Matthew 25: The Ten Bridesmaids

What are the differences and the similarities between the wise and foolish bridesmaids?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:1–13 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the groom. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish took only their lamps, but the wise also carried flasks of oil. After a long wait, the bridegroom still had not come. All ten became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, someone shouted, ‘Look! The groom is coming. Let’s go meet him.’ The bridesmaids awakened and reached for their lamps. The foolish said, ‘Our lamps have gone out. Give us some of your oil.’ But the wise said, ‘No. We do not have enough for everyone. Go to the market and buy your own oil.’ While the foolish were shopping, the groom joined everyone who was ready and entered the wedding feast. The door was locked. Later, the foolish bridesmaids came knocking. ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But the groom said, ‘I am sorry. I do not know you.’ Likewise, you should always be prepared, because you do not know when the Son of Man will come.”
King James
Matthew 25:1–13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

How can we know if we are adequately prepared?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:13 “Likewise, you should always be prepared, because you do not know when the Son of Man will come.”
King James
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

How can the Kingdom of Heaven be likened to an earthly enterprise?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:14–30 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was about to travel to a distant country. He called his servants and made them responsible for his money while he was gone. According to their ability, he gave five bags of money to the first man, two bags to the second, and one bag to the third. Then he left. The servant with five bags used the money in business transactions and made five more. The servant with two bags also used the money in business and made two more. But the servant with one bag dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. After a long time, the man returned from his trip and asked his servants what they had done with his money. The servant who had received five bags brought ten and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags, and I have gained five more.’ ‘Great job!’ the man said. ‘You are a good, trustworthy servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will now make you responsible for much more. Let’s celebrate together.’ The servant who had received two bags brought four and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags, and I have gained two more.” ‘Great job!’ the man said. ‘You are a good, trustworthy servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will now make you responsible for much more. Let’s celebrate together.’ The servant who had received one bag said, ‘Master, I knew how hard you are to please. You are like someone who expects a harvest but has planted no seeds. I was afraid I might lose your money, so I hid your bag in the earth. Here is your money, still safe.’ ‘You are a wicked, lazy servant,’ the man said. ‘If you knew I expected an increase, and I expect a harvest where I’ve planted no seeds, you should have invested with the moneychangers so I would have received my money with interest. Take the bag and give it to the one who has ten. People who put to good use what they have will gain more, but people who do nothing with what they have will lose what they have hidden. Throw this good-for-nothing servant outside in the darkness, where there will be bitterness and weeping.'”
King James
Matthew 25:14–30 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the Kingdom scenario, Jesus doesn’t include those who invest and lose it all. Why is this common situation not mentioned?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:14–30 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was about to travel to a distant country. He called his servants and made them responsible for his money while he was gone. According to their ability, he gave five bags of money to the first man, two bags to the second, and one bag to the third. Then he left. The servant with five bags used the money in business transactions and made five more. The servant with two bags also used the money in business and made two more. But the servant with one bag dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. After a long time, the man returned from his trip and asked his servants what they had done with his money. The servant who had received five bags brought ten and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags, and I have gained five more.’ ‘Great job!’ the man said. ‘You are a good, trustworthy servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will now make you responsible for much more. Let’s celebrate together.’ The servant who had received two bags brought four and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags, and I have gained two more.” ‘Great job!’ the man said. ‘You are a good, trustworthy servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will now make you responsible for much more. Let’s celebrate together.’ The servant who had received one bag said, ‘Master, I knew how hard you are to please. You are like someone who expects a harvest but has planted no seeds. I was afraid I might lose your money, so I hid your bag in the earth. Here is your money, still safe.’ ‘You are a wicked, lazy servant,’ the man said. ‘If you knew I expected an increase, and I expect a harvest where I’ve planted no seeds, you should have invested with the moneychangers so I would have received my money with interest. Take the bag and give it to the one who has ten. People who put to good use what they have will gain more, but people who do nothing with what they have will lose what they have hidden. Throw this good-for-nothing servant outside in the darkness, where there will be bitterness and weeping.'”
King James
Matthew 25:14–30 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Why do the righteous have to ask how they have ministered to the Lord?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:37 “The righteous will say, ‘Sir, when were you hungry and thirsty, and we gave you food and drink?”
King James
Matthew 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Why do the unrighteous have to ask how they failed in their ministry to the Lord’s needs?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:44 “They will also say, ‘Sir, when were you hungry and thirsty, and we gave you no food and drink? When did we see you homeless or in need of clothes? When were you sick or in prison, and we did not visit you?'”
King James
Matthew 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

What is the difference between the sheep and the goats?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 25:31–46 “When the Son of Man comes in splendor with all his angels, he will take his place upon his exalted throne. All people will assemble before him, and he will separate them like a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. The King will say to those on his right, ‘You who have been blessed by my Father, receive your inheritance, the Kingdom that was prepared for you from the creation of the world. I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was homeless, and you opened your home to me. I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you came to visit me.’ The righteous will say, ‘Sir, when were you hungry and thirsty, and we gave you food and drink? When did we see you homeless or in need of clothes? When were you sick or in prison, and we came to visit you?’ The King will say, ‘I assure you, whenever you helped one of my needy people, you did it to me.’ He will say to those on his left, “Leave me, you who are condemned. Receive your inheritance in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry, and you gave me no food. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was homeless, and you would not open your home. I needed clothes, and you gave me nothing to wear. I was sick and in prison, but you never visited me.” They will also say, ‘Sir, when were you hungry and thirsty, and we gave you no food and drink? When did we see you homeless or in need of clothes? When were you sick or in prison, and we did not visit you?’ The King will say, ‘I assure you, whenever you failed to help one of my needy people, you failed to help me.’ They will suffer eternal punishment, but the righteous will enjoy eternal life.”
King James
Matthew 25:31–46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.