Following a recent post where the ten virgins were mentioned, the Bridegroom came and they were not ready.
This is an analogy the people of the time would have understood far more easily than we do. It is based on a custom of the time.
After a betrothal was arranged the man and woman were considered married but the marriage was not consummated.
The only way to end a betrothal was by a divorce.
By the way, this knowledge answered a puzzlement of my young years when reading of Mary and Joseph.
I had not understood that betrothal was as binding as marriage itself.
After the betrothal the groom went to prepare a home for his bride. In some cases, it was a room he built on – added to – the family home. While the groom was preparing a home for his bride, she was making herself ready.
There were no sewing machines then, no dress shops where she could buy a gown to wear when her husband came to claim her and take her to the home he had prepared. There were no department stores where she could buy bedlinen or any of the furnishings needed. She sewed everything herself. This was her part of being ready for the bridegroom.
A date for the final part of the marriage, the time when she would be claimed from her family, was not arranged. Generally, it was approximately a year after, sometimes sooner depending upon what had been arranged in the marriage contract agreed before the formal betrothal took place.
According to my research into the period, the friend of the groom was the one who checked up to see how arrangements were progressing, and to ensure the bride was making herself ready. He was the one who gave warning to the family that the bridegroom would come in the next few days.
In those days it was usually something that happened at night, possibly because of the work hours.
Here is a possible reason why the ten virgins… or however many attendants the bride had, were to be ready to light the last part of the way to where the bride would wait.
“Behold the bridegroom comes!”
This was the signal that it was time for the virgins to take their lamps and run to light the way.
Imagine, only starlight… only moonlight – depending on the phase of the moon. If it was cloudy... neither.
There were no street lamp Is, no electricity in fact. Only oil lamps.
Of course, there is an analogy. Christ is the Bridegroom, His church, the Bride and He has gone to prepare a place.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14: 2 b
I must admit that when writing the series I often wished for even a landline telephone, so that Naomi had warning of 'surprise' guests.
A modern cooking stove would have made life easier, too.
Guess, thinking about what they needed to do, as well as the threats they faced, makes us appreciate what we have... or it should do.
Till next time,
The cover is not updated yet, but The Light of Truth (book 3 in the series) has won a Finalist Award in the Independent Authors' Network Book of the Year Awards.