The Ten Bridesmaids

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Jim Teeters reflects on the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids from Matthew 25. Teeters refers to The Message in which we find that of the ten, “Five were silly and five were smart.” The NRSV says, “Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.” The NASB uses the word “prudent.” 

I’ve pondered this parable over the years, and I’ve wondered if I’ve been smart or prudent or wise. But this morning, reading the story again, I notice that no English version I can find ever uses the word “loving.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I know that five of the bridesmaids are, indeed, silly (because if the bridegroom is Jesus, then there’s more than enough oil for everyone). Not only do the silly bridesmaids not come prepared, they also doubt that God is enough. Then in their doubt, impatience, and fear, they run away at the darkest moment.

How exactly do you find more oil in the middle of the night when you have no oil by which to see?

A question for the ages.

Here’s what I know: I want to be one of the wise, prudent enough to be prepared. But I also wonder how the story might go if I were not just wise, but loving, willing to share from the little I’d brought so that others might also enter in.

Eric Muhr