“The Three Wise Men”—Who Were They?
Nativity scenes usually depict three robed men with their camels, arriving at a stable where the babe Jesus is lying in a manger. The splendidly dressed visitors are commonly called the three wise men. What does the Bible have to say about them?
According to the Bible, the so-called wise men were “from eastern parts,” and it was there that they had learned about Jesus’ birth. (Matthew 2:1, 2, 9) It must have taken a long time for these men to travel to Judea. When they eventually found Jesus, he was no longer a newly born babe in a stable. Instead, the men found Mary and “the young child” living in a house.—Matthew 2:11.
The Bible calls these men magi, or “astrologers,” and it does not say how many there were. The Oxford Companion to the Bible explains: “The connection between magic and astrology is reflected in the visitors’ fascination with the star that had led them to Bethlehem.” The Bible clearly condemns all forms of magic and the Babylonian practice of trying to get information from the stars.—Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Isaiah 47:13.
The information conveyed to these men did not lead to any good. It aroused wicked King Herod’s jealous anger. This, in turn, resulted in the flight of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to Egypt and the murder of all male children in Bethlehem “from two years of age and under.” Herod had carefully ascertained the time of Jesus’ birth from what he learned from the astrologers. (Matthew 2:16) In view of all the troubles caused by their visit, it is reasonable to conclude that the star that they saw and the message about “the one born king of the Jews” came from God’s enemy, Satan the Devil, who wanted to do away with Jesus.—Matthew 2:1, 2.