1) The setting for this parable is found back in chapter 24,
verse three where Jesus is sitting down with His disciples on the Mount
of Olives. It is Wednesday of Passion week, just two days before the
crucifixion of our Lord. Do you see the question they ask of Him?
"...what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of
the age?" The answer that Jesus gives them will go from verse
four of chapter 24, through our parable and on to chapter 26, verse
1 and is known as the Olivet discourse with His disciples.
2) A Jewish marriage consisted of three parts. The first was
the engagement, usually arranged for by the fathers of the bride and
groom. Second, the betrothal, which began with a marriage ceremony in
which the couple would exchange their vows before family and friends.
At this point the couple was considered married, although the marriage
had not been physically consummated and the two had never lived together.
The betrothal could last for many months, even up to one year, during which time the groom would establish himself in a business
or trade and would make provisions for a place for the couple to live.
At the end of the betrothal period would come the third and final
phase of the wedding. It was known as the wedding feast. It would last
up to one week and begin with the groom and his groomsmen going to the
bride's home, where she was waiting with her bridesmaids. Together the
bride, groom and their attendants would then parade through the streets
proclaiming that the wedding feast was about to begin. The procession was typically at night,
and lamps or torches were used by the wedding party to light their way
and help draw attention to the feast.