The term "Wise Men" isn't just a casual phrase; it's actually the formal title for the Parthian Megistanes. The Greeks had a word for them: "magi," which translates to "wise men" but also indicates Persian astronomers and priests. Here's an interesting tidbit: during the time of Yeshua's (often known as Jesus) birth, Parthia was at the helm in Persia. So, those "Wise Men" you've heard about in the Bible? They were actually Parthian nobles and priests.
The Magi weren't just any ordinary folks in the Parthian government; they held significant positions. Some hailed from the esteemed Arsacids royal family, while others were dedicated priests, and yet others were influential Parthians of non-royal lineage. They played a pivotal role, ensuring the king remained accountable. By the year 200 AD, there were a whopping 80,000 Magi in Parthia! They owned expansive lands and even had the privilege to govern entire towns on their terms.
But history teaches us that nothing lasts forever. As the Parthian empire began to wane, the prominence of the Magi dwindled as well. In the end, they lost much of their influence and unfortunately, they weren't as revered as they once were.
Read Matthew 2:1-12. Can you answer the questions below?
- In the story of Yeshua's birth, who visited Him from the East?
- To whom did the Magi first inquire about the newborn King of the Jews?
- Which gifts did the Magi present to Yeshua?
- Which warning did the Magi receive in a dream after visiting Yeshua?