It was during the week-long Feast of Tabernacles that the woman was caught in the act of adultery. That was the week when the people of Jerusalem, to recall the forty desert years when their ancestors lived in tents, abandoned their homes to live in palm branch huts set up in the streets. We would guess that people during that week, seeing each other in their underwear, might fall into temptation.
With the Pharisees bringing just the woman before Jesus, we are set to wondering if she somehow had been committing adultery alone.
Although Moses commanded such a woman to be stoned to death, Roman Law forbade such a killing. The Pharisees were tricking Jesus by making him guilty of disobeying either Jewish or Roman Law.
Jesus bent down, and he began to write in the dust. Some people guess that he wrote the one word “Love,” other people say he wrote the sins of the Pharisees. It might be that he was just doodling in a show of disassociating himself from those who stood around accusing the woman.
It is good for us, when we fall into accusing others, to think of Jesus telling us, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
It is wrong to say that this story shows that Jesus approves of adultery. No, he told the woman to sin no more.