Sirach 38 Good News Translation (GNT)
Sickness and Medicine
38 Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do.[a] 2 Their skill came from the Most High, and kings reward them for it. 3 Their knowledge gives them a position of importance, and powerful people hold them in high regard.
4 The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. 5 Didn't a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord's power[b] might be known? 6 He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. 7-8 The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world.
9 My child, when you get sick, don't ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. 10 Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. 11 Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford.[c] 12 Then call the doctor—for the Lord created him—and keep him at your side; you need him. 13 There are times when you have to depend on his skill. 14 The doctor's prayer is that the Lord will make him able to ease his patients' pain and make them well again. 15 As for the person who sins against his Creator, he deserves to be sick.
Mourning for the Dead
16 My child, when someone dies, you should mourn. Weep and wail to show how deeply you feel the loss. Prepare the body in the proper way, and be present at the burial. 17 Weep bitterly and passionately; observe the proper period of mourning for the person. Mourn for a whole day or maybe two, to keep people from talking, but then pull yourself together and reconcile yourself to the loss. 18 Grief can undermine your health and even lead to your own death. 19 Grief lingers on after the death of a loved one, but it is not wise to let it lead you into poverty.
20 Don't lose yourself in sorrow; drive it away.[d] Remember that we must all die sometime. 21 There is no way to bring the dead person back. All your sorrow does him no good, and it hurts you. Don't forget that. 22 You will die, just as he did. Today it was his turn; tomorrow it will be yours. 23 When the dead have been laid to rest, let the memory of them fade. Once they are gone, take courage.
Scholarship and Other Occupations
24 Scholars must have time to study if they are going to be wise; they must be relieved of other responsibilities. 25 How can a farm hand gain knowledge, when his only ambition is to drive the oxen and make them work, when all he knows to talk about is livestock? 26 He takes great pains to plow a straight furrow and will work far into the night to feed the animals.
27 It is the same with the artist and the craftsman, who work night and day engraving precious stones, carefully working out new designs. They take great pains to produce a lifelike image, and will work far into the night to finish the work.
28 It is the same with the blacksmith at his anvil, planning what he will make from a piece of iron. The heat from the fire sears his skin as he sweats away at the forge. The clanging of the hammer deafens him[e] as he carefully watches the object he is working take shape. He takes great pains to complete his task, and will work far into the night to bring it to perfection.
29 It is the same with the potter, sitting at his wheel and turning it with his feet, always concentrating on his work, concerned with how many objects he can produce. 30 He works the clay with his feet until he can shape it with his hands; then he takes great pains to glaze it properly, and will work far into the night to clean out the kiln.
31 All of these people are skilled with their hands, each of them an expert at his own craft. 32 Without such people there could be no cities; no one would live or visit where these services were not available. 33 These people are not sought out to serve on the public councils, and they never attain positions of great importance. They do not serve as judges, and they do not understand legal matters. They have no education and are not known for their wisdom. You never hear them quoting proverbs. 34 But the work they do holds this world together. When they do their work, it is the same as offering prayer.[f]
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