“They said this
To test Jesus.
They might have
Jesus bent down.
With his finger
On the ground.”
τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγον πειράζοντες αὐτόν, ἵνα ἔχωσι
κατηγορεῖν αὐτοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς κάτω κύψας, τῷ δακτύλῳ ἔγραφεν εἰς τὴν γῆν·
indicated that the Pharisees and Scribes had said this (τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγον) to test
Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτόν). Thus, they
might have some grounds or a charge (ἵνα ἔχωσι) to bring against or accuse him
(κατηγορεῖν αὐτοῦ). Jesus (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς)
bent or stooped down (κάτω κύψας). Then
he wrote (ἔγραφεν) with his finger (τῷ δακτύλῳ) on the ground (εἰς τὴν γῆν). These Jewish religious leaders were testing
Jesus, since they were not seeking his legal opinion or advice. If he proposed stoning her, he would be running
afoul of the Roman law that forbade stoning.
If he did not stone her, he would be going against the Mosaic law. What was he going to do? He started to write on the Jerusalem Temple
floor. Actually, no one really knows
what he wrote on the ground, since it is not explicitly mentioned. What is your opinion about sexual offenses?
“He said to them.
‘But who do you say
That I am?’”
λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι;
This same question can be found in Mark, chapter 8:29, and Luke, chapter 9:20. Jesus then asked his disciples (λέγει αὐτοῖς) who they thought or said that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι). Jesus thus put them to the test. Was he the Son of Man or someone else?
“Will anyone rob God?
Yet you are robbing me!
But you say.
‘How are we robbing you?’
‘In your tithes!
In your offerings!
You are cursed
With a curse!
You are robbing me!
The whole nation of you!
Bring the full tithes
Into the storehouse!
Then there may be food
In my house.
You put me to the test.’
Says Yahweh of hosts.
If I will not open
The windows of heaven
If I will not pour down
An overflowing blessing.’”
Yahweh asked them why they were robbing God. They responded that they did not know that they were robbing God. Yahweh answered by telling them that they were robbing him by not bringing their full tithes and offerings. Thus, the whole nation would be cursed. To rectify this, they were to bring their full tithes, so that the Temple storehouses would be full of food. They were going to be put to the test. Yahweh had the option of opening the windows to heaven for them. He could pour down his blessings on them, if they stopped robbing him by withholding their tithes and offerings.
“When they were tried,
Even though they were being disciplined in mercy,
They learned how the ungodly were tormented
When judged in wrath.
You tested them
As a parent does
But you examined the ungodly
As a stern king does
Whether absent or present,
They were equally distressed.
A twofold grief possessed them.
There was a groaning
At the memory of what had occurred.
That through their own punishments,
The righteous had received benefit.
It was the Lord’s doing.
Even though they had mockingly rejected him,
Who long before had been cast out and exposed,
At the end of the events
They marveled at him.
They felt thirst in a different way
From the righteous.”
The righteous began to understand that their trials and thirst for water in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, were nothing in comparison to the punishment that the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς) had received. They were disciplined in mercy, while the ungodly were angrily tormented and judged. They were treated like children getting a paternal (ὡς πατὴρ) warning, while the ungodly were given a royal (βασιλεὺς) condemnation. The Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) gave benefits to the Israelites because the Egyptians had mocked and rejected him. The thirst that the two of them had was completely different between the righteous (δικαίοις) and the ungodly. Finally, the ungodly marveled at the Lord.
“However they soon forgot his works.
They did not wait for his counsel.
But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness.
They put God to the test in the desert.
He gave them what they asked.
But he sent a wasting disease among them.
They were jealous of Moses in the camp.
They were jealous of Aaron,
The holy one of Yahweh.
The earth opened.
It swallowed up Dathan.
It covered the faction of Abiram.
Fire also broke out in their company.
The flame burned up the wicked.”
This psalmist points out that they soon forgot about Yahweh’s works in Egypt and the Red Sea. They did not wait for his counsel. Instead they had a wanton carving while in the wilderness. They put God to the test. Nevertheless, he gave them what they asked for, food and drink. However, after the revolt against Moses and Aaron, he also sent a disease among them. This story and the one about Dathan and Abiram can be found in Numbers, chapter 16. They were jealous of Moses and Aaron who believed that they were becoming holier than the others. They had a test with censors that favored Moses and Aaron. The punishment for the 250 rebellious men was death. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan. Then a fire burned the people with Abiram. This ended this unhappy tale of the revolt in the desert.