Why didn’t the Pharisees cast a stone on the adulterous woman?
To cast the first stone would be to render their accusation final and commit to punishing the woman capitally.
According to Torah (God’s law), the punishment for falsely accusing someone would be to receive the same punishment that the accused would have received. In the case of adultery this would have been death. (Deut 19:16-21)
“He that is without sin (false accusation), cast the first stone.” Perhaps Jesus was even referencing the story of Susanna, daughter to Chelcias. Of course it would have been unlawful to sentence her without a fair trial including the male perpetrator.
The question remains, would these men have truly cast a stone at the woman or were they solely there for the purpose of trying to test Jesus as it says in John 8:6?
My guess is that they would not have stoned her but simply wanted to put Jesus in a situation where He might falter in the Torah, which would give them a case to bring a charge against Him as being a false teacher.
It is interesting that I have had well-meaning Christians ask me the same thing: “What would you do in that situation? Would you stone an adulteress?”
Their intention is to see if I will be consistent with what the Torah prescribes in such a situation, in the hopes that I will disagree with God’s law and thereby prove them right in their position that God’s law is antiquated and done away with. On the contrary, nothing could be more expedient than His law.
Now to those who would suggest that “he that is without sin cast the first stone” means that we cannot judge anyone because we ourselves our sinful, I’d ask: Does God judge us (enact justice) because He is sinless or because He is just?
If we are not to judge anyone at all, then why did God appoint judges over Israel? Let’s just keep in mind these two scriptures:
“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek Yahweh understand it fully.”