In Matthew 2:11,

"On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh."

The word for the 'treasures' that they opened is

θησαυροὺς (thēsaurous) Strong's 2344: A store-house for precious things; hence: a treasure, a store. From tithemi; a deposit, i.e. Wealth.

Is there anything we can infer from this word about the value of the gifts given to the new King they had come to worship?

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    We are not told.
    – Dottard
    Jun 4, 2021 at 23:26
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    We are not told, in any event it was a vast amount. There are many indicators surrounding the gifts that they were of immense value, certainly more than one week or one month’s worth of a commoner’s income. If you consider a Saudi Prince on his birth day today receives gifts in the order of millions of dollars. Without question the mages traveling with a small army did not traverse such distance in search of a prophesied king only to make some symbolic gestures, a single gold coin, a thimble of myrrh and of frankincense. They opened up their treasure (chests, coffers, receptacles) Jun 5, 2021 at 0:34
  • @NihilSineDeo Right, and presumably they weren't keeping much extra in those chests, coffers, receptacles for the journey home? Jun 5, 2021 at 1:00
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    @OneGodtheFather they set out to find the king, they had obviously planned how much they wanted to gift him from the beginning. Given it was in multiple θησαυρους we can deduce it was more than a little bit of each, which they could have prepared to all fit in one small ornate container if it were a small amount Jun 5, 2021 at 1:15
  • And no matter how much Jesus received, in comparison to what he gave up to take on a human body, it was poverty by contrast, especially since it ALL has an expiration date. But His kingdom is eternal. Jun 5, 2021 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


The word θησαυροὺς, translated as "treasures," is both plural and means "wealth." If that is not sufficient attestation to the gifts' value, other evidences, both cultural and circumstantial, can help to affirm this.

The Gifts Themselves Were Precious

Gold ranks among the most costly of precious things. It is often used as coin, for payment of debt and for accumulation of wealth. Myrrh is mentioned in only one other place in the New Testament--the occasion of the burial of Jesus (see John 19:39-40), when the wealthy Nicodemus brought it for Jesus' body. Frankincense, along with gold, is mentioned in a list of precious things in Revelation 18:12-13.

The Gifts Supported the Sojourn in Egypt

For quite awhile, perhaps several years, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were forced to stay in Egypt until Herod had died and they were no longer threatened by him. During this time he would have had little opportunity for gainful employment. As a carpenter, Joseph's tools of the trade were all in his shop back home.

Royal Gifts

The gifts were from noble guests and given to a royal recipient. The givers had come both to honor and to worship the One to whom they gave their gifts, and being wealthy themselves, they would most certainly have given of their best. While the wisemen were philosophers, not kings as many often suppose, they were of noble birth and of the wealthy class. (Think of Daniel in Babylon--also a wiseman.) Their gifts would have been representative of their status.

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