I’ve always had a problem with the “Wise Men”.

What made them so wise anyway?

Of course, some versions of the story cast these three characters as kings instead of wise men.  Many people probably consider the two descriptions as interchangeable.

I don’t.  I prefer to think of them in the king descriptive…and not as the wise men.  (And, no, I don’t think kings are all that wise either.)  It’s an important distinction.

But why, you ask, do I have a problem with calling them wise?  Well, what exactly did they do that was SO wise?  Let’s explore the story a bit.  To summarize their exploits, they looked at the sky and saw a star moving (which makes them astrologers, not necessarily wise)…then they got on camels (ugghh!)…then they went to king herod and said the one thing that would piss him off and thus directly caused the death of thousands (millions??) of innocent little boys (definitely unwise)…then they showed up late to the stable and gave their three gifts (which makes them generous, not wise)…then they warned the holy parents that herod was a little upset about certain events and suggested a vacation to Egypt (this is called CYA)…then they faded from the story.

Other than showing up at close to the right time, what exactly did they do that was so wise?  Did they write any great tomes?  Did they hang around Bethlehem and build some additional hotels? Did they offer to design a new aqueduct to bring water to the poor?  Did they make amends for all of the little boys that were slaughtered as a result of their not being so wise?

Frankly, I think they hung around Bethlehem after the gift giving was done and took in a show or two…maybe they played some dice with the locals…maybe they visited the local brothel…What happens while traveling on business stays secret, right?

Regardless, why call them wise?  Why celebrate their contribution?  What did they do to deserve the historical canonization?

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