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