The questions of the Magi (Mt 2:2-2:2)

“The Magi asked.

‘Where is the child

Who has been born

King of the Jews?

We have observed

His star

At its rising

In the east.

We have come

To pay him homage.’”

 

λέγοντες Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.

 

These magi, because it was more than one, wanted to know where the new born child was (Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς) who was going to be the King of the Jews (βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  They had observed his star rising in the east (εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ).  They had come to pay homage or worship this new king (ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ).  These seem like legitimate questions from these eastern magi for King Herod.  They might have assumed that this new king would be the child of the current king, since King Herod had the title of King of the Jews.  As astrologers, they had seen this special star in the east.  They were outsiders, not Jewish, so that their insertion into this story indicated a universal appeal to the infant Jesus, who was to be ruler of the Jews.

The survivors worship Yahweh (Zech 14:16-14:16)

“Then all who survive

Of the nations

That have come

Against Jerusalem

Shall go up,

Year after year,

To worship the king,

Yahweh of hosts.

They will keep

The festival of booths.”

This is a universal appeal to all countries to come to worship Yahweh, with a particular remark about those who had fought against Jerusalem.  Yahweh wanted them to come every year to worship him, the king, Yahweh of hosts, for the festival of Booths, Tabernacles, or Tents.  This was usually in the fall, when there was a renewal of the covenant.  There was no mention of any other Israelite religious festivals.

The great conversion to Yahweh (Jer 16:19-16:20)

“Yahweh!

My strength!

My stronghold!

My refuge in the day of trouble!

The nations shall come to you

From the ends of the earth.

They will say.

‘Our fathers have inherited

Nothing but lies,

Worthless things,

In which there is no profit.

Can mortals make for themselves gods?

Such are not gods!’”

Jeremiah in this passage, which is probably from the exilic time, talks about Yahweh being his strength and stronghold, his refuge in the time of trouble. All the countries of the world would come from the ends of the flat earth to Yahweh. They were going to say that their fathers inherited nothing but useless lies that did not lead to any gain. How could mortals make gods for themselves? Truly, they were not gods at all. This is the universal appeal of Yahweh that does not appear until the exilic times.

All nations turn to Yahweh (Isa 45:14-45:17)

“They will make supplication to you.

Saying.

‘God is with you alone.

There is no other.

There is no god

Besides him.

Truly!

You are a God

Who hides himself.

O God of Israel!

The Savior.’

All of them are put to shame.

They are confounded.

The makers of idols

Go in confusion together.

But Israel is saved by Yahweh

With everlasting salvation.

You shall not be put to shame.

You shall not be confounded

To all eternity.”

Second Isaiah talks about the conversion of the whole world to Yahweh. This universal appeal is almost unique to Second Isaiah. The inhabitants of these other countries will say that Yahweh alone is God. There is no other god besides him. This had been the same request that Yahweh had made to his own people, but now everyone should say it, not just the Israelites. The God of Israel is a savior who hides himself. However, he will put all people to shame and confusion, especially those idol makers. Yahweh will then provide an everlasting salvation for his people, so that they will not be ashamed or confused for all eternity.