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Matthew 25:1-13 – The Parable of the Ten Maidens


In the Parable of the wise and foolish maidens Jesus' instructs Matthew's disciple community on the need for watchfulness, since it does not know the time of the return of the Son of Man.


This parable uses wedding imagery to describe the kingdom (see 22:1-14). This time it pictures ten maidens who go to meet the bridegroom. Five described as "wise" have prepared by bringing along extra oil for their lamps; five are described as "foolish" because they have not prepared for a time of waiting by bringing along extra oil. When their oil runs out and the wedding banquet finally begins, the foolish maidens are off buying more oil. The point of the parable is simple. It is not meant to instruct Matthew's community about sharing or not sharing resources with one another. It is meant to repeat and to emphasize the one key point of Jesus' concluding instruction: a wise disciple community is urged to watchfulness because it does not know the day or the hour of Jesus' coming.

Matthew 25:1-13

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

25‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids* took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.* 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” 7Then all those bridesmaids* got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” 9But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids* came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” 12But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.*

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