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Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying


Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
William Blake, 1822
(Matthew 25:1-13)
Things to listen for German text
  1. What kind of music is the orchestra playing?
  2. What are the women's voices doing?
  3. What are the men's voices doing?
  4. What kind of musical figure is the "Alleluja"?
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
Wach auf, du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde;
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohl auf, der Bräutgam kommt;
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Alleluja!
Macht euch bereit zu der Hochzeit,
Ihr müsset ihm entgegen gehn!
Winkworth (1858) translation Literal translation
Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
The Bridegroom comes, awake;
Your lamps with gladness take;
Alleluia!
And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.
Wake ye up, the voice is calling
of the watchmen high on the ramparts,
wake up, thou city of Jerusalem!
This hour is called midnight;
they call us with ringing voices:
where are ye, wise virgins ?
Get up, the bridegroom comes;
Stand up, take your lamps!
Halleluiah!
Make yourselves ready for the wedding,
you must go to meet him!
  1. A parable is an extended simile ("X is like Y") or metaphor ("X is Y"); as such, it may be subject to multiple interpretations; see John 16:29.
  2. Compare Matthew 25:1 with Acts 1:6. What misconception is Jesus trying to correct? See also Matthew 4:8-10, John 18:36, Luke 17:21.
  3. What did "the bridegroom was delayed" signify to a Jewish audience at the time of Jesus? See Isaiah 62:1-7(in Hebrew, Hephzibah = "My Delight Is in Her", Beulah = "Married"). What would it signify at the time of the writing of the Gospel of Matthew, following the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD?
  4. What are we waiting for, 2000 years later? See Romans 8:18-25.
  5. What does it mean to be awake? See Luke 12:35-37 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
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