1 Then shall the kingdome of heauen be likened vnto ten Uirgins, which tooke their lamps, & went forth to meet the bridegrome.
2 And fiue of them were wise, and fiue were foolish.
3 They that were foolish tooke their lampes, and tooke no oyle with them:
4 But the wise tooke oyle in their vessels with their lampes.
5 While the bridegrome taried, they all slumbred and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegrome commeth, goe ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lampes.
8 And the foolish said vnto the wise, Giue vs of your oyle, for our lampes are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so, lest there be not ynough for vs and you, but goe ye rather to them that sell, and buy for your selues.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegrome came, and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the doore was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgines, saying, Lord, Lord, open to vs.
12 But he answered, and said, Uerely I say vnto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the houre, wherein the Sonne of man commeth.
14 ¶ For the kingdome of heauen is as a man trauailing into a farre countrey, who called his owne seruants, and deliuered vnto them his goods:
15 And vnto one he gaue fiue talents, to another two, and to another one, to euery man according to his seuerall ability, & straightway tooke his iourney.
16 Then hee that had receiued the fiue talents, went and traded with the same, and made them other fiue talents.
17 And likewise he that had receiued two, he also gained other two.
18 But hee that had receiued one, went and digged in the earth, and hid his lordes money.
19 After a long time, the lord of those seruants commeth, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so hee that had receiued fiue talents, came and brought other fiue talents, saying, Lord, thou deliueredst vnto me fiue talents, behold, I haue gained besides them, fiue talents moe.
21 His lord said vnto him, Well done, thou good and faithfull seruant, thou hast been faithfull ouer a few things, I wil make thee ruler ouer many things: enter thou into the ioy of thy lord.
22 He also that had receiued two talents, came and said, Lord, thou deliueredst vnto me two talents: behold, I haue gained two other talents besides them.
23 His lord said vnto him, Well done, good and faithfull seruant, thou hast beene faithfull ouer a few things, I wil make thee ruler ouer many things: enter thou into the ioy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had receiued the one talent, came & said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sowen, & gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hidde thy talent in the earth: loe, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered, and said vnto him, Thou wicked and slouthfull seruant, thou knewest that I reape where I sowed not, and gather where I haue not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to haue put my money to the exchangers, and then at my comming I should haue receiued mine owne with vsurie.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and giue it vnto him which hath ten talents.
29 For vnto euery one that hath shall be giuen, and he shall haue abundance: but from him that hath not, shal be taken away, euen that which he hath.
30 And cast yee the vnprofitable seruant into outer darkenesse, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 ¶ When the Sonne of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him, then shall hee sit vpon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepheard diuideth his sheepe from the goats.
33 And he shall set the sheepe on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say vnto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdome prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was an hungred, and yee gaue me meate: I was thirstie, and ye gaue me drinke: I was a stranger, and ye tooke me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sicke, and yee visited me: I was in prison, and ye came vnto me.
37 Then shal the righteous answere him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fedde thee? or thirstie, and gaue thee drinke?
38 When saw wee thee a stranger, and tooke thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sicke, or in prison, and came vnto thee?
40 And the King shall answere, and say vnto them, Uerely I say vnto you, in as much as ye haue done it vnto one of the least of these my brethren, ye haue done it vnto me.
41 Then shall he say also vnto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into euerlasting fire, prepared for the deuill and his angels.
42 For I was an hungred, and yee gaue me no meat: I was thirstie, and ye gaue me no drinke:
43 I was a stranger, and yee tooke me not in: naked, and ye clothed mee not: sicke, and in prison, and yee visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answere him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sicke, or in prison, and did not minister vnto thee?
45 Then shall he answere them, saying, Uerely, I say vnto you, in as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall goe away into euerlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternall.
The parable of the ten virgins. (1-13) The parable of the talents. (14-30) The judgment. (31-46)1-13 The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ's coming. See the nature of Christianity. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered and slept. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death have work to do to get actually ready, #2Pe 3:14|. It will be a day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found. Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when going out. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here. The suddenness of death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor's conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.
14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.
31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.