From the East
Came to Jerusalem.”
ἰδοὺ μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα
Now we have some magi (μάγοι) arrive (παρεγένοντο) from an eastern area (ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν) into Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), the capital, where Herod would have been living. Who were these wise guys or magi? The word “μάγοι” appears in both the Old and New Testament. Ordinarily this word is translated as a magician or sorcerer in the sense of illusionist or fortune-teller, except for here in the Gospel of Matthew. Magi originally were the followers of the Persian Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster. These priests paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term magi to be applied to the occult in general. Obviously, this led to the later English term magic or magicians. These magi also had an interest in astrology and other esoteric studies. However, the more common use of magi was to describe magicians, or practitioners of magic. Thus, the magicians have come to town. These magi have been popularly referred to as wise men or kings, but there is nothing in this account that implies that they were rulers of any kind. This story of the magi only appears in Matthew and not in the Luke infancy story.