I was wondering when the three wise men came to see the baby Jesus? It
seems like it was a few years later–is that right?
To begin with, you have noticed what many miss, which is that the wise men
did not come to the stable on the night of Jesus? birth. Tradition is
wrong on this one. In fact, they came to the house where Joseph and Mary
stayed for a time, not to the place of Jesus? birth. By the way, tradition
also says that there were three wise men, but there is no indication of
the number of magi in Matthew. The number three probably came from the
fact that three gifts are listed.
As for the timing of their visit, it was most likely during the first or
possibly the second year of Jesus? life. We know from historians such as
Josephus that King Herod died in 4 BC. Jesus was probably born in 5 or 6
BC. When, out of jealousy, Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem
killed, he had all those two years and less killed. He had based this on
when the magi saw the star. I conclude that Jesus was certainly less than
two, and likely less than one year old when the magi visited him.