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Oct 21

The Wise Men and the Star

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The kings of Tarshish and the coastlands will offer gifts; the kings of Sheba and Seba will bring tribute... May he live! May they offer him gold from Sheba! May they continually pray for him! May they pronounce blessings on him all day long!

Psalms 72:10,15


Matthew Henry notes that Psalm 72:2-17 is a prophecy concerning the Kingdom of Christ as many passages in it cannot be applied to the reign of Solomon.


Gold is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible. Pagan idols were often made from gold and the Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10-17). The gift of gold to the Christ child was symbolic of His divinity—God in flesh.

Nations come to your light, kings to your bright light... Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord.

Isaiah 60:3,6


We know that the wise men came and they brought gold, incense and myrrh to Jesus. The preceding verses must be taken with caution however.


I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.

Number 24:17


Perhaps the wise men were expecting a new star to announce the birth of Christ from reading Numbers 24:17, which describes a star coming from Jacob and a King (“scepter”) from Israel.


The question can be asked though: Balaam speaks of a star “out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17), but this is referring to the Messiah himself, not a literal star. Furthermore, there have been many stars, comets, supernovae, and planetary alignments in the meanwhile; how would they suddenly decide, “Now this is the one we’ve been waiting for”?


One possible answer that can be given to the above objection, is that these wise men connected the dots with Daniel 9, who predicted the time of the coming of the Messiah. GotQuestions notes that the wise men were men who:


  1. read and believed God's Word,

  2. sought Jesus,

  3. recognized the worth of Christ,

  4. humbled themselves to worship Jesus, and

  5. obeyed God rather than man.


Whether the wise men and the star is actually predicted can be debated. One thing is certain, the wise men knew when and where Jesus was going to be born by studying what has been revealed to them at that time.


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