How Old Was Jesus When the Wise Men Came? | The Star’s Birth
People always say at Christmas that the Nativity displays and the traditional Christmas tale are inaccurate as Jesus had to be a child when the wise men came to Bethlehem. What does the Bible say, in any case? “How old was Jesus when the Wise Men came?” I’d like to know with certainty.
This question has two sides. Traditionally, Jesus was an infant. Alternatively, Jesus was one or two years old.
The Wise Men/To Watching Jesus as an Infant
The Wise Men/Infant Jesus idea seems to stem from King Herod’s activities during Jesus’ birth, as the Bible mentions that upon the arrival of the wise men in front of him seeking the Messiah, he inquired about the appearance of the star in Matthew 2:7.
The wise men visited Jesus before returning home. When Herod saw that they did not go back to him as he had requested them to, he got furious and ordered to slaughter all the infants under the age of two in Bethlehem and all its environs, according to the time that he had painstakingly enquired of the wise men. (Matthew 2:16).
Herod assumed Jesus was born around the time of the star’s appearance or later.
The Wise Men/Toddler Jesus audience typically agrees with Herod. They present three fundamental points to support their argument:
1) Jesus was born when the star shone
2) Jesus is referred to as a young child in the wise men’s viewpoint
3) Jesus was found by the wise men at home instead of in a stable.
These claims sound believable, but a closer analysis of the Bible and its Greek text proves that these contain non negligible flaws.
The Star’s Birth
According to the Bible, Jesus was not born upon the star’s first appearance. Everyone who thinks otherwise is just guessing. Despite Herod’s stature, he missed Jesus’ birth.
Just because he commanded the execution of every two-year-old does not indicate Jesus was two at the time. Herod assumed Jesus was a newborn infant since he ordered the killing of newborns.
An infant is also called a child.
The Greek word for a child is paidion. It’s not just for infants. It could be a newborn. It could be a newborn. Whereas paidion refers to John the Baptist at eight days old (Luke 1:59,66,76,80). Jesus was born (Luke 2:17).
Jesus is referred to as paidion when the shepherds were present on the night of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:17). So Jesus is described as a child in the tale of the wise men (Matthew) doesn’t indicate that he was an infant.
An Inn was a House Room.
As mentioned in the Bible, Travelers lived in houses as guests who didn’t pay. It is because hotels were scarce at the time. Motels and Holiday Inns didn’t exist. The rule of that time forced Jews to treat outsiders with respect and not exploit them. The regime also considered it unfair to charge nighttime travelers. So there was probably no inn in Bethlehem.
The Bible uses the term inn to refer to a guest chamber in the house. Only in Luke 2:7 is the Greek term for inn interpreted as an inn. It is seen two other times in Mark 14:1 and Luke 22:11, where it translates as the guest-chamber (old word for room). They mean a room in a house, not an inn.
Around Jerusalem, several people constructed guest rooms in their homes (typically a second level above their old building with a door and stairway that opened outside). Jews from all over the country stayed in houses around Jerusalem for free during the three national holidays of Israel. Two of the three holidays were week-long, so residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas had to be accommodating.
However, an inn was most probably a guest chamber in the house in Bethlehem. Mary and Jesus stayed in the barn because the guest chamber was full.
When people around the house noticed that Mary had given birth to Jesus, they offered them to sleep inside the house, which points toward a necessary detail; The wise men may have found Jesus in a home the day he was born. A place does not imply or demand that Jesus was not an infant.
For argument’s sake, let’s pretend that everything in this section is wrong. In Bethlehem, there was an inn without any space for Jesus. What would this inn look like? A thirty-story mansion with a giant illuminated sign on top saying
“Bethlehem Inn”? No. It isn’t about today. It was in Israel in the late BC era. No such mansions. People only had houses. If there was an inn in Bethlehem, it was in a home where the wise men stayed. Again, mentioning a place does not imply Jesus was not an infant.
The arrival of the wise men at Jesus’ birth
Yet another proof of the Wise Men/Baby Jesus viewpoint is Matthew 2:1 in the Bible. It mentions how Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the rule of Herod, and that’s when the wise men came to Jerusalem. The wise men arrived in Jerusalem at Jesus’ birth in this verse. A year later. They arrived with him.
Greek aorist participle “when Jesus was born” can be interpreted as “when,” “after,” or “Jesus’ birth and .”The New Testament has many aorist participles. An aorist participle follows the action of the primary verb, “Jesus was born,” followed by “wise men came to Jerusalem .”Between Jesus’ birth and the wise men’s arrival in Jerusalem, not nearly a year passed.
Jerusalem was only half a day’s hike from Bethlehem. After visiting Jesus in Jerusalem, the wise men traveled quickly to Bethlehem.
When Did They Return to Nazareth?
Back to Nazareth is another statement favoring the Wise Men/Baby Jesus viewpoint. It has happened only once in both Matthew and Luke. The shepherd story (Luke 2:39) mentions the return of the wise men to Nazareth very closely (around 40 days) to the birth of Jesus.
After leaving Egypt, the wise men returned to Nazareth, according to Matthew (Matthew 2:22,23). And all of this had to happen within 40 days of Jesus’ birth. And all of this had to happen within 40 days of Jesus’ birth.
The Timeline of Christmas
How did these events connect? This story blends the two accounts chronologically. Mary and Jesus went to Bethlehem to pay taxes. They proceeded to Joseph’s relative’s residence. His relatives stayed in the barn because the guest room was filled. Jesus was born in the barn at night. Angels told shepherds of Jesus’ birth.
They found Jesus in the barn’s feed trough. Everyone in the village announced their departure, and the news spread quickly as the town was small. Mary and the baby were brought in that night or the following day, evicting other distant relatives.
Around this time, the wise men arrived in Jerusalem seeking the Messiah. Herod asked the people about the person assigned to copy the Old Testament by hand, saying Bethlehem. Herod sent the wise men out to find the Messiah and report him. The wise men went in the dark towards Bethlehem, a journey of several hours. The star reappeared and led them to Jesus’ abode. They came inside and gave him gifts.
God informed them in a dream not to return to Herod but to take a different route home, and then they left.
The next night, an angel instructed Joseph to flee to Egypt. He, Mary, and Jesus arrived in Egypt after a few days. On noticing that the wise men had not returned, Herod became enraged and slaughtered all two-year-old and younger boys in Bethlehem.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus spent a month in Egypt. Meanwhile, Herod died. Later, In Joseph’s dream, an angel told him to return to Israel.
They traveled to Jerusalem and made legal sacrifices at the temple. Simeon and Anna saw Jesus as the Messiah.
They should have returned to Bethlehem to thank their relatives and friends for their kindness, but Joseph learned from other temple attendees that Herod’s son, Archelaus, had replaced him, and he was scared to go back. As a result, they traveled west out of Israel and then north to Nazareth.
When did the wise men visit Jesus? From what the Bible states, we can safely assume that He was between 0 and many days old. He wasn’t one or two.