You all know the story. Three wise men follow the star to Bethlehem where they find the baby Jesus, give him gifts, and everything is great. What reason do we have for believing they’re wise men, though? Just the fact that they’re called ‘wise’? I could call myself a wise man, but the evidence is really in my actions.
Right now I’m going to present damning evidence that they’re actually just a bunch of idiots, as found in the historically-accurate song Do You Hear What I Hear by the historian-poet Noël Regney.
We start out, firstly, with the night wind talking to a little lamb. We’ll just ignore for now (and forever) that the wind is talking to a lamb. Then the lamb is talking to the shepherd boy. Alright, lambs can’t talk, but let’s ignore that too. Is this the Greatest Story Ever Told or a Pixar movie?
After that, we get to the good stuff. At last,
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know?
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
You don’t expect much from him, he’s a shepherd boy just barely out of the last century B.C. He’s uneducated. He can’t read, can’t write. How he has access to a king is a mystery, because I’m pretty sure they would have just executed him as soon as he entered the palace. Herod was killing a lot of people around that time anyway, what’s one more shepherd boy? So when he hears about somebody great, he wants to give them silver and gold because that’s what he wants since it’ll lift him out of his terrible life of paycheck-to-paycheck sheep-based living.
The wise men though, they hear about it from the king (the song doesn’t say, but we can make the connections ourself) and they decide, hey, that guy’s got a good idea with the gold, but the silver? Let’s just make that some frankincense, so he’ll smell good, and myrrh, so he’ll have nice smooth skin. With people bringing him gifts like that it’s amazing he survived long enough to die for our sins.
Really, guys? “A child shivers in the cold, let us bring him gold, perfume, and oil”? How about bring him some hay to sit in? Maybe a blanket to cover up with? Really, the gold is just going to make him colder. The frankincense is okay, I guess he could smell it while he’s dying of hypothermia after being immersed in the myrrh. With friends like these, it’s lucky for us (and him too, I suppose) that he managed to survive long enough to die for our sins.