The wise men

Often we see in Christmas plays, movies, and stories the three wise men arrived at the manger in the stable shortly after the shepherds. Truth of the matter is they didn’t. In fact we don’t even know how many there were of them.
Our belief that there was three magi is based on the gifts they brought; gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). The most favorable tradition is that there was three of these men but some hold that up to 12 showed up. What we do know for sure is that there was at least 2 since the word “men” is the plural form of the singular word “man”.
The location that they met Jesus was not at any stable. In fact the word stable, as in the building used to house animals, appears only once in the Bible back in the book of Ezekiel 25:5 where God was pronouncing judgment on the Ammonites. Our idea of Jesus being born in a stable comes from Luke 2:7 where we are told Mary laid the baby in a manger because there was no room in the inn. It would be an easy assumption that that was where Jesus entered thus world but we are not 100% for sure.
As for the wise men and where they met Jesus we know it was definitely not in a stable nor at the same time as the shepherds. Mary would not have been able to travel down to Egypt, as commanded by the angel in Joseph’s dream, that night because of certain requirements of the Mosaic Law. First it would be 8 days before Jesus could be circumcised and officially named Jesus. Second according to Leviticus 12:1-4 she had to wait a total of 41 days before she could go to the temple to present the baby boy and offer her sacrifices for the burnt offering and sin offering. So the wise men arrived no sooner than the 41st day up to 2 years after Jesus was born. This is supported by Matthew 2:11 “when they (the wise men) were come into the house” not a stable nor the inn that Joseph and Mary had tried to stay in. And the 2 years part comes in in Matthew 2:16 where the wise men had told Herod about having begun to see the star 2 years beforehand.
As the saying goes though: wise men still seek Him.


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