on John 8 :11
Neither do I condemn thee - Bishop Pearce says: "It would have been strange if Jesus, when he was not a magistrate, and had not the witnesses before him to examine them, and when she had not been tried and condemned by the law and legal judges, should have taken upon him to condemn her. This being the case, it appears why Jesus avoided giving an answer to the question of the scribes and Pharisees, and also how little reason there is to conclude from hence that Christ seems in this case not enough to have discouraged adultery, though he called it a sin. And yet this opinion took place so early among the Christians, that the reading of this story was industriously avoided, in the lessons recited out of the Gospels, in the public service of the churches; as if Jesus's saying, I do not condemn thee, had given too much countenance to women guilty of that crime. In consequence of this, as it was never read in the churches, and is now not to be found in any of the Evangelistaria, and as it was probably marked in the MSS. as a portion not to be read there, this whole story, from John 8:1-11, inclusive, came, in length of time, to be left out in some MSS., though in the greater part it is still remaining." Thus far the judicious and learned bishop. How the passage stands in all the MSS. hitherto collated may be seen in Wetstein and Griesbach. After weighing what has been adduced in favor of its authenticity, and seriously considering its state in the MSS., as exhibited in the Var. Lect. of Griesbach, I must confess, the evidence in its favor does not appear to me to be striking. Yet I by no means would have it expunged from the text. Its absence from many MSS., and the confused manner in which it appears in others, may be readily accounted for on the principles laid down by Bishop Pearce above. It may however be necessary to observe, that a very perfect connection subsists between John 7:52 and John 8:12 - all the intermediate verses having been omitted by MSS. of the first antiquity and authority. In some MSS. it is found at the end of this Gospel; in others a vacant place is left in this chapter; and in others it is placed after the 21st chapter of Luke. See at the end of this chapter.
on John 8 :11
Neither do I condemn thee - This is evidently to be taken in the sense of judicial condemnation, or of passing sentence as a magistrate, for this was what they had arraigned her for. It was not to obtain his opinion about adultery, but to obtain the condemnation of the woman. As he claimed no civil authority, he said that he did not exercise it, and should not condemn her to die. In this sense the word is used in the previous verse, and this is the only sense which the passage demands. Besides, what follows shows that this was his meaning.
Go, and sin no more - You have sinned. You have been detected and accused. The sin is great. But I do not claim power to condemn you to die, and, as your accusers have left you, my direction to you is that you sin no more. This passage therefore teaches us:
1. that Jesus claimed no civil authority.
2. that he regarded the action of which they accused her as sin.
3. that he knew the hearts and lives of men.
4. that men are often very zealous in accusing others of that of which they themselves are guilty. And,
5. that Jesus was endowed with wonderful wisdom in meeting the devices of his enemies, and eluding their deep-laid plans to involve him in ruin.
It should be added that this passage, together with the last verse of the preceding chapter, has been by many critics thought to be spurious. It is wanting in many of the ancient manuscripts and versions, and has been rejected by Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Tittman, Knapp, and many others. It is not easy to decide the question whether it be a genuine part of the New Testament or not. Some have supposed that it was not written by the evangelists, but was often related by them, and that after a time it was recorded and introduced by Papias into the sacred text.
on John 8 :11
8:11 Neither do I condemn thee - Neither do I take upon me to pass any such sentence. Let this deliverance lead thee to repentance.