This translation includes the words ‘and the bride’ at the end of Matthew 25:1. We have also inserted it into verses 6 and 10 to clarify the meaning. Why? Because it is included in the Aramaic text of Matthew 25:1, as well as in other ancient Bible texts.
Is the parable spurious?
Unfortunately, this same parable isn’t mentioned in any of the other Gospel accounts, so we have no parallel texts to compare it against. This had led some to wonder whether the parable was not written by Matthew, but is a later spurious addition. Perhaps this is true.
However, since it is present in the Aramaic version (which is less corrupted than the Greek), and no ancient fragments of Matthew yet found omit it, we are treating the parable as genuine.
Why it matters
It should be obvious that a groom (representing the Lord in this parable) would arrive at his wedding banquet with his bride. Yet, because the words “and his bride” are missing from most bibles, it has led some to interpret that the virgin guests are his brides! This is explained as being some sort of bride ‘class.’
The missing words, however, clearly indicate that the bride arrived with the groom, and the virgin guests were simply wedding guests at the banquet, as one would expect.
Do we have any other basis for reaching such a conclusion? Yes!
Jesus may have been referencing Psalm 45:15-18:
‘The king’s daughter is glorious within,
And she’s wrapped in embroidered fringes of gold.
Then, all the virgins that follow in her train,
Those closest to her, will be carried to you.
They will be carried in, giving praises in joy,
And led to the king’s Most Holy Place.’
As you can see, it is the same parable, and the daughter (the bride) is accompanied by virgins following her train. They are separate people.
Also, logically, how can the virgins be the bride if some were allowed in, and others were not? Is the groom marrying many brides? If so, why not say that? All of this indicates that the virgin companions are likely not the bride.
If that wasn’t enough, recognize that in ancient Hebrew society, the custom was for a man to accept the woman from her parents, and shortly thereafter, consummated the marriage (which was the real ‘wedding’). Then the ‘proof of virginity’ (a blood stain on some cloth) was made. This was proof of both that she was a virgin, and that the marriage was consummated. Now this was complete, the family invited friends and family to celebrate at a banquet.
So the fact that the virgins were invited to the celebration (the wedding banquet) would indicate that they were indeed not the bride, but guests.
Indeed, it would seem strange for a man to marry, and thereafter be found traveling along the road to invite some of his brides to their own wedding banquet, while not allowing the rest of the brides to enter.
Our Bible uses older manuscripts than most Bibles do. Check us out!