What does Matthew 25:9 mean?
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.
NKJV: But the wise answered, saying, ‘ No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Matthew 25:1–13 presents Jesus' parable of the ten virgins. These unmarried young women gather to wait for the groom to arrive during a wedding celebration. They plan to join in a procession to a great feast when he comes after dark. Five of the young women foolishly forgot to bring sufficient oil for their lights. When the groom arrives, they scramble to get more oil but are not admitted to the feast when arriving late. Jesus urges His followers to be prepared and watch for His return.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus uses two additional parables to illustrate a state of constant readiness for His return after He has gone. His followers should be working for Him while they wait. They must not be like the foolish young women who missed a wedding feast because they forgot oil for their lamps. They must be like the servants who doubled their harsh master's investments while He was away. Jesus concludes with a third descriptive passage, showing how He will judge between the righteous and evil when He returns as King.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 25 concludes the "Olivet Discourse:" Jesus' teaching to the disciples about future things as they sit on the Mount of Olives. This follows His dire predictions about the Temple and Jerusalem in chapter 24. He gives two more parables to emphasize that they must be prepared for His return. Finally, Jesus describes the moment of His return, after a time of tribulation, when He will judge all who live on earth at the beginning of His kingdom. This leads into Matthew's account of Jesus' Last Supper, betrayal, and arrest in chapter 26.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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