When Herod was king of Judea, there were two great empires that disputed the ownership of his land. On the one side were the Romans who had conquered it some years earlier. On the other were the Persians who had been there long before the Romans.
Hundreds of years earlier (586 BC) Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians. Through a number of miraculous events that you can read about in the Book of Daniel, some Jewish exiles had risen to a place of great prominence in that empire. It wasn’t long before the Medes & Persians conquered the Babylonians. Remarkably, Daniel and his friends kept their positions of power through the transition.
Daniel was probably the first of the Magi, the kingmakers of the Persian Empire. There is some speculation here but it would appear that he knew what star (or events in the heavens) to watch out for and told his successors. You can read all about the Star of Bethlehem and the astonishing (and verifiable) astronomical events that surround the birth of Jesus at this site.
When the Magi of Herod’s day saw the signs they headed off to Jerusalem following the star. There were probably a lot more than three of them. This was the Persian empire setting off a Cuban missile crisis type of event with their arch enemies the Romans. They were laying claim to the land of Judah. Herod and all Jerusalem were disturbed with bloody results.
A King had been born. Wise men sought him. They still do.
Matthew 1: 1-18