The Magi are one of the most well-known biblical characters in the world, although few people really know who they were. Today, we will explain a little more about what you should know about them in this new article.
Who were the Magi according to the Bible
Everyone has the idea that the Magi were three rich and wise men who went to visit Our Lord Jesus Christ newborn in the crib to offer him gifts of great value.
However, the Bible does not tell us much about it and all we know about it is taken from the Gospel according to Matthew of the New Testament. As you will see, many things that we attribute to them today are not told in this gospel and are part of tradition.
We begin this article by looking at the historical perspective of the Three Wise Men with a very clear and brief video that will leave you in no doubt as to how the tradition has evolved over the years.
The true story of the Three Wise Men
Now that you know how the tradition of the Magi has evolved, it is time to look at the biblical perspective of the story, which tells us who these wise men who visited Jesus in his cradle really were.
To that end, we begin by leaving here the first part of the chapter Matthew 2 of the Bible. Read the passage carefully, because it is brief and makes very clear the information that the Bible gives us about them.
The visit of the magicians
1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is the King of the Jews, who is born? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when all the chief priests and the scribes of the people were called together, he asked them where Christ was to be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 And you, Bethlehem, from the land of Judah,
You are not the least among the princes of Judah;
For out of you will come a guide,
Who shall feed my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, secretly summoning the magi, inquired of them diligently the time of the appearance of the star;
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go there and inquire diligently about the child; and when you find him, let me know, that I also may come and worship him.
9 And when they had heard the king, they departed; and, behold, the star which they had seen in the east went before them, until it came and stood over the place where the young child was.
10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they came into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him, and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 But being warned by revelation in a dream not to return to Herod, they returned to their own land by another way.
Who are the wise men?
The moment of truth arrives. Leaving aside the later traditions that have been modifying its image, you are probably asking yourself: ¿?who are the wise men?
For this we must analyze in detail the chapter of the previous section, Matthew 2. As you can see, in the first verse already appears the word “magicians”, that has always had so much repercussion.
Actually, there is no magic here. The initial Greek translation, on which the other translations of the Bible are based, uses the word magicians to designate all those people who dedicate themselves to professions that not everyone can understand.
Thus, they would probably be astronomers they would be astronomers with a deep knowledge of the night sky; something unusual at the time and that gives them the name of magicians generating all the confusion that exists today.
Another aspect that already stands out from the first verse is its provenance. Although in later tradition a continent of the ancient world has been assigned to each king or other similar assignments, Matthew specifies that these come from the East.
This is the east of Israel, or what is the same, the area of the present, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia or even further east. It is not known if they came from the same place or if they met when they were looking for Jesus.
Finally, as you can read in the text, nowhere does it say that there were 3. Surely this assignment is due to the three gifts that it does say in the text: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
However, these three gifts are symbolic. The gold represents royalty, the frankincense the divine nature and the myrrh the suffering that Jesus would undergo. Surely, in reality, the gifts were many more, although all of very high value.
Now it is time to comment on the names given to the kings. We have already said that the Bible does not say that there were 3, much less that they were called that way. So where do these names come from?
Melchior is a name of Hebrew origin meaning. “my king is light”.. Thus, like almost all biblical characters, his name has a meaning in keeping with his role.
King Melchior represents old age and the European peoples at the same time, so it is at the same time, so it is not surprising that his name originates from this continent.
Secondly, we have Gaspar, which means “steward of the treasure. “steward of the treasure.” and originates from the Persian language spoken in the lands of Iran. In doing so, it has become the representative of adulthood and Asian peoples.
Finally, it is Balthazar’s turn. This name is not the first time it appears in the Bible, as you can find it in the Book of Daniel also representing a king.
Balthasar is a Babylonian name and means. “God protects the king.”although in this case he has often been represented as a black man or representative of America. He is also a representative of youth and children.
Three Kings Day
Another important aspect of the Three Kings is the day of their celebration. You have already seen that in the Bible the exact date of their arrival is not known, only that it was shortly after their arrival. after the Birth of Jesus.
Considering that the arrival of the kings warned Herod that Jesus had been born and that this provoked the slaughter of the slaughter of the innocents which is narrated in the same chapter Matthew 2, it may be that the kings arrived a few months or years after the birth.
At most, it took 2 years to arrive Herod ordered to kill all the children under 2 years of age that they found, so the figure should be more or less the same.
The actual celebration of Three Kings’ Day is on January 6thjust twelve days after Christmas. This coincides with Epiphany, the day designated by Christians to celebrate Jesus making himself known to the world for the first time.
Given the meaning of the Three Wise Men and that of the Epiphany of the Lord, it is normal to place the two celebrations on the same day, since both represent the same thing although differently.
In many Spanish-speaking countries, tradition has it that the Three Wise Men bring gifts to children the night before kings day. To do this, the children must write them a letter in which they ask for what they want. Moreover, the iconography always depicts them accompanied by camels.
With all this, the meaning attributed to the kings is that the birth of Jesus was a world event and for all ages, and that it and, moreover, that it continues to be so for ever and ever.
The Three Wise Men story for children
With these beautiful images of the Magi, we are closing today’s article with which we hope you have learned many things that you did not know before and that you probably had not thought about.
So, thank you for reading our articles and we hope to see you soon in other articles of Your Online Bible!
God bless you!