Faith and a relationship with God is a matter of the heart, not simply information.
The Magi saw a star and went in pursuit to find the Messiah.
The scribes, priests and Herod had access to the details of the Messiah, including the place of his birth, but they did not pursue him, but instead rejected him.
A little knowledge with an open heart is better than a lot of knowledge with a hard heart. But, of course, the best is an open heart with the knowledge of the scriptures.
2:1 Matthew skips the birth account and gives details of the visit of the Magi when Jesus was about 2 years old. Jesus is called a child (2:16) and not a baby. The family now lives in a house (2:1) and are not in a stable.
"Magi" (magoi) were members of a priestly caste developed in
The Magi had come in contact with Judaism through the exile of the Jews. Daniel had been one of their leading members and many Jews still lived scattered in the Magi's country of origin.
The Magi had traveled at
least 900 miles from
Familiarity with Millennial
prophecies and Balaam's prophecy of "a star will come out of Jacob; a
scepter will rise out of
Herod the Great was a
fantastic builder and used his own wealth to feed the Jewish nation during two
different famines. He was born in 73 BC, made king of
2:1 The Star:
A. 7 BC, May, October, and November a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn appeared in Pisces which is a constellation associated with end times and the Hebrews.
B. The star could have been a distant exploding star called a super nova
C. Comet - Haley's Comet passed in 12 BC
D. Planetary Conjunction occurred again in 3 BC
E. It could have been supernatural
F. It could have involved information and calculations unknown to us and the people of that day since the Magi were known to have possession of "mysteries" or inside, fraternity information.
2:3 Herod already feared invasion from the East and had
built four palace/fortresses to defend his eastern borders:
The Magi, like Nehemiah, would have traveled with a military escort. They would have also been accompanied by servants.
Jesus was born king in the lineage of David. Jesus was not going to become king someday. He was the rightful king.
The idea is "what stands written through the prophets"
Gold - valued throughout as a medium of exchange and for making jewelry, ornaments, dining instruments for royalty.
Incense (Frankincense) - comes from an amber resin which gave a sweet odor when burned. The only incense permitted on the altar in the temple (Exodus 30:9, 34-38). Also, used as perfume.
Myrrh - a mixture of resin, gum and oil and also used as an incense (Exodus 30:23), as a perfume, a stimulant (Mark 15:23)and for packing the wrappings of the clothing of a deceased person (John 19:39)
A) South around
the Dead Sea to pick up a trade
route north through Nabatea, the Decapolis and into
B) Could have gone across
C) South to