I love this.
King Nebuchadnezzar assigned the prophet Daniel to the high office of “chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners” (Dan. 5:11). In other words, Daniel was appointed Chief of the Magi.
Why is this important?
As Christmas approaches, we will see images and hear stories of the “Wise Men,” (or, as they are often called, Magi), traveling from the East, following a star in order to pay homage to Jesus Christ, the newborn king. Many scholars believe that these Magi were Persians from Babylon....
How did Babylonians know about Jewish prophecy at all, and what led them to believe that this particular star was the one that would lead them to a great, newborn king? ...
This is where the prophet Daniel comes in. Not only was Daniel chief of the Magi, but his prophecies became known throughout the ancient Near East. Even the Romans were aware of his prophecies of a coming king of Israel.
The Magi of the first century would have most certainly studied the writing of Daniel and possibly other Jewish writings Daniel likely referenced, such as the book of Isaiah. This connection between Daniel and the Magi may help to explain why almost six hundred years later, the Magi in question expected a Jewish king to arrive in Judea near the end of the first century B.C. It is likely that the Magi followed the star based on their study of the prophet Daniel’s writings.
Read the rest of this post by Hugh Whelchel here for more links to background information and an application of this history to the work you’re doing today.