Matthew 25

Listen to Matthew 25

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 1ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet 2the bridegroom.[b]
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were 3wise.
3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
5 As the bridegroom 4was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
6 But 5at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
7 Then all those virgins rose and 6trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'
10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and 7those who were ready went in with him to 8the marriage feast, and 9the door was shut.
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 10'Lord, lord, open to us.'
12 11But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, 12I do not know you.'
13 13Watch therefore, for you 14know neither the day nor the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

14 15"For 16it will be like a man 17going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property.
15 To one he gave five 18talents,[d] to another two, to another one, 19to each according to his ability. Then he 20went away.
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.
17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
18 But he who had received the one talent went and 21dug in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 Now 22after a long time the master of those servants came and 23settled accounts with them.
20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.'
21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and 24faithful servant.[e]25You have been faithful over a little; 26I will set you over much. Enter into 27the joy of your master.'
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.'
23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be 28a hard man, reaping 29where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,
25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here 30you have what is yours.'
26 But his master answered him, 'You 31wicked and 32slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
29 33For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And 34cast 35the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place 36there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

The Final Judgment

31 37"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, 38then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him 39will be gathered 40all the nations, and 41he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates 42the sheep from the goats.
33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then 43the King will say to 44those on his right, 'Come, you 45who are blessed by my Father, 46inherit 47the kingdom 48prepared for you 49from the foundation of the world.
35 For 50I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you 51gave me drink, 52I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 53I was naked and you clothed me, 54I was sick and you 55visited me, 56I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
40 And 57the King will answer them, 58'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these 59my brothers,[f] you did it to me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 60'Depart from me, you 61cursed, into 62the eternal fire prepared for 63the devil and his angels.
42 For 64I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44 Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'
45 Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, 65you did not do it to me.'
46 And these will go away 66into eternal punishment, but the righteous 67into 68eternal life."

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Matthew 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

The parable of the ten virgins. (1-13) The parable of the talents. (14-30) The judgment. (31-46)

Verses 1-13 The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ's coming. See the nature of Christianity. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered and slept. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death ( 2 Peter. 3:14 ) day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found. Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when going out. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here. The suddenness of death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor's conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.

Verses 14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.

Verses 31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.

Cross References 68

  • 1. Luke 19:13
  • 2. Matthew 9:15; John 3:29; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2, 9
  • 3. [See Matthew 24:45 above]
  • 4. Matthew 24:48; [ver. 19; Hebrews 10:37; 2 Peter 3:4, 9]
  • 5. Mark 13:35
  • 6. [Luke 12:35]
  • 7. Matthew 24:44
  • 8. Matthew 22:2
  • 9. For ver. 10-12, [Luke 13:25-27]
  • 10. [Matthew 7:22, 23]
  • 11. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 12. Matthew 10:33; [2 Timothy 2:19]
  • 13. Matthew 24:42
  • 14. [Matthew 24:50]
  • 15. For ver. 14-30, [Luke 19:12-27]
  • 16. [Mark 13:34]
  • 17. Matthew 21:33
  • 18. Matthew 18:24
  • 19. [Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10]
  • 20. [See ver. 14 above]
  • 21. [Matthew 13:44]
  • 22. [ver. 5]
  • 23. Matthew 18:23; Romans 14:12; [Luke 16:2]
  • 24. ver. 23; Matthew 24:45
  • 25. Luke 16:10; 1 Corinthians 4:2; [1 Timothy 3:13]
  • 26. Matthew 24:47
  • 27. Hebrews 12:2; [John 15:11]
  • 28. 1 Samuel 25:3
  • 29. [2 Corinthians 8:12]
  • 30. Matthew 20:14
  • 31. Matthew 18:32; Proverbs 20:4; Romans 12:11
  • 32. Matthew 18:32; Proverbs 20:4; Romans 12:11
  • 33. [Luke 12:48]; See Matthew 13:12
  • 34. See Matthew 8:12
  • 35. [Luke 17:10]
  • 36. See Matthew 8:12
  • 37. See Matthew 16:27, 28
  • 38. Matthew 19:28
  • 39. [Matthew 24:31]
  • 40. Joel 3:12; [Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19]
  • 41. Matthew 13:49
  • 42. Ezekiel 34:17
  • 43. ver. 40; Luke 19:38; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16; [Isaiah 6:5]
  • 44. 1 Kings 2:19; Psalms 45:9; Psalms 110:1
  • 45. [Psalms 37:22; Isaiah 65:23; Ephesians 1:3]
  • 46. Matthew 19:29; Revelation 21:7
  • 47. Luke 12:32; Luke 22:29
  • 48. Matthew 20:23; [1 Corinthians 2:9; Hebrews 11:16]
  • 49. See Matthew 13:35
  • 50. Isaiah 58:7; Ezekiel 18:7, 16; [James 2:15, 16]
  • 51. Matthew 10:42
  • 52. Job 31:32; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:1, 2; 3 John 5
  • 53. [See ver. 35 above]
  • 54. [Luke 10:33, 34]
  • 55. James 1:27
  • 56. 2 Timothy 1:16; [Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 13:3]
  • 57. ver. 34
  • 58. See Matthew 10:40, 42
  • 59. Matthew 28:10; John 20:17; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11; [Matthew 12:50]
  • 60. Matthew 7:23
  • 61. [Hebrews 6:8]
  • 62. Matthew 13:40, 42; Matthew 18:8; Mark 9:43, 48; Jude 7; [Luke 16:24]; See 2 Thessalonians 1:8
  • 63. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7
  • 64. Job 22:7
  • 65. [Luke 10:16; Acts 9:5; 1 Corinthians 8:12]
  • 66. Daniel 12:2; [John 5:29; Acts 24:15]
  • 67. Daniel 12:2; [John 5:29; Acts 24:15]
  • 68. Romans 2:7; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or torches
  • [b]. Some manuscripts add and the bride
  • [c]. Greek bondservants; also verse 19
  • [d]. A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years' wages for a laborer
  • [e]. Greek bondservant; also verses 23, 26, 30
  • [f]. Or brothers and sisters

Matthew 25 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.