Christogenea, Matthew Chapter 2, Program Notes
II 1 Now Yahshua being born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herodas the king, behold! Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying “Where is He having been born King of the Judaeans? For we have seen His star in the east and we have come to worship Him!”
Strabo quotes Polybius where he says that “the priests of the Egyptians, the Chaldaeans, and the Magi, because they excelled their fellows in knowledge of some kind or other, attained to leadership and honour among the peoples of our times” (Geog. 1.2.15). Quoting Poseidonius, he says that “the Council of the Parthians … consists of two groups, one that of kinsmen, and the other that of wise men and Magi, from both of which groups the kings were appointed” (11.9.3). The Magi kept a guard at the tomb of Cyrus (Strabo, 15.3.7), directed the sacrifices of the Persians and distributed the meat from the altar, without setting aside a portion for the Persian deities (15.3.13) because the gods do not need meat, where Strabo also said that “the Persians do not erect statues or altars, but offer sacrifice on a high place”, a practice we see the Israelites chastised for in Scripture. Strabo also mentions his own eye-witness account of a “sect of the Magi, who are called Pyraethi (fire-kindlers)” who dwell in Cappadocia. They are said to keep an eternal fire, and to sacrifice animals by cudgeling them, and to carry about in procession a wooden statue of a strange god named “Omanus” (15.3.15). Among the Magi of Persia Strabo said that when they die they are not buried, but rather their bodies are left “to be eaten by birds”, and mentions that they were known to “consort even with their mothers” (15.3.20).