Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Who are these Magi, and where did they come from, and how did they know that the star would lead to? Some have said that they were astrologers, that is possible, but I think that there is a more likely explaination.
The Wise Men that came to worship Jesus, were from the East. The nearest land to the East was the Babylon Empire, which at one point Isreal was part of. When we read about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego we are reading about events that took place in Babylon.
When Daniel survived in the Lion’s den, King Darius was so grateful that he said
“Daniel 6:26-27 (KJV)
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in Earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
So to at least some extent, Babylon knew about Isreal and the Jewish religion and would have access to the history of the Jewish people, not only because they once occupied them, but because they were close enough to have contact with each other. . This would include many of the Prophecies made about the coming Messiah.
One of those prophecies was made by the reluctant prophet Balaam (The guy with the talking Donkey)
In Numbers 24:17 Balaam says “I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel”
A sceptre is a symbol of Kingship, and a star in the land of Jacob is connected with that king.
One of Daniel’s prophecies particularly sticks out as a foretelling of the coming of Christ
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
This was understood to mean in seventy weeks of years (490 years) it would be time to anoint the most Holy. Which gave the Babylonians a time frame for this to happen.
Since the Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had such a big impact on Babyalon, it would only be natural for them to record those events, and thus the Wise Men would have had access to those records
While Babylon did participate in astrology, it’s study of the stars, also led them to lay the groundwork for modern day astronomy. If they had studied the work of Daniel, and then heard of a strange star in the sky durring the time of the prophecy, I am sure they would want to check it out, and since wise men were typically under the employment of the government, it would have been an obligation of the royal house to give a gift to any new born king to help secure peace, thus explaining how the Wise men had such expensive gifts on hand.
We should also consider the fact that not long after the Wise Men had given their gifts to Jesus, Joseph was told to take his family to Egypt to live. Trips like that cost a lot of money. If those Wise Men had not come, I doubt a carpenter would have been able to afford that kind of trip, so I believe that God sent the Wise Men to give the money to Joseph that he was soon going to need.
If you would like to support Smart Christian, and do more research into this subject. Please consider buying these books from Amazon.com via the links below.
Finding Jesus in the Old Testament , by David Limbaugh
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
The Moody Bible Commentary
And a wikipedia link talking about the origins of Astronomy in Babylon