Matthew 2:2

For we saw his star in the cast (eidomen gar autou ton astera en th anatolh). This does not mean that they saw the star which was in the east. That would make them go east to follow it instead of west from the east. The words "in the east" are probably to be taken with "we saw" i.e. we were in the east when we saw it, or still more probably "we saw his star at its rising" or "when it rose" as Moffatt puts it. The singular form here (th anatolh) does sometimes mean "east" ( Revelation 21:13 ), though the plural is more common as in Matthew 2:1 . In Luke 1:78 the singular means dawn as the verb (aneteilen) does in Matthew 4:16 (Septuagint). The Magi ask where is the one born king of the Jews. They claim that they had seen his star, either a miracle or a combination of bright stars or a comet. These men may have been Jewish proselytes and may have known of the Messianic hope, for even Vergil had caught a vision of it. The whole world was on tiptoe of expectancy for something. Moulton (Journal of Theological Studies, 1902, p. 524) "refers to the Magian belief that a star could be the fravashi, the counterpart or angel (cf. Matthew 18:10 ) of a great man" (McNeile). They came to worship the newly born king of the Jews. Seneca (Epistle 58) tells of Magians who came to Athens with sacrifices to Plato after his death. They had their own way of concluding that the star which they had seen pointed to the birth of this Messianic king. Cicero (De Divin. i. 47) "refers to the constellation from which, on the birthnight of Alexander, Magians foretold that the destroyer of Asia was born" (McNeile). Alford is positive that no miracle is intended by the report of the Magi or by Matthew in his narrative. But one must be allowed to say that the birth of Jesus, if really God's only Son who has become Incarnate, is the greatest of all miracles. Even the methods of astrologers need not disturb those who are sure of this fact.