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Bridesmaids (or Talents)
Matthew 25:1-13 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
For a wedding story, the parable of the bridesmaids does not have a very happy ending.
Things may have turned out well for the bride and groom and for the five bridesmaids who had enough oil for their lamps and made it into the party. But the five foolish bridesmaids who didn’t have enough oil are sharply rebuked by the bridegroom and shut out of the wedding banquet.
The word translated “bridesmaids” is parthenoi in Greek, which means “virgins” or “young women.” Since the young women are attendants to the wedding party in the parable, many English translations use the term “bridesmaids.” The ancient Jewish custom was that the groom and his attendants would come to the home of the bride’s parents and take the bride along with her attendants in a bridal procession back to his parents’ home, where the wedding celebration would begin. In this story, the bridegroom is late -- very late, in fact -- so late that all ten of the bridesmaids become drowsy and fall asleep. What is the problem with this bridegroom? Is ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 356: Bridesmaids (or Talents)
March 31, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 25:1-13, the Narrative Lectionary readings for March 31, 2019 (Bridesmaids [or Talents]) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.