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Monday, December 17, 2012

Who Were The Wise Men?

  • Who were the wise men?
  • Do we know their names?
  • How many were there?
  • Where did they live exactly?
  • How long was their trip to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem? 

Oh yes, here I go again, asking questions! (Aren’t you curious, too?)

Traditionally, there are three wise men. Where we live in Spain, their names are Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar. Melchor always has a long white beard and long white hair. Gaspar has shorter hair, is younger, and blond. Baltasar is from Africa and has dark hair and beard. He appropriately carries the gold.

I Googled the wise men and found all kinds of stories. Some traditions say there were twelve of them; some say four . . . .

The Bible says there were . . . wise men. No number, just several. We can assume there were at least three, but we don’t know. Again, we don’t know their names. They could have been most anything! How about Joe? Or Karl? Or Sun? Or . . .?

From the east. Scholars differ on this, but the wise men had to be from east of Israel. That’s obvious. It looks like they could very possibly be from the region of Persia, Babylon—where the Israelites were taken in the times of Daniel. These wise men might even have been believers, looking for their Messiah. We can’t be sure.

But, they traveled a long way to get to Jerusalem. We can be sure of that. How far? If we assume they went from Babylon to Jerusalem, it was 800 miles (1300 kilometers). Now, that’s a trip!

What was their motivation? To worship the King of the Jews (from Matthew 2:2).

When they got to Jerusalem, Herod’s wise men pointed them to Bethlehem. Their trip wasn’t over yet. But, they knew they were close (five miles/eight kilometers), and they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:9b-11).

Mission accomplished!

Worship done. Gifts given.

Can you imagine their trip home? What wonder! What a story!

What a Savior!

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