The Three Wise Men

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

What were the names of the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men), and the gifts that each brought to the baby Jesus?

The Answer:

According to Matthew 2:1-12, "wise men" came from the East to visit Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense (an aromatic gum resin used in incense and perfumes), and myrrh (another aromatic plant resin). Christian tradition holds that these Magi (members of a priestly caste of ancient Persia) were named Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior. It is not clear just who carried which gift; the biblical account, in fact, makes no reference to specific names, or even to the fact that there were exactly three visitors. That number is deduced from the fact that there were three gifts.

If you'd like more information on wise men from the East, check out JW McGarvey's "The Fourfold Gospel."

-The Fact Monster

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