Dante's Inferno

Minos Judging the damned with his tail

I know this is a little early and the Lenten season is weeks away; but I found an e-book of Dante's Inferno, on project Gutenberg's website, with the illustrations by Gustave Dore... enjoy this as we walk the life of Christ this Year...

The Divine Commedy

By Dante Alighieri,
Illustrated by Gustave Dore

The Magi-

"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."

There is some speculation surrounding the "Three Wise Men" or Magi of Matthew 2;

Who were they...?
Where were they from...?
And when did they come to see the new born Christ...?

The Bible states that the Magi were from Midian and Sheba

A multitude of camels will cover you,
The young camels of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba will come;
They will bring gold and frankincense,
And will bear good news of the praises of the LORD.
-Isiaih 60:6

Also the Magi came from Tarshish

Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
-Psalm 72:10

Midian and Ephah were tribes that resided in northwest Arabia on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. Ephah being a sub-tribe of Midian. Archeological evidence also indicates that the tribes may have extended from the eastern shores of the Sinai peninsula to the deserts east of the Gulf of Aqabah into Edom and Moab.

Sheba is slightly harder to nail down; the actual location of the historical kingdom is disputed, with modern evidence tending toward Yemen in southern Arabia, but other scholars argue for a location in either present-day Eritrea or Ethiopia. Seba was uncle to Sheba as seen in Genesis 10:7

The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians (Copts) claim that they are decendants of the tribes of Sheba. The Biblical tradition of the "Queen of Sheba" in 1 Kings 10, describes her as travelling to Jerusalem to behold the fame of King Solomon. Owing to the connection with the Queen of Sheba, the location has thus become closely linked with national prestige, as various royal houses have claimed descentcy from the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. The most vigorous claimant has been Ethiopia and Eritrea, where Sheba was traditionally linked with the ancient Axumite Kingdom.

In the Bible Solomon setup a trade with Tarshish and received ivory, apes, and peacocks from Tarshish which are all native to the jungles in India. (2 Chronicles 9:21, 1 Kings 10:22) The Bible also indicates that Jonah also attempted to sail to Tarshish. His rebellion against the LORD led to his being tossed overboard by sailors, swallowed by a large fish, and vomitted out onto dry land by God's command. He then made his way to Ninevah, now known as Mosul, in Iraq.

We must look at the Biblical record and to the stars to see when the Magi came...

in Numbers 24:17 it states that a star shall come forth

I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob

The Star of Bethlehem is a fulfillment of the prophecy from Numbers 24:17 of a "Star out of Jacob". Several people over time give their explanations for the Star of Bethlehem. In the 14th century Albert Magnus noted that the constellation Virgo rose above the horizon at midnight on December 24th at the reputed time of Christ's birth.

In 1606 the German astronomer Johann Kepler suggested that the "star" was the conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn on May 22nd, October 6th and December 1st, 7 B.C. Jupiter & Saturn would have been separated by a relative distance of two diameters of the moon — so they could have appeared as a single star. Jupiter & Venus actually overlapped on June 17th, 2 B.C., but this would have been after the estimated 4 B.C. death of King Herod.

A supernova explosion occurred in the constellation Capricorn in 5 B.C. and Halley's comet was visible in 11-12 B.C. Also Chinese astronomers of the Han Dynasty recorded a comet visible for seventy days in 5 B.C.

Natural explanations cannot account for a star being directly above a 20-meter radius on the surface of the earth so that it could be followed to a specific location, unless the star was not very high above the earth: "... and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." (Matthew 2:9).

It was the 6th century monk Dionysius Exiguus who created the B.C./A.D. system of dating based on the birthdate of Christ. Dionysius had Christ born on December 25, 1 B.C., seven days before January 1, 1 A.D. (no year zero). Luke 3:23 says that Christ was age 30 in the 15th year (about 27 A.D.) of the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (Luke 3:1). Modern scholars now date Christ's birth between 7 BC and 4 BC. The census for taxation described in Luke 2:1-5, can be used as a guide to the date of Christ's birth. Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar had a census in 28 B.C., 8 B.C. and 14 A.D. There is also a record of a census in Judea in 6 A.D.

Matthew 2:11 describes the wise men as entering a house rather than a stable, and finding a child rather than an infant.

In Luke 2:21-22 the Bible states that Jesus was circumcised, and that Mary waited for her purification days to be complete, 30 days according to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:1-8) and then the Holy Family went to Nazareth

So there's the facts...

We know from Matthew 2 that the Magi came to Jesus as a child, but it must have been before he was 38 days old because that is when Jesus was presented in the temple because they moved back to Nazareth after that.

So Is it safe to say that Mary and Josheph found a home "in the mean time" and then the Magi came...?

I mean really are you gonna have a Briss in a stable. They just got to Bethlehem and they still have to do all if their paper work for the census and who knows what kind of nightmare that was; standing in line holding a baby for hours, everybody having to get something to eat and then having to find a nice place to stay... possibly getting on a list at the local inn to see if someone gets bumped... then finding a house... that takes some time, if you have ever had to move in a hurry you will see how everything takes too much time and never works out like you planned...

It would have been nice if the inns in Bethlehem took reservations.

We know from scripture that the Magi visited the Christ child, now what time of year this occurred, and in what year this occurred, we will have to leave that up to the theologians and their hypotheses...