How long the virgin Mary and her holy Child had been there is not expressed; those that think these wise men came within six weeks or two months, judge that Joseph and Mary came thither from Jerusalem after that he had been there offered, to the Lord, of which you read Luk_2:22; but they are forced, to uphold this, to interpret Luk_2:39, which saith that after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth, of a considerable time after they had performed these things, which seemeth something hard and needless, especially considering Nazareth was Joseph’s own city, i.e. the city where his fixed habitation was. It is most probable that they, after so long absence, went right home, and if the wise men (which is said) found them in Bethlehem, they were gone thither again to visit some relations.
They saw the young child with Mary his mother; under what other circumstances the Scripture saith not, but questionless they were very poor and mean, which is a very strong inducement to us to believe that they had a spiritual Divine revelation, that this was a King whose kingdom was not of this world, the true Messiah and Saviour of the world; they would hardly else have treated a poor infant, in an ordinary house and no more attended, at the rate they did, for the text saith they
fell down and worshipped him; a usual homage indeed which the Eastern nations paid to princes, but they used then to have better evidences of their royal state and dignity than these wise men seemed to have had, if they had not, besides the star, a Divine revelation what manner of King this was to be. We may therefore rather judge that their revelation extended not only to the birth of a King, but of such a King as indeed he was, the eternal Son of God clothed with human flesh; and that their falling down and worshipping him is to be understood of a Divine worship they paid to him, as the Saviour of the world: and so they were the first fruits of the Gentiles, owning and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that their following offerings to him were upon that account, for opening
their treasures, they presented to him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The guesses of those who think that they offered him gold as to a King, frankincense as a High Priest, and myrrh to sweeten the place where he was, I take to be but the product of luxuriant fancies. It is most certain that those Eastern people seldom came to their princes without some presents, and that their presents were usually of the most choice things their country afforded. This is plain from Gen_43:11; and if what naturalists tell us be true, that myrrh was only to be found in Arabia, and frankincense in Sabea, (a part of Arabia) and that country also had gold, which it is plain that it had from 2Ch_9:14, it makes a very probable argument, that these wise men came from Arabia, which was full of men that were astrologers. The providence of God was wonderfully seen in these presents, by them providing for the sustenance of Joseph, and Mary, and Jesus in that exile which they were soon after to endure. For other allegorical and mystical significations of these presents, they are but conjectures, and the exuberances of men’s fancies.