The Magi

“Who were they” “why were they seeking Jesus” “what became of them” “why gold, frankincense and myrrh”?

Four meanings are found together in almost every age.

  1. A magician
  2. A deceiver or seducer [2 Timothy 3:13 uses a synonym.]
  3. The specific meaning of “a member of the Persian priestly cast.” they are the interpreters of special signs. An adherent of the religion Ormuzd-Ahriman. [Mithraism, of which I wrote extensively in my book “Challenged.”] “It is obviously forbidden to Jews to have anything to do with them:” [bShab. 75a.] He who learns from a magus is worthy of death.” Philo, on the other hand, saw the Persian Magi, like alchemists, as involved in a pre-scientific research.
  4. Astrologers were said to be “the possessor and user of supernatural knowledge and ability.” [Daniel 2:2 shares the Hebrew word borrowed from the Babylonians, “an astrologer ] The name Magi originally belonged to a high sacerdotal cast among the Persians and Medes, who formed the King’s privy consul, and cultivated astrology, medicine, and all occult natural science. — Lange

There is no means of determining whether the magi from the east in Matthew 2:1 are specifically Babylonian astrologers or astrologers in general. The former is more likely, since it is only in Babylon, by contact with the exiles, that the Magi would require an interest in the Jewish king or Messiah. Magi here means the” Possessor of special, secret, wisdom,” especially concerning the meaning of the course of the stars and its interconnection with world events. — The Theological Dictionary of The New Testament, volume 4, Page 358.

The gifts had both a practical—as a provision for the holy family in their impending flight into Egypt—and prophetic significance: “the gold to the King, the incense to the Lord, the myrrh to Him who was to taste of death, the great high priest.” — Theophylact,

Prof. Trench called these gifts “The unconscious prophecies of heathendom.”

??  …don’t know.  But as the saying goes, Wise men still seek Him!


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