Bible Cartoon: Matthew 02 - The Nativity SET 01 - Scene 05 - wise men in Jerusalem

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Bible Book: Matthew
Bible Book Code: 4000200201
Scene no: 5 of 15

Bible Reference & Cartoon Description

Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)
[1 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.] About that time some wise men [1] from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, [2] and we have come to worship him.”

Or, royal astrologers; Greek reads magi; also in 2:7, 16.

Or, in the east.



This scene is set in a market, in the city of Jerusalem. The sun provides the main light source, coming from above the scene.

The wise men* can be seen on the right of the picture, in green, red and blue robes. The wise man in green is pointing to the sky, and telling the market trader he is talking to about the star that they have been following from the east into Jerusalem. The wise man in blue can be seen holding the reins of their camels.
Various market traders & customers.

Three wise men? * Although the Bible doesn’t specify that there were three wise men, some Bible scholars have reasoned that the three gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) might indicate three wise men. I have illustrated the scene with three wise men, or Magi, as they are also called. No doubt the wise men would have travelled with a significant number of servants, camels, supplies, etc in a large group, which could defend itself in the wilderness, since there were known to be bandits, thieves & all manner of villains on the roads they would have travelled. But for the purposes of focusing the viewers attention on three wise men, I have omitted all these extra people!

The design for the wise men’s features, robes and colour schemes was established in the Matthew 02 – The Nativity – Scene 07 – Herod & 3 wise men cartoon, created in Dec 2009.

I made the background people simple blue/purple outlines, to keep the viewers focus on the wise men and foreground action.

I found an interesting little article in my “The Complete Jewish Study Bible” regarding the nationality of the wise me, quoted below.
The Magi Replaced the Jews as First Recipients of the Good News
Matthew 2:1–12 Despite the prophetic nature of Matthew 2, certain Jewish scholars incorrectly
conclude that this is the first anti-Semitic assertion of the New Testament, where God chose the Magi
(presumably Gentiles) over his covenant people (Isra’el) in presenting the Jewish Messiah (v. 7). Jewish scholar Amy-Jill Levine points out, “Matthew’s second chapter has been read as a foreshadow of the passion, in which evil Jews persecute the righteous while good Gentiles seek their well-being” (Farmer 27–28).

Historically, Christian theologians have mistakenly insisted that the term ‘magi’ was used as the name for priests and wise-men among the Medeo-Persians and Babylonians. These persons were supposed to be adept in that secret learning which in remote antiquity had its seat in Egypt, and later in Chaldea, from which latter fact they were often called Chaldeans” (Kasdan, Matthew Presents Yeshua 107). Most Christian scholarship thus argues that the Magi were Gentiles and of pagan origin.

However, recent biblical scholarship and archeological evidence has proven that the Magi were neither Gentiles nor astrologers (stargazers), but in fact were Jewish sages. As noted by Kasdan [Barney Kasdan, rabbi of Kehilat Ariel, a Messianic synagogue in San Diego, USA], “Babylon was still the place of residence for the majority of the Jewish community even as Matthew was writing in the first century” (107). Of the origin of these Magi, scholars agree they are linked to the prophet Dani’el, near 500 B.C., who in the Diaspora waited for the time of return and the restoration of Isra’el. Some have even speculated that these wise men came from a Jewish school that went back to Dani’el’s day, where the prophets looked to the heavens for the promised arrival of the Messiah. The star in the east was in fact a manifestation of ADONAI’s Sh’khinah (Divine Presence), marking the arrival of the Son of Man. The Jewish Midrash Aggadat Mashiach (Bet ha-Midrasch 3:141–43) remarks, “This is the star of the Messiah, and it will abide in the east fifteen days, and if it tarries longer, it will be of the good of Isra’el.” As to the accusation that God providing revelation to the Magi is anti-Semitic, this is refuted in that the wise men of the east were in fact Jewish sages awaiting the arrival of Isra’el’s Messiah.

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