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How Many Wise Men

What do we know about the three wise men in the Bible? The wise men from the east are mentioned in Matthew chapter 2.

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It only says, “wise men from the east.”  No number is given. Nor are they named.  The idea of three came from the fact that three gifts are mentioned.  There could have been more or less, but the Bible gives no number. Another fact:  the wise men did not come at Jesus’ birth but came later, perhaps as much as two years later since Herod ordered the slaughter of all Jewish male babies age two or younger. Bible fiction (popular stories or songs) lead people to believe the fiction rather than the Bible.  Think of the song “we three kings of orient are” or popular books, opera or made for television movies such as “The Fourth Wise Man” or “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”  All show three or four wise men.  Stories such as these go back as far as writings of the sixth century AD.


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Photo used under Creative Commons license accessed  12/4/2012

2 thoughts on “How Many Wise Men

  1. I want to know the other wise man, I just known the three wise men. I have heard the another one wise man, but he have not seen Jesus until Jesus dead.
    But I want to know him detail. So, please could you help me to know this left wise man.

    1. “The Fourth Wise Man” is a movie and/or play based on the book “the Other Wise Man” by Henry Van Dyke written in 1895. It is fiction. And considered a classic. You can find the book and/or movie on Amazon or Netflix. It’s an excellent story of sacrificing what we want – the point of the story being that the fourth wise man lived as Christ would have us live and kept missing the Christ he hoped to see and honor.

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