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INTRODUCTION. Approximately six months before his crucifixion, Jesus journeyed
to Jerusalem for the feast of tabernacles (John 7:2, 10, 37). This feast beginning on the fifteenth day in the seventh month (September/October, according to our calendar) was an eight-day festival. It was one of the three yearly feasts that every male among the Jews went to Jerusalem to celebrate as required by the law. Tents or tabernacles were erected in and about Jerusalem to commemorate the time the Jews dwelt in tents in the wilderness when Moses led them out of Egypt. Thus during the feast, the Jews "camped out" in the tents just as their ancestors did in the wilderness. The feast also celebrated the fall harvest and was a time of great joy and rejoicing (Lev. 23:33-43).
At the conclusion of the feast in this incident, Jesus left Jerusalem in the evening
and went to the Mount of Olives (John 8:1). The mountain was east of the city, separated from it by the Kidron valley. From the top of the mountain there is a magnificent panoramic view of Jerusalem. Located on the western slope of the mount was the garden of Gethsemane, and on the eastern slope the city of Bethany where Jesus' friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, resided.
In the morning Jesus returned to the temple in Jerusalem where He sat down and taught the people (John 8:2). The Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of sinning and presented to Jesus a problem in order to test and entrap him. According to the Law of Moses, the sin committed by the woman was punishable by death. However, only the Romans who governed the Jews at this time had the power to inflict capital punishment. Therefore, if Jesus said the woman should be put to death, He would violate Roman law, but if He said the woman should be re- leased, He would violate the Law of Moses. Thus the dilemma was a no-win situation for Jesus–or was it?