Matthew 25:4

ESV but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
NIV The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
NASB but the prudent ones took oil in flasks with their lamps.
CSB but the wise ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps.
NLT but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.
KJV But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

What does Matthew 25:4 mean?

Jesus has described a very specific scenario to make a distinct point. This is exactly how parables are meant to be interpreted: as illumination of a specific idea, not broad commentary on every detail included. Ten young women are waiting for the arrival of a bridegroom. He is coming to collect his bride, likely at her home, and then to march with her and the wedding party back to his home for a banquet. As is the case in many cultures, this joyful event would have been the highlight of the social calendar, especially for a group of young, unmarried women, here labelled as "virgins" (Matthew 25:1–3).

Five of these young women were foolish and five were wise, as reflected in one way. They all brought lamps, knowing the procession through the streets would take place after dark. The foolish ones, though, did not bring extra oil for their lights. They may have expected the groom to arrive sooner, or they simply didn't think about it at all. If these "lamps" were more like torches, as many commentators assume, it's possible the rags dried out and became unusable without more oil.

Five of the women, though, were wise in the sense that they brought extra oil so they would be ready when the groom showed up.
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