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Matthew 25:5

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Why “at midnight”? That is the moment of least expectation. There is no thought of it. It is a moment of complete unawareness. It is as though one might calculate complacently, … “So many years have passed since Adam, and the six thousand years are being completed, and then immediately, according to the computation of certain expositors, the day of judgment will come.” Yet these calculations come and pass away, and still the coming of the bridegroom is delayed. So the virgins who had gone to meet him now are sleeping. But just when he is least looked for, when the best calculators are saying, “The six thousand years were waited for, and, look, they are already gone by. So how then shall we know when he will come?”—he comes at midnight. So what is “midnight”? It means when you are least aware. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But he tarried. And “while he tarried, they all slept.” What is “all”? Both the foolish and the wise. “All slumbered and slept.” But is this sleeping good? What does this sleep mean at this time? Might it mean that during the delay of the bridegroom there is an inattentiveness, so that “because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold”? Are we to understand this sleep in this way? I don’t like that reading, and I will tell you why. Because among the ten are the five wise virgins. Certainly when the Lord said, “And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold,” he then went on directly to say, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” So on this premise, where would you place the wise virgins? Are they not among those that will “endure to the end”? They would not be admitted within unless they had “endured to the end.” No coldness of love then crept over them. In them love did not grow cold. Love preserves its glow even to the ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
And while the bridegroom (Jesus Christ) tarried, i.e. delayed his coming, and thus protracted the time of repentance, they all slumbered and slept; viz. they all died. But the reason why Jesus Christ says they slumbered is, because they were to rise again: and by the expression, while the bridegroom tarried, Christ wishes to show us that a very short time will elapse between his first and second coming. (St. Jerome) ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The bridegroom and bride represent our Lord, God in the flesh. For as the spirit is wedded to the flesh, so the flesh is wedded to the spirit. When the trumpet finally summons us and the bridegroom is at hand, all this will be revealed. Indeed, the two aspects are the corruptible body and the incorruptible soul. ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The delay of the bridegroom is the time for repentance. The sleep of those waiting is the peaceful rest of believers. The delay has given time for repentance. The cry comes at midnight, when no one yet knows what is happening. The sound of the trumpet of God heralds his coming, rousing all to go out and meet the bridegroom. The taking up of the lamps is the return of souls into their bodies. And the light shining from them is the consciousness of good work, which is contained in our bodies, which are like flasks. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
He shows that the time intervening will not be short, leading His disciples away from the expectation that His kingdom was quite immediately to appear. For this indeed they hoped, therefore He is continually holding them back from this hope. And at the same time He intimates this too, that death is a sleep. For they slept, He says. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
This parable is on mercy and almsgiving. In telling the parable the Lord uses the person of virgins to teach those who understand the greatness of the virtue of virginity not to strive to accomplish this one virtue alone and neglect the others. But learn that if you do not give alms, though you may be a virgin, you will be cast out with the fornicators. It is only right that he who lacks compassion and mercy is cast out, even if he is a virgin. For a fornicator is overcome by a tyrannical and physical passion, but he who lacks mercy is overcome only by money. Of the two, the foe of the greedy one is the weaker, and therefore he who remains vanquished by the passion of greed does not find forgiveness. Such a man is foolish for the very reason that he has prevailed against a physical fire storm, but has been overcome by the trivial passion for money. "Slumber" here means death, and the tarrying of the bridegroom means that the second coming does not occur immediately. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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