"How should adultery be punished?" (Alleged Contradiction #E4655)
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.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman [adulteress], he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Adulterer and adulteress
According to the law of Moses, the adulterer and the adulteress were to be put to death together. The Pharisees had not brought the adulterer (it could have been one of them), and so they were breaking Moses’ law.
None of them were without the sin of adultery themselves (John 8:7-9, “without sin” means without this particular sin), and so none of them were worthy to put this woman to death.
- Special case
To the Pharisees, this was a special case. It is very unlikely that they had put anyone to death for adultery before this particular instance, because Israel was under Roman rule and needed Roman consent to put anyone to death (which is why they brought Jesus to Pilate). From a governmental standpoint, yes, the death penalty for adultery is a good practice. If the death penalty for adultery were being consistently practiced in Israel, this woman would probably not have committed adultery for fear of punishment. However, the Pharisees, guilty of adultery themselves, acted concerned for Moses’ law in this particular case, not in general.
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