Did Joseph and Mary see the Magi’s Star?
Were the Magi at the manger the night of Jesus’ birth?
Although many manger scenes include both the Star and the Magi with the shepherds, the magi were not present at the birth site as the shepherds were (Luke 2:10-16).
Since Herod slew all the 2-year-old boys in Bethlehem based on the time the star appeared (Matthew 2:7,16), Jesus was probably between 1 and 2 years old when the magi visited and worshiped Him in a house in Bethlehem.
Thus Mary and Joseph probably did not see the Star the night Jesus was born, but they likely did see it over Bethlehem a year or so later when the magi visited their house to worship Jesus.
God created stars for signs (Genesis 1:14). Possibly His Star appeared in the constellation Virgo (Virgin), and reminded the magi of the Messianic “seed of the woman” prophecy (Genesis 3:15). Or it may have appeared in the constellation Aries (Ram) which was the zodiacal sign associated with Herod’s kingdom at that time.
The magi were surely aware of Balaam’s “star” prophecy fourteen centuries earlier: A star shall come forth from Jacob; a scepter shall rise from Israel. (Numbers 24:17)
The magi would also have known Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) about Messiah the Prince being cut off 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah around 450 BC). As the time of Daniel’s prophecy drew near, the magi would have correlated it with Balaam’s prophecy and realized the Star announced the coming King.
(See 3. Born A King! for more background on this.)
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
5. Star of Wonder
Read December’s Bible-Science newspaper column: Christmas Animals.
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday December 19, 2007 A.D.
And having heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11)