Whatever Happened to the Magi? Excerpt from The Road From Jericho - I

 Posted earlier partly as Alternate Route - I and Alternate Route - II, but has recently been edited and included in Kelly Aludiugin's The Road From Jericho


“Do not allow a sorceress to live” (Exodus 22:18).

Or, in the classic King James Version: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.” Sorcerer? Witches? The bible describes them as those who practice the dark arts—divination, astrology, necromancy, among others. Wait, those describes the Magi, yet along with the shepherds—who were outcast themselves as being in the bottom of society—they figure prominently as visitors welcoming baby Jesus into this world. Those details should get people thinking and reacting; as the religious leaders would later react to Jesus, “this man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

But given how we treat the bible stories—even among those who worship the bible—stuff have been sanitized. Quickly digressing about the shepherds, they were in the bottom of the socio-economic ladder and treated by contempt by “decent” society. They are considered liars and cheats, and that their testimony is not valid in the court of law. What has been done to them? They were made cute.

Back to the Magi, the inconvenient details about them are ignored and quietly the narrative pretends those details are not there: they are sanitized and since been presented as “wise men”, or, as “kings”.  Yeah, the easy way out, no hard thinking on how to deal with Harry Potter, horoscopes, Ouija boards, or Tarot cards—just write them all off as of the devil!

But consider this as a hard slap: sorcerers welcomed baby Jesus and inversely, were welcomed by Mary into the party!

Without going into deep exegesis, Exodus 22 has a specific story that singles out specifically a “sorceress”; a woman. And the Magi were men … so they get a pass? That accident in the narrative and the evolving patriarchy levels up with a layer of sexism. Maleficent is bad while Merlin is good. Earlier, it was noted that as Christianity steam-rolled into the Philippines, folk healers were differentiated according to gender: women became “mangkukulams” (“witches”) while men became “arbolarios” (“herbal/folk healers”).

Cold facts do reveal that the Magi were men and were part of the religious establishment of Persia—today known as Iran … so you can guess where that could lead to.

We can guess they were into Zoroastrianism? Cue “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” Tradition names them as Gaspar of India, Melchor of Persia, and Baltasar of Arabia. The bible does not say how many or name them; but “magi” is plural so there must be a least two and given that there were three gifts … so three guys? The association with Persia, also makes it unlikely that one is Arabian and another, Indian.

Antiquity and archeology, validated by computers giving astronomers the ability to rewind the position of the stars to specific locations at specific times, a conjunction of Saturn and the constellation Pisces did take place at more or less the possible time that Jesus may have been born.  In antiquity, Saturn means royalty, Pisces came to represent Judea or Israel. So a king is born in Israel. And they were looking at their horoscopes.

Okay, the point has been made: these were sketchy dudes.

Now the question is, “what happened to them after”? After all they were in Jesus’ birthday party. Did they simply return to Persia?

Perhaps, if I phrased that in modern Christianese (or Evangelicalese):

1. Were they saved?
2. Did they accept (Baby) Jesus into their hearts?
3. Did they become Christians?
4. Did they start the Persian Christian Fellowship?
5. Did they burn all their horoscopes and started reading the Bible?