Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online

Smith's Bible Dictionary

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z   

        (Authorized Version wise men).
        1. In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament the word occurs but twice, and then only incidentally. Jer 29:3,13 "Originally they were a class of priests among the Persians and Medes who formed the king's privy council, and cultivated as trology, medicine and occult natural science. They are frequently referred to by ancient authors. Afterward the term was applied to all eastern philosophers." --Schaff's Popular Commentary. They appear in Herodotus' history of Astyages as interpreters of dreams, i. 120; but as they appear in Jeremiah among the retinue of the Chaldean king, we must suppose Nebuchadnezzar's conquests led him to gather round him the wise men and religious teachers of the nations which he subdued, and that thus the sacred tribe of the Medes rose under his rule to favor and power. The Magi took their places among "the astrologers and star gazers and monthly prognosticators." It is with such men that, we have to think of Daniel and his fellow exiles as associated. The office which Daniel accepted Da 5:11 was probably rab-mag --chief of the Magi.
        2. The word presented itself to the Greeks as connected with a foreign system of divination and it soon became a byword for the worst form of imposture. This is the predominant meaning of the word as it appears in the New Testament. Ac 8:9; 13:8
        3. In one memorable instance, however, the word retains its better meaning. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, ch. Mt 2:1-12 the Magi appear as "wise men"--properly Magians --who were guided by a star from "the east" to Jerusalem, where they suddenly appeared in the days of Herod the Great, inquiring for the new-born king of the Jews, whom they had come to worship. As to the country from which they came, opinions vary greatly; but their following the guidance of a star seems to point to the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, where astronomy was Cultivated by the Chaldeans. [See STAR OF THE EAST] (Why should the new star lead these wise men to look for a king of the Jews?
        (1) These wise men from Persia were the most like the Jews, in religion, of all nations in the world. They believed in one God, they had no idols, they worshipped light as the best symbol of God. (2) The general expectation of such a king. "The Magi," says) Ellicott, "express the feeling which the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius tell us sixty or seventy years later had been for a long time very widely diffused. Everywhere throughout the East men were looking for the advent of a great king who was to rise from among the Jews. It had fermented in the minds of men, heathen as well as Jews, and would have led them to welcome Jesus as the Christ had he come in accordance with their expectation." Virgil, who lived a little before this, owns that a child from heaven was looked for, who should restore the golden age and take away sin. (3) This expectation arose largely from the dispersion of the Jews among all nations, carrying with them the hope and the promise of a divine Redeemer. Isai 9, 11; Dani 7
        (4) Daniel himself was a prince and chief among this very class of wise men. His prophecies: were made known to them; and the calculations by which he pointed to the very time when Christ should be born became, through the book of Daniel, a part of their ancient literature. --ED.) According to a late tradition, the Magi are represented as three kings, named Gaspar, Melchior and Belthazar, who take their place among the objects of Christian reverence, and are honored as the patron saints of travellers.

Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr "Meaning and Definition for 'Magi' in Smiths Bible Dictionary". - Smith's; 1901.

Copyright Information
Smith's Bible Dictionary

Smith's Bible Dictionary Home
Bible History Online Home


Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Online Bible (KJV)
Naves Topical Bible
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary

Related Bible History

Popular and Trending:

Meaning and Definition of Pharaoh, Who Was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Did God Harden Pharaoh's Heart, Which Pharaoh Reigned during the Time of Joseph and Moses, How Many Watches of the Night, What were the Jewish Watches of the Night, What Is the Meaning of the Fourth Watch, Midnight and the Cock Crowing, What Were Thorns and Thistles in the Bible, What were the Different Thorns and Thistles, How Many Different Plants And Trees Had Thorns In the Time of Jesus, Where Was Nineveh, Definition and Meaning of Nineveh, Who Were the Assyrians, Which the Syrian King Made Nineveh Their Capital, Which Palaces Were Nineveh, Did Archaeologists Discovered Nineveh, What is the meaning of Edom and Idumea, Where the Edomites Descendents of Esau, Was Herod and Edomite, When was Petra A City of Edom, Why Did the Edomites Fail When They Attacked Israel After Jerusalem Fell, Why did Noah send a Raven? Was The Biblical Raven A Crow, Why Are Raven's Black, What Was the Raven in the Mosaic Law, Do Raven's Attack the Eyes, What was a Crown of Thorns, Which Thorny Shrub or Plant Was the Crown of Thorns Made from, What Color Was the Crown of Thorns, in Matthew 27:29 Why did the Roman soldiers mock Jesus using a Crown of Thorns, What was a Gergesenes, Where Was Gadara And What Is the Modern Name, Where Was the Place That Jesus Healed the Two Demon Possessed Man, What Is the Meaning of Gadarenes, What Is a Demoniac, What were the 10 Plagues, What Does the Bible Say about Each of the 10 Plagues, Did God Use the 10 Plagues to Mock the Gods of Egypt, in Exodus 3-12 How Are the Plagues Described, Was the Passover Part of the 10th Plague, Where was Zoar, What Is the Biblical Meaning of okaythe Land of Zoar, Has Zoar Been Discovered, Where Was Zoar in Relation to Sodom and Gomorrah