Re: Follow the star

John T Stevenson (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 17:34:22 EST

On Wed, 18 Dec 1996 15:53:47 -0800 T & J Peterson <>
>Vanetten.Edward wrote:
>> Tradition seems to have the Wise Men traveling from
>> their homeland to Bethlehem by following the star.
>> As I read Matt. 2 they went from their homeland
>> straight to Jerusalem, because they did not know
>> where Jesus was born. (KJV verse 2 "Where is
>> he that is born King of the Jews?") So at this
>> point the star was not leading them as traditionally
>> thought. In verses 5 & 6 they find out from a
>> prophecy the Jews had, but the Wise Men
>> did not, that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem.
>> ["The Bread of Life" was to be born in the "House
>> of Bread"] It was AFTER getting this information
>> that the star seemed to REAPPEAR to guide them directly
>> to the location of Jesus. Verse 10 states they
>> "rejoiced with exceeding great joy" at seeing
>> the star AGAIN. If the star was continually
>> guiding them from their homeland, there would be no
>> reason for them to detour via Herod. And if
>> the Wise Men had not seen Herod then the slaughter
>> of the children would not have taken place.
>> Obviously the reappearance of the star was not
>> a coincidence, not a normal act of nature. God seems
>> to have been taking an active part in the entire
>> event, including telling the Wise Men not to return
>> to Herod. I think the Wise men looked to Jesus
>> not only as the "King of the Jews", but as the
>> "Messiah of the Jews" as evidenced by their
>> worshipping him. The lowly shepherds
>> worshipped Jesus and now Matthew reports that the
>> rich and powerful worship him also, showing that
>> Jesus is Savior for all mankind regardless of one's
>> status in life. Oops ... off the soap box, back
>> to my question ....
>> Are there alternate Greek translations
>> that support the traditional view of the star
>> CONSTANTLY guiding them? And if there are why
>> did the Wise Men go to Herod?
>Another possible interpretation that I've heard is that the wise men
>failed to follow the star completely. As they drew near and realized
>that their journey must end in Palestine, they naturally assumed that
>king would be born in the capital of Jerusalem. We can't really fault
>them as pagans, for this lapse of faith, but instead of trusting the
>God had given them, they diverted and acted upon their own
> When they realized that they were mistaken and returned to the proper
>course, they once again saw the star. As for the traditional view,
>there's been a lot of confusion over the years. The idea of there
>"three" wise men seems to have come from the three types of gifts
>mentioned. Some traditions even give them names. They are also
>to have arrived at the manger, when actually they came to the OIKIAN,
>which indicates that it was probably some time later. Herod's attempt
>to kill the babies of Bethlehem also seems to indicate a reasonable
>passage of time since the birth.

Comparing the Matthew account to the one in Luke, we would have to
conclude that the Magi Incident took place at least 40 days after the
birth of Jesus (this being the age at which he would have been taken to
the Temple).

We need not assume that he was a full two years old, but only that Herod
was giving himself a "safety margin," knowing that soldiers aren't too
good at telling the ages of infants and that parents in such a case would
be guaranteed to lie about the age of their child.