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5958Two Readings in Matthew 25

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  • james_snapp_jr
    Sep 4, 2010
      In Matthew 25:1, were the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom, or for the bridegroom and the bride? "The bridegroom and the bride" is supported by D X* OL Vulgate f-1 Armenian/Old-Georgian and the Peshitta.

      It is easy to see why the reference to the bride would be omitted: first, we see no mention of the bride throughout the parable. Second, an allegorical approach to the parable precluded the idea of the bride arriving with the bridegroom. Since the virgins may be interpreted as doing what Jesus is instructing his followers to do, there is not much room in the parable for a bride.

      But we should not assume that Jesus intended such an allegorical approach to the parable. And there may be a perfectly good reason why we don't see any mention of the bride: she was on time, unlike the tardy bridegroom. If we picture the 10 virgins meeting with the bride, and then waiting for the groom to arrive so that the procession can begin, the non-mention of the bride is accounted for.

      Otherwise we have to assume that Jesus assumed that His listeners would assume that when the groom showed up around midnight, the bride was waiting, not with the bridesmaids, but at the location of the marriage-feast.

      And then there's Matthew 25:6 -- what is the first part of the midnight cry? Neither UBS-4 nor NA-27 includes this variant-unit. In Byz W Vg Pesh, the cry is not simply, "Look, the bridegroom!" -- it's "Look, the bridegroom is coming!" And it would not be terribly difficult for that ERCETAI to be accidentally skipped, situated next to EXERCESQE.

      Both these variant-units deserve careful thought.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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