Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Though the previous chapter was supposedly about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era," this parable continues the last topic, which was staying vigilant. The audience continued to be only Jesus's students.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

At that time, it will be compared, this realm of the skies,to ten teenage girls, those getting those lamps of their own, they went out for an arrival of a bridegroom.

My Takeaway: 

Teenagers are always looking for a party. Who can blame them?

KJV : 

Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.​

NIV : 

Matthew 25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the beginning of the most entertaining analogies for the kingdom of heaven that Jesus offers. It is also the last such comparison in Matthew. English translations emphasize sex roles here in a way that doesn't appear in the original Greek. The sexual status of the girls and the fact this is a wedding are relatively unimportant. The term relates more to age than sexual experience since it can describe a young woman who is not a virgin. These are teenage girls invited to a party.

To those that offer a "doom and gloom" translation of the previous chapter's "end of the world" discussion, it seems terribly out of place. However, it fits perfecting with the playful version that comes from reading the original Greek as it would have been spoken or performed. The last story, about the unfaithful servant ended in an entertaining way, and this story begins in an entertaining way.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "went out" also means "making something come true." 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τότε [53 verses](adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ὁμοιωθήσεται [12 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Be...likened" is homoioo, which means "to make like," "to become like," "to liken," and "to compare.

[821 verses](article pl neut nom/acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλεία [98 verses](noun pl neut nom/acc) "The kingdom" is basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τῶν (821 verses](article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

οὐρανῶν [111 verses](noun pl masc gen) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate."

δέκα [11 verses](numeral ) "Ten" is from the number ten.

παρθένοις, [3 verses] (noun pl fem dat) "Virgins" is from parthenos, which means a "maiden," "girl," "virgin," "unmarried woman who isn't a virgin," "unmarried man," and as an adjective, meaning "maiden," and "chaste."

αἵτινες[90 verses](pron pl fem nom) "Which" is from hostis, which means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

λαβοῦσαι [54 verse](part pl aor act fem nom) "Took" is lambano means to "take," "take hold of," "grasp," "seize," "catch," "overtake," "find out," "detect," "take as," "take [food or drugs]," "understand," "take in hand," "undertake," "take in," "hold," "get," "receive [things]," "receive hospitably," "receive in marriage," "receive as produce," "profit," "admit," "initiate," "take hold of," "lay hold on," "seize and keep hold of," "obtain possession of," "lay hands upon," "find fault with," "censure," "to apprehend with the senses," "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

τὰς (821 verses](article pl fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λαμπάδας [3 verses](noun pl fem acc) "Lamps" is from lampas, which means "torch," "beacon light," "light," and any type of "lamp."

ἑαυτῶν  [75 verses](adj pl fem gen) "Their" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself," "herself," "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

ἐξῆλθον [54 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "And went forth" is exerchomai, which means "to come or go out of " "to march forth," "go out on," "to stand forth," "to exceed all bounds," "to come to an end," "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true." --

εἰς [325 verses](prep) Untranslated is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

ὑπάντησιν [1 verse] (noun sg fem acc) "To meet" is from hupantesis, which means "coming to meet," "encounter," and metaphorically, "retort," and "answer."

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

νυμφίου. [9 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Bridegroom" is from nymphios, which means "bridal," "bridegroom" and "son-in-law."

KJV Analysis: 

Then -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then." With the subjective negative, the sense is "not when."

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

likened  - The verb translated as "be...likened" is a verb that means "to make like" and, in the passive, as used here, "to be compared" or "to become like."

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

ten -- "Ten" is the Greek word for the numeral "ten." 

virgins,  - The Greek word translated as "virgins" means a "maiden" but it was more about maturity and marital status than sexual experience. Today we would say "teenager." Here it is specifically "teenage girls." These are teenage girls invited to a party.

which - "Which" is a pronoun that means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

took  - (WF) The word translated as "took" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing." It is in the form of an adjective, modifying the girls.

their  - (CW) The word translated as "their" is a little unusual. It has more the sense of "their own" than the regular form of the word for "their." It follows the noun so "of their own."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

lamps,  - The word for "lamps" is actually the source of our English word "lamp."

and  - (IW) There is no Greek word for "and" here. It is inserted because "took" was translated as an active verb and not an adjective.

went  - The word translated as "went forth" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." Christ uses this word in situations where people go out hoping for something to happen. \

forth -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "out of."

to -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. It is not the "to" that indicates an infinitive verb.

meet  - (WF) The Greek word translated as "meet" is not a verb. It is a noun with the sense of a "coming to meet" or an "encounter."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

bridegroom.​  - The word translated as "bridegroom" is a male form of the adjective meaning "bridal," hence, "groom" or, if plural, "the wedding couple." However, weddings were the "parties" and "celebrations" of Christ's era. Virtually no other events, not birthdays or anniversaries, were celebrated in the same way. So this is the person who plays a central role in a celebration, or, as we would say, "a celebrity." The point is that he is the one who can get the girls into the party.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "took" is not an active verb but a participle, "getting."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "their" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lamps" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "meet" is not an active verb but this is a noun, "encounter."

NIV Analysis: 

“At that time -- The Greek word for "at that time" means "at this time" or "then." With the subjective negative, the sense is "not when."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

like  -(WF) The verb translated as "be...likened" is a verb that means "to make like" and, in the passive, as used here, "to be compared" or "to become like." This is a verb b

ten -- "Ten" is the Greek word for the numeral "ten." 

virgins,  - The Greek word translated as "virgins means a "maiden" but today we would say "teenager." Here it is specifically "teenage girls." These are teenage girls invited to a party.

who - "who " is a pronoun that means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

took  - (WF) The word translated as "took" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing." It is in the form of an adjective, modifying the girls.

their  - (CW) The word translated as "their" is a little unusual. It has more the sense of "their own" than the regular form of the word for "their." It follows the noun so "of their own."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

lamps,  - The word for "lamps" is actually the source of our English word "lamp."

and  - (IW) There is no Greek word for "and" here. It is inserted because "took" was translated as an active verb and not an adjective.

went  - The word translated as "went forth" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." Christ uses this word in situations where people go out hoping for something to happen.

out -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "out of."

to -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. It is not the "to" that indicates an infinitive verb.

meet  - (WF) The Greek word translated as "meet" is not a verb. It is a noun with the sense of a "coming to meet" or an "encounter."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

bridegroom.​  - The word translated as "bridegroom" is a male form of the adjective meaning "bridal," hence, "groom" or, if plural, "the wedding couple." However, weddings were the "parties" and "celebrations" of Christ's era. Virtually no other events, not birthdays or anniversaries, were celebrated in the same way. So this is the person who plays a central role in a celebration, or, as we would say, "a celebrity." The point is that he is the one who can get the girls into the party.

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "like" is not a preposition but a verb, "likened."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "took" is not an active verb but a participle, "getting."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "their" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lamps" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "meet" is not an active verb but this is a noun, "encounter."

Front Page Date: 

Oct 19 2021