Continuing my binge of posts:
“Wise men” only show up in Ex. 7:11 and 36:4. In 7:11 they’re Egyptians who are helping the magicians to do enchantments to make their staffs turn into serpents like Aaron’s. In 36:4 they’re Israelites who are apparently helping Bezalel and Aholiab and the other “wise hearted” artisans to turn the offerings of Israel into a house.
This is in contrast to the golden calf. In 32:4 the golden calf was made with an “engraving tool” which is the same root for the word “magician.” So not only was the Israelite sin some sort of imitation of Egyptian sorcery, the building of the tabernacle is true magic, the work of wise men in obedience to the Lord.
One other thought is how the “wise men” who came to see Jesus might have some correspondence to what’s going on in Exodus. The Magi bring offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Mt. 2:1-12). Gold is metal that covers everything in the Most Holy Place and the altar of incense. Frankincense is one of the key ingredients in the incense that was to be offered on the altar of incense, and the myrrh is one of the ingredients in the holy anointing oil. Not only was that oil for anointing the priests, but it was also put on all the furniture and utensils in the tabernacle. These wise men bring offerings for the building of the new tabernacle. And in particular, their offerings seem to be associated mostly with the supplies needed to construct the Most Holy Place. Jesus is the new tabernacle, the new Holy of Holies, and the new builder of the new house of God in himself.
Last thought while I’m on the magi: The wise men who come to worship Jesus are warned in dreams not to return to the wicked king Herod. These magi understand dreams and interpret them correctly. These are true Magi/true wise men. In the Old Testament that’s always the problem with wise men. Pharaoh has dreams that need interpreting and the wise men can’t do it. Only Joseph can. Nebuchadnezzar has dreams, but his wise men can’t help him. Only Daniel can.