John 8:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 8:9, NIV: "At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there."

John 8:9, ESV: "But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him."

John 8:9, KJV: "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."

John 8:9, NASB: "Now when they heard this, they began leaving, one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman where she was, in the center of the courtyard."

John 8:9, NLT: "When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman."

John 8:9, CSB: "When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center."

What does John 8:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Of all of Jesus' responses to His critics, this seems to be the most dramatic. Typically, those who challenged Jesus (Matthew 16:1; 19:3; Matthew 22:35; Luke 10:25; 11:54) were simply foiled, or frustrated. In this case, they're driven off entirely. The Pharisees have attempted to trick Jesus by challenging Him to stone a woman caught in adultery. However, they have not followed the entire law. The guilty man is not present (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22), they are not planning to begin the execution themselves (Deuteronomy 17:7), and they seem to have no appreciation for God's sense of mercy (Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalm 145:8).

When Jesus writes on the ground and challenges their approach, the men turn and leave. Not only do they fail to ruin Jesus' reputation with the people, they actually make Him look even wiser, and themselves even less holy.

The phrasing here can be interpreted to mean that Jesus and the woman are literally the only two people in this area. However, the context strongly suggests that Jesus and the woman are only alone "in the midst" of the crowd, now that the Pharisees have left. In other words, once the accusers are gone, all that is left in front of the crowd are Jesus and the adulterous woman.