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Why are the wise men also called kings and shown on camels?

“The multitude of camels shall cover thee …; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and [frank]incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD” (Isa 60:6). Almost every image of the wise men shows them riding on camels (Joseph F. Kelly, The Origins of Christmas,37). Frankincense and myrrh could only be obtained from trees found in Ethiopia, Somalia, and southern Arabia where Sheba was located. Arab camel caravans brought frankincense and myrrh to Roman markets along the Incense Route that passes through or near Sheba. Some early Christians believed the wise men came from Arabia which is south and east of Jerusalem.

“Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness O thy rising. … and their kings shall minister unto thee” (Isa. 60:3, 10). These verses helped turn the wise men into kings (Kelly. 37–38).

In Genesis 26, Isaac, a type of Christ, met three pagan men who made a covenant with him because the LORD was with him. Origen, a third century Christian, said these three men symbolized the wise men that brought three gifts. (Kelly. 97)