Wise Men went to Nazareth
It is assumed that the Wise Men went to Bethlehem, because Herod told them that was the predicted birthplace.
However, it appears that the star “moved” them elsewhere.
I had never questioned this before, until I read an argument given by a Jew who said the bible had contradictions in it.
He said the Luke accounts and the Matthew accounts were so different that only one could be true.
Hence, he said, the bible was wrong, and full of conflicting pious stories.
After reading both Luke and Matthew, I could see his point, and it made me think more carefully about what was actually written.
The tiniest details are important.
This is the Bible challenge by a traditional Jew (does not believe in Jesus as Messiah) :
While the Jesus of Matthew was still in Egypt, waiting for Herod to die, the Jesus of Luke was born, after eight days circumcised, on the 33rd day presented in the Temple, and immediately after these requirements of the Law, the family headed back to Galilee, and their own town of Nazareth. (Luke 2:21,22,39)
Now, bear in mind that Jesus was only 33 days old when they headed back home to Nazareth.
In the meantime, the Jesus of Matthew was still trapped in Egypt waiting for the word of the "angel" with the news that Herod had finally died. Perhaps in order to spare the embarrassment, the age of this Jesus was omitted.
Therefore, how many Jesuses were there? If there was but one, either gospel writer is lying or neither ever met each other.
**** Try reading both the Luke account and the Matthew account, and explain how in one place they go back to Nazareth, and the other place, they end up in Egypt.
I hope I can get this right. This is a good puzzle.
For the Bible to be consistent, the accounts of Luke and Matthew have to match somehow.
After reading carefully, this is what I came up with. See if you agree:
The order of events as I see it:
The star appears ahead of the birth, somewhere in the "east" ( Luke 2:2) which alerts the wise men that something unusual has occurred.
Since most "star" or planetary alignments are temporary, they probably watch it for while, and then realize that it is not going away, so they see it as a sign.
It will also "move" in the sky in the general direction of Israel, leading them there. Matthew 2:2
The birth occurs in Bethlehem. Baby is placed in a manger. (Luke 2;16) so they are in a cave somewhere.
Circumcision in Jerusalem at 8 days Luke 2:21
Purification in Jerusalem at 33 days. Luke 2:22
The family goes back to Nazareth Luke 2:39
the wise men end up in Jerusalem asking directions. Matt 2: 1
Herod sends them to Bethlehem Matt 2: 8
But the star guides them to the "house" where they are now. (in Nazareth). So the baby is no longer in a manger. Matt 2: 9, 11
Wise men were told in a dream not to return to Jerusalem – (if they did, Herod would find out where the child had moved to, that he was no longer in Bethlehem) Matt 2: 12
Joseph told to leave for Egypt because Herod will kill the child. Matt 2: 13
Herod kills all the 2 year olds, based on when the men first saw the star, not based on the actual age of the child Matt 2: 16
The trip to Egypt must have been for about a year, since they were able to come to the yearly Passover feast in Jerusalem, which is required anyhow by Jewish ordinances. Luke 2:41
If Jesus was born in the Fall, which some say, based on the astronomical calculations of planetary conjunctions and anomalies, then this meant the child and family left about Passover time, and returned about Passover time.
The child would have been about 6 months old when the wise men visited, and both they and the family were warned.
When Herod dies, an angel tells Joseph it is safe to return home to Israel to live. Matt 2: 19
Joseph and family end up back in Nazareth Matt 2: 23
Conclusion and Thoughts:
The child therefore, was only gone about a year (approximately 6 months old to 1 ½ years old, and from age 1 ½ years onwards, grew up in Nazareth. Luke 2: 40-41
Does this make sense? I hope so. I thought this was a good question. It made me think it through.
So, from what I can tell, only the shepherds actually came to the manger scene in Bethlehem. (Luke 2:20)
We assume that the Wise Men went there also, because that is where Herod told them to go.
But that does not mean they ended up there.
The “star” led them to Nazareth, to a house where the family had just recently moved to.
This star moved over a 2 year period. It was first seen in the “east.”
It moved the wise men from where they were to Jerusalem in Israel.
But when told the baby was in Bethlehem, “the star which they had seen in the east went before them, and stood before where the young child was.” Matthew 2:9
Where the star stood was over a house, not a manger. Matthew 2:11
While many think the star was just an alignment of planets, the movement was either so miraculously, and coincidentally, aligning with every movement of the parties involved, or it was really a supernatural event, guided by a special divine intelligence.
So the wise men ended up in Nazareth.
Do you agree?