The Gospel according to Matthew

25:1“The kingdom of the heavens is also like this:1 Ten single women carried torches as they went out to wait for the bridegroom.25:2But five were foolish and five were sensible,25:3because the foolish ones didn’t take any extra oil along,25:4as the sensible ones did.25:5And since the bridegroom was delayed a long time, they all dozed off and fell asleep.

25:6“In the middle of the night came the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’25:7So the single women all woke up and prepared their torches.25:8Then the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil; our torches have gone out.’25:9But the sensible ones replied, ‘No, there’s not enough for all of us. You’ll have to go to the market and buy more for yourselves.’25:10While they were gone the bridegroom arrived, so the prepared ones entered with him to the wedding, and then the door was locked.25:11When the others came back later on, they pleaded, ‘Sir, sir, open the door for us!’25:12But he replied, ‘I honestly don’t know who you are.’25:13So be alert! You don’t know the day or the hour.

25:14“It’s also like this: Someone about to travel abroad called his slaves together and put them in charge of his possessions.25:15To one he gave five loads2 of money, to another two, and to another one, each according to their ability. Then he left immediately.25:16And as soon as he was gone, the one with five loads of money put it to work in the markets and earned five more.25:17Likewise, the one with two loads of money earned two more.25:18But the one with one load of money went out, dug a hole in the ground, and hid the money his master had given him.

25:19“After a long time the master returned to settle accounts with his slaves.25:20First the one with five loads of money brought that plus the five earned and said, ‘Master, you gave me five loads of money, but as you can see, I’ve earned five more.’

25:21“ ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave!’ exclaimed the master. ‘And since you were faithful with a little, I will put you in charge of a lot. Come and celebrate with me!’

25:22“Next was the one with two loads of money, who said, ‘Master, you gave me two loads of money, but as you can see, I’ve earned two more.’

25:23“ ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave!’ the master exclaimed. ‘And since you were faithful with a little, I will put you in charge of a lot. Come and celebrate with me!’

25:24“Then the last one came, and he said, ’Master, I knew that you’re a tough guy who gets other people to plant the seed while you reap the harvest,25:25and I was afraid [you’d do that to me]. So I planted your money in the ground, and here’s your harvest!’

25:26“ ‘You evil, lazy slave!’ snarled the master. ‘So you knew I reaped the benefits of other people’s work, did you?25:27Then you should have put my money on deposit at the bank where it would at least have earned interest!25:28Take the load of money from this one and give it to the one with ten loads of money,25:29for those who have a lot will be given more, and those who have little will have it taken away.25:30Then take this useless slave and throw him out into the darkness, where they wail and grind their teeth!’

25:31“When the Human comes in his majesty, accompanied by all the Messengers, he will sit on his majestic throne.25:32All the non-Judeans will be gathered in front of him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.25:33He’ll put the sheep at his right and the goats at his left.25:34And then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come here, you who are blessed by my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from when the world was established!25:35For when I was hungry you gave me food; when I was thirsty you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me in;25:36when I needed clothes you gave them to me; when I was ill you looked after me; when I was in prison you came to see me.’

25:37“Then the righteous will ask, ‘Master, when did we feed you when you were hungry, or give you a drink when you were thirsty,25:38or take you in as a stranger, or give you clothes you needed,25:39or look after you when you were ill, or come to see you in prison?’25:40And the King will answer, ‘I assure you that whenever you did these things for one of my lowly brothers or sisters, you did them for me.’

25:41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the False Accuser and his Messengers!25:42For I was hungry but you gave me no food; I was thirsty but you gave me no drink;25:43I was a stranger but you wouldn’t take me in; I needed clothes but you would not give me any; I was ill and in prison but you would not visit me.’

25:44“And they will ask, ‘Master, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison, and didn’t help you?’25:45And he will reply, ‘I assure you that whenever you failed to do these things for one of my lowly ones, you failed to do them for me!’25:46Then these will go into eternal punishment, while the righteous will go into eternal life.”

  1. 1Like any analogy, this one’s purpose is to make one point, so we must be careful how we apply it. This analogy is focused on preparedness, not on depicting the church or the Jews.
  2. 2These “talent-weights” were huge sums of money. A talent-weight was enough silver to pay one worker’s standard wages for twenty years.