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What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)?

Question: "What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)?"

We only assume that there were three wise men because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). However, the Bible does not say there were three wise men. There could have been many more. Tradition does seem to say that there were three wise men. There is a legend that their names were Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar but since the Bible does not say, we have no way of knowing whether the tradition is accurate.

It is a common misconception that the wise men came and visited Jesus shortly after His birth. In fact, the wise men came months (or possibly as much as two years) later, when Joseph and Mary had already settled in Nazareth. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshipped Jesus in a house. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the wise men likely witnessed the "Star of Bethlehem" at the time Jesus was born. The wise men did not arrive in Israel for a significant amount of time after Jesus was born. During that time, Joseph and Mary had returned to live in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13-20). That is also why Herod ordered all the boys in Bethlehem under two years of age to be killed (Matthew 2:16). Herod did not know that Jesus was no longer in Bethlehem, and did not know that the star had reappeared to the wise men and redirected them to Nazareth.

Recommended Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel.

Related Topics:

What was the star of Bethlehem?

Do some Christmas traditions have pagan origins?

Why is the Virgin Birth so important?

Was Jesus born on December 25?

Should we give gifts at Christmas?

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What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)?