Matthew 25:9

ESV But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
NIV 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
NASB However, the prudent ones answered, ‘ No, there most certainly would not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
CSB "The wise ones answered, 'No, there won't be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell oil, and buy some for yourselves.'
NLT But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
KJV But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

What does Matthew 25:9 mean?

The bridegroom has finally arrived to collect his bride. According to the custom of the day he would now walk with the bride and the wedding party back to his house for the wedding feast. He was expected after dark, but he has not arrived until much later. He was so late that the pre-applied oil in the lamps of ten young, unmarried women who have been waiting has run out. Five of those young women were wise enough to bring extra oil in case the wait was lengthy. The other five were foolish in the sense that they brought no surplus oil (Matthew 25:1–7).

As all ten are preparing their lamps to go out into the dark night with the wedding party, the lamps of the foolish young women will not stay lit. They don't have enough oil. They have asked the other five to give them some (Matthew 25:8). Because of the darkness of the night during this era, it was simply not feasible to participate in a midnight procession through the streets without a lamp of one's own.

Now the wiser five women deny the request. This is not a matter of greed, or cruelty. They have enough for their own lights, but not enough to share and still complete the journey. Splitting the oil up would only mean none of them would make it. Instead, the wiser young women suggest the foolish young women go to an oil dealer and get some of their own.

In this context, of course, that will not be easy. It is midnight. Nearby oil dealers are likely asleep. Worse, the bridegroom is here right now. How can they possibly get the oil in time?

The emotional punch of this moment is part of the main lesson given in this parable. It is too late to prepare, or to handle unexpected circumstances, once the bridegroom has arrived. In parallel, it is too late to prepare for Christ's return after He has come back. Those who want to be ready must live in a state of constant readiness.
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