And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Five of them were wise.—The word is the same as in Matthew 24:45, where see Note.Matthew 25:2-4. And five of them were wise — Prudent and provident; and five foolish — Inconsiderate and careless. These latter took their lamps — Took up a profession of the true religion; but took no oil with them — No more than kept them burning just for the present. None to supply their future want, to recruit their lamps’ decay. They did not receive or maintain the saving grace of God, did not get or keep faith working by love, an interest in and union with Christ the good olive, or the life of God in their souls. But the wise took oil in their vessels, &c. — Together with the lamp of an external profession, they secured and maintained vital godliness, through the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and living in the Spirit, they walked in the Spirit, seeking daily, a fresh supply of spiritual strength, till their faith was made perfect.Matthew 25:13. It is not to teach us the relative "number" of those who shall be saved and who shall not. In teaching us to "watch and to be ready," our Lord gives great additional interest by the circumstances of this narrative; but there is no authority for saying that he meant to teach that just half of professing Christians would be deceived. The moral certainty is that "nothing like" that number will be found to have been hypocrites.
Oil in their vessels - The five foolish virgins probably expected that the bridegroom would come immediately; they therefore made no provision for any delay. The wise virgins knew that the time of his coming was uncertain, and they therefore furnished themselves with oil. This was carried in "vessels," so that it could be poured on the torches when it was necessary.See Poole on "Matthew 25:13".
"a certain king invited his servants, but did not fix any time for them; those of them that were "wise", adorned themselves, and sat at the gate of the king's house, and said, is there any want at the king's house? but those of them that were "fools", went and did their work, and said, is there any feast without trouble? on a sudden, the king inquired after his servants: the wise went in before him, as they were, adorned; but the fools went in before him, as they were, filthy: the king rejoiced at meeting the wise, and was angry at meeting the foolish; and ordered, that those who had adorned themselves for the feast should sit and eat, and those that had not adorned themselves for the feast should stand.''
The wise virgins are such, who are wise, not in their own conceits, which is the case of natural men, and empty professors; nor in the things of nature, or in the things of the world, of which the saints are oftentimes less knowing than others; nor in notional and speculative knowledge, much less in things that are evil: but they are such who are wise unto salvation; who not only know the scheme of it, but are sensible of their need of it; apply to Christ for it; venture their souls on him, and commit them to him: they trust in his righteousness for justification; in his blood for pardon; in his sacrifice for atonement; in his fulness for daily supplies; in his grace and strength to perform every duty; and expect eternal life in, and from him: they know him, prize him, and value him as their Saviour; rejoice in him, and give him all the glory; and they are such who are also wise in the business of a profession, as well as in the affair of salvation; they are such who take up a profession of religion aright, upon principles of grace, and after mature thought and deliberation; and when they have so done, hold it fast without wavering, walk becoming it in their lives and conversations; and yet do not depend on it, or trust to it:
and five were foolish; not in their own apprehension, in which they might be wise enough; nor in the judgment of others; nor in natural knowledge; or with respect to the things of the world; nor in speculative notions of the Gospel; nor merely so called, because unconverted; every unconverted man being a foolish man: but they were so in the business of salvation; as all are who build their hopes of it on birth privileges; on a carnal descent from good men; on a religious education; on their own righteousness; or on the absolute mercy of God; and not on Christ, the one only, and sure foundation: they are such who know not themselves; the impurity of their hearts, and nature; their impotency to that which is spiritually good; and the imperfection and insufficiency of their own righteousness: they know not Christ, and his salvation, neither the worth, nor want of him, or that; and are altogether strangers to the power of godliness, and spiritual experience: and are also as foolish in the affair of a profession, which they take up without a work of the Spirit of God upon their souls, and without considering the cost and charge of it; and either in a little time wholly drop it, or, if they hold it, they foolishly depend upon it, or lead lives unsuitable to it. The number of wise and foolish virgins being equal, does not imply that there will be just the same number of nominal, as of real believers in the churches, in the latter day, a little before the coming of Christ; only that there will be a large number of such among them.
(m) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 153. 1. Vid. R. David Kimchi in Isaiah 65.13.And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 25:2. πέντε μωραὶ, πέντε φρόνιμοι: equal numbers of both, not intended to represent the proportion in the spiritual sphere; foolish, wise, not bad and good, but imprudent and prudent, thoughtless and thoughtful. Even the “foolish” might be very attractive, lovable girls; perhaps might have been the favourites at the feast: for wisdom is apt to be cold; foolish first named in best MSS., and properly, for they play the chief rôle in the story, and are first characterised in the sequel.2. wise] The word is used of prudence or practical intelligence, a characteristic of the steward, ch. Matthew 24:45, and Luke 16:8.Matthew 25:2. Φρόνιμοι—μωραὶ, prudent—foolish) See ch. Matthew 7:24; Matthew 7:26.—καὶ αἱ πέντε μωραί, and the five other foolish) Their condition becomes better understood from the description given of the prudent.
 Both characters are clearly described in 2 Peter 1:5-11.—B. G. V. They aimed at what was right, but not consistently and steadily.—V. g.Verse 2. - Five of them were wise (φρόνιμοι, Matthew 24:45), and five were foolish. The best uncials (א, B, C, D, L) invert the clauses, in agreement with the order in vers. 3, 4. So the Vulgate. In this case the idea would be that the foolish were a more prominent and noticeable class than the others. All the virgins were outwardly the same, were provided with the same lamps, prepared to perform the same office; the difference in their characters is proved by the result. Their folly is seen in the fact that at the time of action they were unable to do the part which a little care and forethought would have enabled them to perform successfully.
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