25 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2-4 But only five of them were wise enough to fill their lamps with oil, while the other five were foolish and forgot.
5-6 “So, when the bridegroom was delayed, they lay down to rest until midnight, when they were roused by the shout, ‘The bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him!’
7-8 “All the girls jumped up and trimmed their lamps. Then the five who hadn’t any oil begged the others to share with them, for their lamps were going out.
9 “But the others replied, ‘We haven’t enough. Go instead to the shops and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.
11 “Later, when the other five returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Sir, open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Go away! It is too late!’[b]
13 “So stay awake and be prepared, for you do not know the date or moment of my return.[c]
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going into another country, who called together his servants and loaned them money to invest for him while he was gone.
15 “He gave $5,000 to one, $2,000 to another, and $1,000 to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities—and then left on his trip. 16 The man who received the $5,000 began immediately to buy and sell with it and soon earned another $5,000. 17 The man with $2,000 went right to work, too, and earned another $2,000.
18 “But the man who received the $1,000 dug a hole in the ground and hid the money for safekeeping.
19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to him to account for his money. 20 The man to whom he had entrusted the $5,000 brought him $10,000.
21 “His master praised him for good work. ‘You have been faithful in handling this small amount,’ he told him, ‘so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Begin the joyous tasks I have assigned to you.’
22 “Next came the man who had received the $2,000, with the report, ‘Sir, you gave me $2,000 to use, and I have doubled it.’
23 “‘Good work,’ his master said. ‘You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over this small amount, so now I will give you much more.’
24-25 “Then the man with the $1,000 came and said, ‘Sir, I knew you were a hard man, and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned,[d] so I hid your money in the earth and here it is!’
26 “But his master replied, ‘Wicked man! Lazy slave! Since you knew I would demand your profit, 27 you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. 28 Take the money from this man and give it to the man with the $10,000. 29 For the man who uses well what he is given shall be given more, and he shall have abundance. But from the man who is unfaithful, even what little responsibility he has shall be taken from him. 30 And throw the useless servant out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
31 “But when I, the Messiah,[e] shall come in my glory, and all the angels with me, then I shall sit upon my throne of glory. 32 And all the nations shall be gathered before me. And I will separate the people[f] as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and place the sheep at my right hand, and the goats at my left.
34 “Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; 36 naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? 38 Or a stranger, and help you? Or naked, and clothe you? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
40 “And I, the King, will tell them, ‘When you did it to these my brothers, you were doing it to me!’ 41 Then I will turn to those on my left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry and you wouldn’t feed me; thirsty, and you wouldn’t give me anything to drink; 43 a stranger, and you refused me hospitality; naked, and you wouldn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And I will answer, ‘When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.’
46 “And they shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.”
- Matthew 25:1 bridesmaids, literally, “virgins.”
- Matthew 25:12 It is too late, literally, “I know you not.”
- Matthew 25:13 of my return, implied.
- Matthew 25:24 and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned, literally, “reaping where you didn’t sow, and gathering where you didn’t scatter, and I was afraid.”
- Matthew 25:31 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.”
- Matthew 25:32 separate the people, literally, “separate the nations.”