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The Adoration of the Magi (1) : Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.
The Adoration of the Magi
Part one

Based on Matthew 2, with additions from ancient tradition.

According to Pliny the Elder (23-79), a Roman contemporary of St Paul, ‘magi’ were believed to be followers of Zoroaster, interpreters of dreams, worshippers of the stars and secret knowledge, not to mention conjurors and charlatans.

NOT long before King Herod died, astrologers from Persia agreed that an unusual star announced the birth of a Jewish prince. A group of them set off for Jerusalem, no doubt expecting to find Herod’s palace in celebration.

But Herod had already had an heir, Antipater, who had recently attempted to assassinate him; and as Herod was not of Israel’s royal line, but from recent convert stock, and owed his throne to Roman favour, news of a possibly legitimate claimant from the birthplace of King David was unwelcome.

So he sent the eager Persians off to find their prince, with instructions to report back.

The star led the magi to a Bethlehem cave, a rough-and-ready stable where they found their prince of David’s line in a manger. Convinced nonetheless, they presented him with the gifts they had brought: gold for a king, myrrh for a mortal, and incense for a god.

Now distrustful of Herod, they returned home without submitting their report.

Based on Matthew 2, with additions from ancient tradition.

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Picture: © Zeynel Cebeci, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0. View original
Drawn by the fragrance of a star... The delicate white flowers of Ornithogalum umbellatum are called ‘star of Bethlehem’.

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