Loading

What is a wise man?

In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. Genesis 41:8

Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Exodus 7:11

Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times. Esther 1:13

Wise men show up in the Bible in Egypt during the time of Joseph in Genesis and Moses in Exodus and in Persia with Esther. They appear to be high ranking counselors to those in power. They are mentioned separtely from the sorcerers and magicians so they definitely associated with them, but it does not mean they were apart of it. It’s very likely they agreed with the “dark arts” in all their “wisdom.”

This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:12

In the Book of Daniel, Daniel came up against the wise men who wanted him executed because he worshipped God. When Daniel survived the lion’s den, the king realized the wise men’s intent and God’s power. He had those wise men executed. But there were more wise men...

The king called out for the enchanters, astrologers and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:7

We see here that Babylon called wise men enchanters, astrologers and diviners so their “wisdom” came from ungodly things. The term “Magi” means a class of Zoroastrian priests in ancient Media and Persia, reputed to possess supernatural powers, sorcerers who worshipped fire and focused on the struggle of light and dark. That definitely put them into the classification of the occult.

The wise men who visited Jesus came from the east, so apparently they were from Persia and descendants of the same Magi Daniel encountered. They probably had access to the Old Testament manuscripts left by Daniel and the Jews who exiled to Persia during that time. Since they were interested in spiritual matters and curious about prophecies, they followed the prophecies about a star found in Numbers 24:17 about a king being born.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17
It could be argued that they did not have all the scriptures since they asked King Herod where the new king was born. Micah 5:2 prophecied precisely where that was.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. Micah 5:2
Herod’s chief priests knew this, but the wise men did not, so possibly the Persian wise men must have had access to ancient scrolls and not the more “recent” prophecies of Micah (700 BC).
When the wise men found the Christ child, they fell down and worshipped him. It’s unclear whether they started out as followers of God, converted by the reading of scrolls and the life of Daniel, or that they converted once they saw that the prophecy had come true. Either way, their act of worship made a huge statement about the power of God to change the lives of those who encounter the Christ child.