Wise Men HeaderMagi, or Wise Men.

By Rev. Phil Greetham. © Copyright 1996. This Version, 2012.

11: The Journey to Bethlehem.
JerusalemKing Herod sent for the Wise Men secretly. We do not know for certain that he met them in his palace but if not it was probably somewhere close by. Having extracted from them the exact time of the first appearing of the star, and thus the day of Christ's birth, he sent them to Bethlehem.
Since they were soon to see the star again we assume it was night time - a good time for a secret meeting anyway. The Wise men would, in all probability, have left Jerusalem by a western gate just north of Herod's palace and made their way south joining the main road to Bethlehem lying 5 miles/8 km away.
Bethlehem Bethlehem stands on an irregular shaped hill 30-40 metres above the road from Jerusalem. It is part of a range of hills which slopes off down to the east. The roads existing 2000 years ago can only be guessed at but the road dividing at Rachel's tomb is pretty certain with the modern 'Star Road' being a likely candidate for a road to Bethlehem itself, at least to the gates at David's Wells. Approaching Bethlehem from Jerusalem would have involved a steep climb in a slightly east of south direction with the village itself to the south and increasingly west as the climb progresses. Note the position of the 4th century Basilica of the Nativity which was beyond the boundaries of the village. The assumption being that the birth place of Jesus was a cave used for keeping livestock. The boundaries of modern Bethlehem contain virtually the whole of the hill and a little beyond.
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