What were the wise men?

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

Matthew 2 recounts the visit of the wise men to the nativity:

2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men 4 from the East came to Jerusalem 2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

As they brought three gifts, western tradition numbers them at three (though some Eastern traditions, especially Syriac, count twelve).

The only indication of origin in the text is that they came from the East. Tradition holds they were kings. Matthew calls them μάγοι. This is often translated as “wise men” or transliterated as “magi.” The notes from the NET Bible state, “The Greek term magi here describes a class of wise men and priests who were astrologers (L&N 32.40).” What does it mean that they were “wise men”? Was this an official title in the Eastern realms or more of an honorific? What more has been learned of such “priests and astrologers”?

12 Comments

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    3 mags on camels?

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    James L Alldredge

    Part of the order overseen by Daniel during his captivity

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    ? tell us more

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    James L Alldredge

    Daniel was made head of the order after interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he also prophesied the coming of the Messiah and gave the exact time (70 weeks prophecy). They knew when, they knew where and they knew why from studying and preserving Daniel’s prophecies.

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    You think they came from Babylon instead of the East?

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      James L Alldredge

      Persian or Parthian is more likely

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      wasnt Persia part of Babylon during Daniel ?

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      James L Alldredge

      Other way around, Persia conquered Babylon and Daniel ended up as head of the priests of Zoroaster. The term Magi is actually a Persian word for wise man

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Persia after Hammurabi where now is Dubai – not the persian empire that came later. Pls dont tell us Trump the Cyrus will be sending us 3 more wise men this Christmas season

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      James L Alldredge

      Daniel’s Persia stretched from modern Turkey to India, but at the time of Jesus birth “Magi from the east” would have referred to the region from Arabia to Iran

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Gerald Foister

    The wise men never came to the nativity it was at least two years before they found him in the house

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Did they stay in Bethlehem for 2 yrs or just for the census? Gerald Foister

    Matthew and Luke make no reference to a length of time that Mary and Joseph stayed in Bethlehem. In fact Luke’s account suggests they only stayed there not much more than 40 days (Luke 2:39, cf. Lev.12:1-8), though in his account they return to Galilee directly, not by way of Egypt.

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