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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Matthew 25

Verse 1

Lamps [λαμπαδας] . Lit., torches. Probably a short, wooden stem held in the hand, with a dish at the top, in which was a piece of cloth dipped in oil or pitch.

Verse 3

They that were foolish [αιτινες μωραι] . Read aiJ gar mwrai, for the foolish. The for justifies the epithet foolish in the preceding verse.

Verse 5

Slumbered and slept [ενυσταξαν και εκαθευδον] . Slumbered is, literally, nodded. Note the variation of tense. Nodded is aorist, denoting a transient act, the initial stage of slumber. They dropped their heads. Slept is imperfect, of continuous slumber.

Verse 6

There was a cry made [κραυγη γεγονεν] . Rev., there is a cry. The verb is in the perfect tense, representing the past event as perpetuated in the present result, and hence is rendered by the English present. A great and decisive change was the result of the cry. No more sleeping, waiting, or silence. There is a cry, and behold the awaking, the bustle, the trimming of lamps and the running to the oil - vendors.

To meet him [εις απαντησιν] . The translation can hardly convey the meaning of the Greek phrase, which implies a custom or familiar ceremony. Come forth unto meeting.

Verse 7

Then all those virgins arose [τοτε ηγερθησαν πασαι αι παρθενοι εκειναι] . The Greek order is expressive. Then arose all the virgins, those former ones. Those [εκειναι] a pronoun of remoter reference, and emphatic by its position at the end of the sentence.

Trimmed [εκοσμησαν] . From kosmov, order, and meaning to put in order or arrange. Tynd., prepared. Trench (" Parables ") quotes from Ward (" View of the Hindoos "), describing a marriage ceremony in India :

"After waiting two or three hours, at length near midnight it was announced, was in the very words of Scripture, 'Behold the bridegroom cometh; go yet out to meet him. ' All the person employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession. Some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared, but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward."

Their lamps [εαυτων] . Lit., "their own lamps;" emphasizing the personal preparation in contrast with the foolish, who depended for supply on their fellows.

Verse 8

Are gone out [σβεννυνται] . The A. V. misses the graphic force of the continuous present, denoting something in progress. They see the flame waning and flickering, and cry, Our lamps are going out! So Rev.

Verse 9

Not so, lest, etc. [μηποτε ου μη αρκεση] . The Greek does not give the blunt negative of the A. V. It is a more courteous form of refusal, making the reason for refusing to supply the place of the negative. Give us of your oil, say the foolish. The wise reply, Lest perchance there be not by any means [ου μη, τηε δουβλε νεγατιςε] enough. The Rev. gives it very happily. Per adventure there will not be enough, etc.

Verse 10

And while they went [απερχομενων] . A present participle, and very graphic : while they are going away.

They that were ready [αι ετοιμοι] . Lit., the ready or prepared ones.

To the marriage [γαμους] . Marriage - feast, as Matthew 22:2, Matthew 22:3, Matthew 22:4; and so Rev.

Verse 11

Lord, Lord. Applying directly to the bridegroom, whose will was supreme, not that he had arrived at the bride 's residence.

Verse 14

Travelling [αποδημων] . The sense is more nearly about to travel, like our going abroad.

Verse 15

Several ability [ιδιαν] . Lit., his own or peculiar capacity for business.

Verse 16

Straightway [ευθεως] . Connected with the beginning of this verse, instead of with the end of ver 14 Straightway he that had received, etc., indicating promptness on the servant 's part.

Traded with them [ηργασατο εν αυτοις] . Lit., wrought with them. The virgins wait, the servants work.

Made [εποιησεν] . Not made them, as A. V. The word is used in our sense of make money. Wyc. and Tynd., won. Geneva, gained. Some read ejkerdhsen, gained, as in ver. 17.

Verse 24

Hard [σκληρος] . Stronger than the austere [αυστηρος] of Luke 19:21 (see there), which is sometimes used in a good sense, as this never is. It is an epithet given to a surface which is at once dry and hard.

Strawed [διεσκορπισας] . Rev., didst scatter. Not referring to the sowing of seed, for that would be saying the same thing twice. The scattering refers to the winnowing of the loosened sheaves spread out upon the threshing - floor. "The word," as Trench observes "could scarcely be applied to the measured and orderly scattering of the sower's seed. It is rather the dispersing, making to fly in every direction." Hence used of the pursuit of a routed enemy (Luke 1:51); of the prodigal scattering his good; making the money fly, as we say (Luke 14:13); of the wolf scattering the sheep (Matthew 26:31). Wyc., spread abroad.

Verse 25

That is thine [το σον] . The Greek is more concise, and is better given by Rev., Lo, thou hast thine own.

Verse 26

Slothful. With no more trouble than he expended in digging, he might have gone to the exchangers. The verse should be read interrogatively, Didst thou indeed know this of me? Thou shouldst then have acted with the promptness and care which one observes in dealing with a hard master. To omit the interrogation is to make the Lord admit that he was a hard master.

Verse 27

Put [βαλειν] . Lit., throw or fling down, as one would throw a bag of coin upon the exchanger's table.

Exchangers [τραπεζιταις] . Taking their name from the table or counter at which they sat [τραπεζα] . The Jewish bankers bore precisely the same name.

Usury [τοκω] . A very graphic word, meaning first childbirth, and then offspring. Hence of interest, which is the product or offspring of capital. Originally it was only what was paid for the use of money; hence usury; but it became synonymous with extortionate interest. Rev., better, with interest. The Jewish law distinguished between interest and increase. In Rome very high interest seems to have been charged in early times. Practically usury was unlimited. It soon became the custom to charge monthly interest at one per cent a month. During the early empire legal interest stood at eight per cent, but in usurious transactions it was lent at twelve, twenty - four, and even forty - eight. The Jewish bankers of Palestine and elsewhere were engaged in the same undertakings. The law of Moses denounced usury in the transactions of Hebrews with Hebrews, but permitted it in dealing with strangers (Deuteronomy 23:19, Deuteronomy 23:20; Psalms 14:5).

Verse 32

All the nations [παντα τα εθνη] . The whole human race; though the word is generally employed in the New Testament to denote Gentiles as distinguished from Jews.

Separate them [αυτους] . Masculine, while the word nations is neuter. Nations are regarded as gathered collectively; but in contemplating the act of separation the Lord regards the individuals.

The sheep from the goats (or kids, so Rev. in margin). "The bald division of men into sheep and goats is, in one sense, so easy as not to be worth performing; and in another sense it is so hard as only to be possible for something with supernatural insight" (John Morley, " Voltaire "). Goats are an appropriate figure, because the goat was regarded as a comparatively worthless animal. Hence the point of the elder son's complaint in the parable of the Prodigal : Not so much as a kid (Luke 14:29). The diminutive [εριφια] expresses contempt.

Verse 33

Goats [εριφια] . Diminutive. Lit., kidlings. The sheep and goats are represented as having previously pastured together. Compare the parables of the Tares and the Net.

On the right [εκ δεξιων] . Lit., from the right side or parts. The picture to the Greek reader is that of a row, beginning at the judge 's right hand.

Verse 35

Ye took me in [συνηγαγετε με] . Tynd., I was harbourless and ye lodged me. The preposition sun implies along with. Ye took me with you into the household circle.

Verse 36

Visited [επεσκεψασθε] . Lit., Ye looked upon. 6 Our word visit is from the Latin viso, to look steadfastly at, and thence to visit. We retain the original thought in the popular phrases to see one, and to look in upon one.

Verse 40

The least. The word in the Greek order is emphatic : One of these my brethren, the least. So Rev., even these least.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 25". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/matthew-25.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.