Then Herod privily called the wise men (tote Hhrwidh laqrai kalesa tou magou). He had manifestly not told members of the Sanhedrin why he was concerned about the Messiah. So he conceals his motives to the Magi. And yet he "learned of them carefully" (ekribwsen), "learned exactly" or "accurately." He was anxious to see if the Jewish prophecy of the birthplace of the Messiah agreed with the indications of the star to the Magi. He kept to himself his purpose. The time of the appearing star (ton cronon tou painomenou astero) is not "the time when the star appeared," but the age of the star's appearance.