Xmas 4

Jesus Praying Mother MormonThe Bible never specifies the number of wise men. It was the three gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) that suggested they may have been three. But some early traditions suggested eight or twelve. But they did not come to a stable. By the time the wise men came to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were living in a house (Matthew 2:11). It is likely that they arrived as much as two years after the birth of Jesus. They came first to the palace of King Herod in Jerusalem, where they inquired of the king whose star they had seen. The king asked when the star appeared and, based on that information, he ordered the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem who were two years old and under (Matthew 2:1-2, 7, 16). This suggests that the child was about two years old or less. Two years earlier, the shepherds came to see a “babe” in a stable (Luke 2:12, 16; the Greek term means “newborn”), while the wise men came when Jesus was a “young child” (the Greek word denotes a toddler; Matthew 2:8-9, 11, 13-14).