Three Wise Men?

by Lisa Graham on December 18, 2011

Let’s talk about the Magi and how we normally see them portrayed….

Three of themWise Men

Riding camels

Showing up the night Jesus was born

Well, not so much!

First though, we need some history….

The word Magi…there is no word in the English language that translates it properly.  Some Bible translations say “wise men”, some say Magi.    Some close definitions are: mysterious wisdom, hidden knowledge, wise men,  astrologers, magician and sorcerer.

Now, there is a Christmas song we sing….”We Three Kings”….was king in the above definition?


The history of the Magi goes way back, WAY back….all the way to the Babylonian Empire.  The Magi were teachers and instructors to the Persian king.

The Magi and Jews had similar styles of worship….believed in one God, had clean and unclean animals and strict rules for touching and/or disposing of dead bodies.

Then….Daniel and the Magi interact so they are introduced to Daniel’s God and the old testament prophecies.

Then……a king comes along and decides to declare a national religion…he chooses one that has a HUGE emphasis on…astrology!

So now, the Magi had to learn even more about astrology.

The Magi, these smart, powerful men were influenced by Daniel…some of them now worship God, study the Old Testament and are looking for the prophecies to come true.

The Magi were so powerful that in order for a Persian to become king….he had to master all the scientific and religious skills of the Magi AND, he had to be approved by the Magi.

Picture this with me….Herod is taking a nap or eating dinner and there is a knock on his door….he is told it is the Magi looking for the new king.  Ummmm, this isn’t just anyone looking for a new king….this is the MAGI, those that decide WHO is king.  Herod is already paranoid and crazy….now he is really worried about his position.

So, these powerful men…that decide who is king….do you think they traveled alone?  They have expensive gifts.  They came from the Persia area…about 800 miles give or take, they traveled a long, long way and it took a long, long time.

Remember, they didn’t start traveling until the star appeared….the star didn’t appear until Jesus was born.  These powerful men most likely had a TON of people with them.  Cooks, guards, scouts plus supplies and/or money to buy new supplies…this was a BIG trip!

This BIG trip may have taken a little bit of planning….most likely, they didn’t start out the day after the star first appeared.

Let’s talk about their gifts for a minute….gold was given to kings, myrrh was a burial spice and frankincense was used in the temple for worship….all the gifts had meaning.  Three gifts…that is why most people assume three Magi.

Horses or camels?  Most likely…both.  Persia is known for their horses, this is where the Magi are from.  Do we know which they rode?  No, not really, and does it really matter in the scheme of things?  No, not really but it is fun to consider all the possibilities.

So if the Magi were following a star….did they travel only at night?  Why did they have to stop and ask Herod for directions?

Ahhh, more mysteries to ponder, more things to discover…we will take a look at the star on Wednesday.

I so hope you are learning something new!

Did you enjoy this article?
Get Free Updates
  • Bgrose51

    We had a minister at our church that preached on this very subject and when he called them sorcerers, I thought I had never heard them called this and that is why I am here today. Your post was very informative and I am amazed at how many things we things we think we know and just take them for granted it is right. Thanks for your post.

    • Anonymous

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post!!
      I agree, we do take a lot of things we have been told as the truth. We always have to keep digging!
      Merry Christmas!

  • Caroline Gavin

    Thank you very much for beautifully unfolding some of the mystery of the Magi!
    The more we learn about the Christmas story,
    the more we are amazed and humbled by the power of the Word becoming Flesh.
    May God bless you this Season and always, dear Lisa,
    and may He bless your work and your heart for Him!

    • Anonymous

      That is so true, Caroline! The more we learn, the more we are amazed! Blessings to you and yours!

      • Caroline Gavin

        Thank you, dear Lisa!
        I am grateful for your investigations, as they are truly fascinating and enlightening! Yes, we grow more amazed and humbled by the Truth of God’s Word the more we learn.
        Thank you also for your heart for God!Christmas Blessings to you and yours!

Previous post:

Next post: