Matthew 25:1-13

Matthew 25:1-13
Ordinary A50


1 “Then the kingdomA of heavenB will be likeC this. Ten bridesmaidsD took their lampsE and went to meet the bridegroom.F 

Notes on verse 1

A “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
B “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
C “be like” = homoioo. 15x in NT. From homoios (similar to, resembling, like); from the same as homou (together); from homos (the same). This is to compare, liken, resemble, become similar.
D “bridesmaids” = parthenos. 15x in NT. This is virgin, chaste, unmarried. It can also refer to a woman past puberty who is not yet married, since she was presumed to be a virgin.
E “lamps” = lampas. 9x in NT. From lampo (to give light literally or figuratively). This is a torch or lantern that was hand held, perhaps made of clay with a flax wick and oil.
F “bridegroom” = numphios. 16x in NT. From numphe (bride, daughter-in-law, young wife, or young woman); perhaps from nupto (to put on a veil as a bride does – in Latin nupto means simple to marry); related to numphon (the room where the marriage bed is). This is bridegroom in a literal or figurative sense.

Five of them were foolish,G and five were wise.H When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed,I all of them became drowsyJ and slept. 

Notes on verses 2-5

G “foolish” = moros. 12x in NT. This is foolish, dull, stupid. It is something lacking an edge so figuratively it refers to someone who has a loose grasp of reality or whose understanding is dull. It is someone who acts as though they have not brain.
H “wise” = phronimos. 14x in NT. From phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is wise in a practical sense, prudent, or sensible. It bis savvy, rooted in our own point of view, thoughtful. It can also mean conceited.
I “delayed” = chronizo. 5x in NT. From chronos (time in the chronological sense, quantitative time, a duration of time). This is to take time, delay, linger.
J “became drowsy” = nustazo. 2x in NT. Perhaps from neuo (to nod, to signal). This is to nod, which could imply falling asleep, being drowsy, or delaying.

But at midnight there was a shout,K ‘Look!L Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got upM and trimmedN their lamps. 

The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’O 

Notes on verses 6-8

K “shout” = krauge. 6x in NT. From krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else. It can express alarm, trouble, or grief.
L “look” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
M “got up” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
N “trimmed” = kosmeo. 10x in NT. From kosmos (order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants; literally, something that is ordered; can refer to all creation or decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and so more beautiful); perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is to order, arrange, beautify. It is more beautiful because it is properly arranged in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be used to mean trim a wick.
O “going out” = sbennumi. 8x in NT. This is to quench or extinguish in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean suppress.

But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enoughP for you and for us; you had better goQ to the dealers and buyR some for yourselves.’ 

Notes on verse 9

P “be enough” = arkeo. 8x in NT. This is to be content or satisfied. It can also mean to ward off.
Q “go” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
R “buy” = agorazo. From agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather). This is to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred. It can also mean to purchase or redeem.

10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were readyS went with him into the wedding banquet;T and the doorU was shut. 

11 Later the otherV bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord,W lord, open to us.’ 

Notes on verses 10-11

S “ready” = hetoimos. 17x in NT. From heteos (fitting, fitness). This is make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge.
T “wedding banquet” = gamos. 16x in NT. This is a wedding, whether the ceremony, the feast, or the marriage itself.
U “door” = thura. This is opening or closure so it’s a door, gate, or entrance. Figuratively, this can refer to an opportunity.
V “other” = loipos. From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.
W “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

12 But he replied, ‘TrulyX I tell you, I do not knowY you.’ 13 Keep awakeZ therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”AA, BB

Notes on verses 12-13

X “truly” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
Y “know” = eido. Related to “look” in v6. See note L above. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
Z “keep awake” = gregoreo. Related to “got up” in v7. From egeiro (see note M above). This is to be or stay awake, watch. Figuratively, it can be alertness or vigilance.
AA “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
BB Some manuscripts add “in which the Son of Man comes.” “Man” is anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

Image credit: “Foolish Virgins” by James Tissot.

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