Be ready! (Lk 12:35-12:35)

“Be dressed

For action!

Have your lamps

Lit!”

 

Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them that they should have their clothes dressed for action (Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι).  They should have their lamps burning with light (καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι).  There was something similar in Matthew chapter 25:1, about having lamps lit.  There Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like 10 bridesmaids, having lamps with them, waiting to meet the bridegroom.  They were to be an escort in a procession to the bride’s house and then to the wedding banquet with their lit candles.  However, there was nothing in Matthew about being dressed for action.  Are you always dressed and ready for action?

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They shut the door (Mt 25:10-25:10)

“While the foolish ones

Went to buy the oil,

The bridegroom came.

Those wise ones,

Who were ready,

Went with him

Into the wedding banquet.

The door was shut.”

 

ἀπερχομένων δὲ αὐτῶν ἀγοράσαι ἦλθεν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ αἱ ἕτοιμοι εἰσῆλθον μετ’ αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ ἐκλείσθη ἡ θύρα.

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with this story of the 10 bridesmaids.  While the foolish bridesmaids departed to buy some oil (ἀπερχομένων δὲ αὐτῶν ἀγοράσαι), the bridegroom came (ἦλθεν ὁ νυμφίος).  Those 5 wise bridesmaids, who were ready with their lamps, went with the bridegroom (καὶ αἱ ἕτοιμοι εἰσῆλθον μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  They probably had a procession to the wedding banquet (εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  When they got there, the door was shut (καὶ ἐκλείσθη ἡ θύρα).  The 5 foolish bridesmaids went in the middle of the night to find some oil for their lamps.  Meanwhile the bridegroom, the Son of Man or Jesus, came and had his procession to the wedding banquet.  The closed door meant that no one else could come in.

They need oil (Mt 25:8-25:8)

“The foolish ones

Said to the wise ones.

‘Give us

Some of your oil!

Our lamps

Are going out.’”

 

αἱ δὲ μωραὶ ταῖς φρονίμοις εἶπαν Δότε ἡμῖν ἐκ τοῦ ἐλαίου ὑμῶν, ὅτι αἱ λαμπάδες ἡμῶν σβέννυνται.

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus then pointed out this moment of crisis.  The 5 foolish bridesmaids said to the 5 wise ones (αἱ δὲ μωραὶ ταῖς φρονίμοις εἶπαν) that they wanted some of their olive oil (Δότε ἡμῖν ἐκ τοῦ ἐλαίου ὑμῶν) that they had in their flasks.  Their lamps were going out or extinguishing (ὅτι αἱ λαμπάδες ἡμῶν σβέννυνται).  Thus, they needed more oil to keep their oil lamps going for this night procession.

The foolish bridesmaids (Mt 25:3-25:3)

“When the foolish ones

Took their lamps,

They took no oil

With them.”

 

αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας οὐκ ἔλαβον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον·

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that when the foolish ones took their lamps (αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας), they did not take any olive oil with them (ὐκ ἔλαβον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον).  The foolish bridesmaids acted carelessly by not taking any extra olive oil for their lamps or lanterns.  They would be ill prepared for what was to come.  Oil could be a metaphor for righteousness, since the foolish would not be righteous.

Ten bridesmaids (Mt 25:1-25:1)

“The kingdom of heaven

Will be like this.

Ten bridesmaids

Took their lamps.

They went to meet

The bridegroom.”

 

Τότε ὁμοιωθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν δέκα παρθένοις, αἵτινες λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας ἑαυτῶν ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν τοῦ νυμφίου

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 12:35-36, about having lamps lit.  Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like (ότε ὁμοιωθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν)10 bridesmaids, virgins, or unmarried maidens (δέκα παρθένοις) having lamps with them (αἵτινες λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας ἑαυτῶν).  They were waiting to go out to meet the bridegroom (ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν τοῦ νυμφίου).  The custom at that time was to have these virgin bridesmaids or unmarried maidens accompany the bridegroom from his house to the house of the bride before they would go to the wedding place.  Thus, these bridesmaid virgins would act as an escort in a procession to the bride’s house and then to the wedding banquet place.

The fifth vision of the golden lamp stand (Zech 4:2-4:2)

“The angel said to me.

‘What do you see?’

I said.

‘I see

A lampstand all of gold

With a bowl on the top of it.

There are seven lamps on it,

With seven lips

On each of the lamps

That are on the top of it.”

This angel that had woken up Zechariah asked him what he saw.  Then Zechariah responded that he saw a golden lampstand with a bowl on the top of it.  There were 7 lamps with 7 lips for each of the lamps.  Did this mean that God was present everywhere?

Purification of the Temple (2 Macc 10:1-10:4)

“Now Judas Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city. They tore down the altars which that had been built in the public square by the foreigners. They also destroyed the sacred precincts. They purified the sanctuary. They made another altar of sacrifice. Then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices. After a lapse of two years, they burned incense. They lighted lamps. They set out the bread of the Presence. When they had done this, they fell prostrate. They implored the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes. If they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations.”

This purification of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus took place earlier in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, about a year before the death of King Antiochus IV. Here it is 2 years after the desecration of the Temple. In fact, the description in 1 Maccabees was more elaborate, but pretty much the same as here. There was no lamentation and mourning for the city and the Temple here. The Lord led them on here as the altars were in the public square. In 1 Maccabees, they saved the old stones. Here they just made another altar. They offered sacrifices, burned incense, lighted lamps, and set out the bread of Presence as in 1 Maccabees. Here there is a prayer to be more lenient next time if they do sin.