The star which led the Magi or Wise Men to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus (Matt. 2: 1–12). In so far as the story has any basis in historical fact, the ‘star’ is more likely to have been a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in 7 CE, which could have alerted astrologers (‘magi’ has this meaning in Greek) to an important event. It is, however, strange that the Magi should only have travelled under the stars by night over such country; if they were indeed being led, it is odd that they needed to ask the way at the court of King Herod (Matt. 2: 2). It is better to regard Matthew's narrative as a midrash based on the reference to a star in Num. 24: 17 and to the coming of Gentiles to Jerusalem in Isa. 60: 3.

In that case the story is an expression of the universal salvation offered by Christ, proclaimed also at the end of the gospel (Matt. 28: 19). It could also be Matthew's way of showing that the superstitious arts of astrologers yield to the truth and rationality of Christianity, which Luke has demonstrated by his account of the burning of magical books by converts at Ephesus (Acts 19: 19).