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The Bible says that wise men visited the manger. It does not say how many. Matthew Chapter 2, verse 1.

Actually, that depends upon how you want to read your Bible ...

On a literal level: no, the Wise Men did not visit the manger. The story of the Wise Men is told in Matthew. Here's the relevant passages, Matthew 1:24-2:1 and 2:9-11:

"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem [...]

"After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

In other words, Matthew doesn't even *have* a manger in it. Jesus is born in Joseph's home, which is in Bethlehem, and the Wise Men visit Jesus there. [scrtchmstj:wrong, Matthew may not mention the manger birth as Luke decided to, but by the time the Wise men arrived, it was roughly 2 years after Jesus birth. By this time they most likely would have found suitable accommodations in Bethlehem. Keep in mind Herod was going to kill all first born male children in Bethlehem under the age of 2 according to the time the wise men had told him the star had appeared.]

The manger, as we know it, appears only in Luke, and the Wise Men aren't mentioned there. In Luke, they go to Bethlehem for a census, and live in Nazareth. Because there is no room at the inn, Mary lays the child in a manger. Angels announce his birth to local shepherds, and tell the shepherds where to find Jesus. There's no mention of a star in Luke, either.

The popular reading is that these two "complete" each other, i.e. neither tells the whole story, but the reader must piece together the whole tale (which is a pretty shoddy way to tell a story, IMO). "Home" in Matthew is interpreted as Joseph's "ancestral home," i.e. Bethlehem is the home of the line of David, and the events in Matthew are said to take place *around* the events in Luke--so the star is shining in Luke, even though it isn't mentioned, and they laid him in a manger in Matthew, even though there's nothing in Matthew about the manger.

But even then, there's debate as to whether the Wise Men went to the manger. At my wife's Lutheran church, they don't place the Wise men in the Nativity scene, because they don't believe the Wise Men were at the manger, but instead came later (at their "home"). For that reason, the Wise Men aren't in the Nativity in our home, either; instead, they're on a nearby shelf, "traveling" :).

It does not depend on how you read your Bible. It is not up to you to decide what the Bible says or means. The Bible can only be read one way. It means what it says! It is absolute truth. It's God's Holy Word.

No. The wise men never visited the manger scene as many Christmas plays, cards, or pictures may display. Luke 2 depicts how the shepherds were at the manger scene, but the wise men were only mentioned in Matthew 2. The wise men came from the far east when they saw the star which appeared when Christ was born. With the distance that the wise men traveled from the Persian Empire, the journey could have taken up to 2 years. When the wise men finally arrived before the Christ child, He was with His mother in a "house" not a stable or manger scene. Furthermore, Matthew 2:8,9 depicts Christ to be a "young child" not a "babe" as it says in Luke 2. In the Greek, "young child" is defined as a young boy or infant, around the age of a toddler. Therefore, the group of wise men came to Jesus Christ as a young boy and worshiped Him as the One true Messiah, God Himself who came to save all men from their sin by dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later. He did this for you and for me!

The gospels do not have conflicting accounts of this. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a manger. The shepherds in the field showed up that same night (the angels told them "for unto you is born THIS DAY"). Also at some point around that time the star also showed up over Bethlehem. When the wise men from the east visited Herod in Jerusalem, he asked them when the star first showed up. Later, when Herod decided to kill all the firstborn male children under the age of 2 in the city of Bethlehem, we are told that that age was figured based upon the day the wise men had told Herod the star appeared. Bethlehem is only 7 miles away from Jerusalem so the Wise men would have arrived in Bethlehem in one day after leaving Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph by this time (roughly 1-1/2 to 2 years later) would have undoubtedly found more suitable accommodations. They did not stay in the stable because they were poor (though they were) they stayed there because there was no room in the inn, due to the Census. Visitors to Bethlehem would have been there for a very short time and left again to return to their current homes, freeing up places to live. It was more difficult for Joseph and Mary to return to Nazareth, which was very far away, so it is reasonable that they would have relocated to Bethlehem until God told them to go to Egypt to hide from Herod. The wise men showed up in Bethlehem probably around 2 years after Jesus' birth so no, they were not there at the nativity.

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โˆ™ 2015-07-15 20:42:18
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โˆ™ 2016-03-04 05:33:31

The Bible does not say how many wise men there were but, because there were three gifts, it is commonly assumed there were three wise men. The Bible certainly does not say they ever went to the manger.

The wise men are part of the nativity account in Matthew's Gospel, and in this account there was no manger. Matthew 2:11 is explicit about the visit of the wise men: "And when they were come into the house ..." This was the house that, in Matthew's Gospel, was the home of Joseph and Mary.


It is in Luke's Gospel that we find mention of a manger. In this account, Joseph and Mary and Mary lived in faraway Galilee, in the town of Nazareth, and travelled to Bethlehem to take part in a census. There being no room in the inn, the young family stayed in a stable. When Jesus was born he was placed in a manger. In this respect, Luke is quite different to Matthew, also in having poor shepherds come to see Jesus, instead of the wise men.


New Testament scholars say that neither account can be regarded as historical.

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