle = dotting the (i) and crossing the (t)). But these men tried to get Jesus to focus on only part of the Law – the part which they chose, thus they tried to ‘control the moment’ or “to trick Him.”



It is recorded that Jesus wrote in the ground a second time and it is this time “they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest.” (verse 9) I believe  this second time He may have written the names, one by one, beginning with the eldest, of the equally guilty male parties, since they left “one by one.” Thus He was showing the men their guilt. Don’t misunderstand; he was not acquiting the men by this action. He would be letting them know they too were guilty.

The Pharisees wanted Jesus to think they knew the Law so well that I believe Jesus answered them from the Law, just as He regularly did when teaching or being challenged on earth. It would be like Him to refer them to what they should have known but which they chose to ignore. Do we ignore this same law ourselves, today?  The part which says:

14 “I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot,

nor your brides when they commit adultery;

for the men themselves go aside with harlots,

and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,

and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.”   Hosea 4:14RSV

bible with hands

These men were without understanding; He tells them they will come to ruin. I believe  He was letting the men know he had not yet acquitted them of the same sin or of their sin in thinking they needed no forgiveness themselves.

The MESSAGE Bible, a most modern version for today, states it quite clearly:

“Wine and whiskey

leave my people in a stupor.

They ask question of a dead tree,

Expect answers from a sturdy walking stick.

Drunk on sex, they can’t find their way home.

They’ve replaced their God with their genitals.

They worship on the tops of mountains,

Make a picnic out of religion.

Under the oaks and elms on the hills

They stretch out and take it easy.

Before you know it, your daughters are whores

And the wives of your sons are sleeping around.

But I’m not going after your whoring daughters

Or the adulterous wives of your sons.

It’s the men who pick up the whores that I’m after,

The men who worship at the holy whorehouses—

A stupid people, ruined by whores!” 

(Hosea 4:11-14  The Message)  (emphasis mine)

It is quite clear here that God blames men if women become whores or adulteresses and get involved in sexual sins, and I think that’s what ended the confrontation. He let it be known that he was not acquitting proud men of their same sin. And God does not wink at sexual sin today. Men are to be the protectors of women.

He probably did write the names of the men guilty of the same sin, but I believe He Jesus writes with finger John 8wrote the Law first so they had no bargaining chips left for themselves. He sent the message: If you, as teachers of the law, think you’re following the Law…think again…you are just as guilty and even more so.

He also let them know He sees the unseen, that which is not seen by men or which we wouldn’t want to admit.



A further intimidation of those particular men present would be this: These men would also have left because they, having become false witnesses by accusing only half of the guilty parties, wanted to exonerate themselves from the same guilt but wanted to  condem someone whom God would not because of Hosea 4:14. They also knew the law which deals with false witnesses (did they think Jesus didn’t?), and that they themselves could receive the penalty they wished to inflict on someone else.  (See: Deuteronomy 19:16-21 regarding false witnesses at the end of the following article, JESUS AUTHENTICATES THE PROPHETS AND SCRIPTURE.

I think Jesus cited or wrote out Hosea 4:14 on the ground the first time, afterwards writing the names of the men present to whom the Law applied. He is also letting them know that He knows secret sins.

(Thank you to Malinda, who in the comment section, applied the fact that Jesus wrote the law the even SECOND time He wrote . Instead of writing the names it is possible He cited this time Deut 19:16-21. I had left it that the men quietly knew it, however Melinda offers that Jesus reminded them of it. She keeps Jesus consistent. I like that. Thanks Malinda for catching this.)

A lesson for today?  God can’t be out-smarted or tricked.

P.S.  Before completing this article I ‘just happened’ to tune in to Joseph Prince’s T.V. program. https://www.josephprince.org/onlinestore/us/c-93-sermon-cds.aspx?IsTop=1 My ears picked up when he spoke of the incident of the woman caught in adultery. It is just what I was writing on at the time. This is where I was alerted to the fact that Jesus wrote “on the ground” not in the sand as popularly thought. Joseph Prince’s further insights are amazing! Because the temple, he says, was built on large cobblestone squares, not sand, Jesus could well have written on stone with his ten-commandments-stone-tablets-42898375 shutterstockfinger – just as He wrote the Ten Commandments – on stone with His finger – and seeing this the Pharisees would have known that they had come in contact with the Law Maker Himself. Isn’t that just like Jesus.. giving a lesson deeper than the ear can hear?  It makes me tingle.

The Scriptures where Jesus said:  “It is written” and “You should know the Scriptures”  are posted in the following post titled:




required link for use of ChristArt clip art:



Jesus Validates Prophets and Scriptures of the Old Testament



– by Mary A. LaClair

1,230 words

The belief that the Bible is God’s written Word, free from error is seen by the claims of Christ Himself.Book

Jesus quotes Scriptures and validates them by saying “It is written…”


 Matthew 4:4

4 But he answered, “It is written,

‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” RSV


Matthew 4:6  (here even the devil quotes Scripture)

6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” RSV

Matthew 4:7

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” RSV

Matthew 4:10

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,seek bible

‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.'” RSV


Matthew 21:13

13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a den of robbers.” RSV  clear-temple

Matthew 26:24

24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” RSV

Matthew 26:31

31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ RSV

Mark 1:2

2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,

who shall prepare thy way; RSV

Mark 7:6

6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips, scroll

but their heart is far from me; RSV

Mark 9:13

13 But I tell you that Eli’jah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.” RSV

Luke 4:4

4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'” RSV

Luke 4:8

8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘You shall worship the Lord your God,

and him only shall you serve.'” RSV

Luke 19:46

46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” RSV

Luke 24:46

46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, RSV

ticket to heavenJohn 6:45

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. RSV

John 8:17

17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; RSV

John 12:14

14 And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, RSV


Jesus stressed the importance of  our knowing the Scriptures:

Matt 12:38-40

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth….”     NAS

Matt 19:3-7

3 And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,…”  NAS

Matthew 21:42

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The very stone which the builders rejectedseek bible

has become the head of the corner;

this was the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes’? RSV

Matthew 22:29

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. RSV

Matthew 26:54

54 But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” RSV

Matthew 26:56

56 But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. RSV

Mark 14:49

49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” RSV

Luke 24:27

27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. RSV

Luke 24:32

32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on garden old man and womanthe road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” RSV

Luke 24:45

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, RSV

John 5:39

seek bible39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; RSV

John 10:31-39 

31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”  33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be scrollbroken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,’ You are blaspheming,’ because I said,’ I am the Son of God’? 37 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. ”  39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.  NAS

Acts 17:2

2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, RSV

Punishment for false witnesses referred to in article    WHAT DID JESUS WRITE IN THE SAND?

Deut 19:16-21  – 

16 If a malicious witness rises against any man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days; 18 the judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you. 20 And the rest shall hear, and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity; it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.  (RSV)