Scriptures tell us that the magi gave Mary and Joseph gold, frankincense and myrrh as presents. Although we do not know the amount given to them, it might not have been just a symbolic amount (e.g. 100 grams), as the magi were, apparently, representative of kings, if not kings themselves. As such, they were wealthy (and are traditionally represented as wealthy).

Is there any Christian tradition or author (e.g. Church Fathers) arguing that Mary and Joseph became rich with these gifts? Perhaps arguing what they did with these gifts? For example, maybe donated to the Temple?

  • The usual explanation I've heard is that they probably used it soon after as they fled to Egypt. No UN refugee support of course.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 17 '18 at 22:09
  • It's very unbelievable that the magis travel around with such wealth to potentially make someone rich. Those are dangerous times.
    – pehkay
    Jan 17 '18 at 23:30
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    christianity.stackexchange.com/q/35462/23657. Related
    – Kris
    Feb 15 '18 at 1:56

Marc's answer and curiousdannii's comment are correct. I went to a study series where the flight into Egypt was made into an epic tragedy of escaping, being afraid, homeless and barely scraping by. Now, that's possible, but I would hope that God would be a bit more generous. So I told the group that the gold, frankincense and myrrh were enough to get the Holy Family to Alexandria, where there was a sizeable Jewish community, where they could be somewhat comfortable and to support them while Joseph did what he could. I was scolded for being so optimistic, so I never went back.


When Presenting Jesus to the temple, Mary and Joseph not being able to afford a lamb, made an offering of two turtle doves for their purification indicating that they were not rich but poor. What ever amount they did receive it was not to last more than a few months at most.

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    The usual interpretation of the chronologies is that the wise men probably only showed up when Jesus was up to 2 years old (because of the age in Herod's decree, and the note in Matt 2:11 saying they were living in a house). So unfortunately Mary and Joseph's wealth when Jesus was 8 days old can't tell us how much they were given by the magi at a later time.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 19 '18 at 6:27

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