In addition to the uses of "wise" specified in the article WISDOM, the adjective is employed occasionally as the technical description of men who are adepts in magic, divination, etc. (e.g. in Genesis 41:8; Exodus 7:11; Esther 1:13; Daniel 2:27; 5:15). Naturally, however, in the ancient world the boundary between genuine knowledge and astrology, etc., was exceedingly vague, and it was never denied that real knowledge could be gained along lines that we know to be futile. So the initiation of Moses into all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22) or of Daniel into all the learning of the Chaldeans (Daniel 1:4) met with no disapproval. These great men could be trusted to avoid the moral and religious pitfalls of such pursuits. For the ordinary Israelites, however the uncompromising prohibition of idolatry closed the door definitely to all studies of this kind. See ASTROLOGY; DIVINATION, etc. And for the Wise-men of Matthew 2 see MAGI.
Burton Scott Easton
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