Sirach 38 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Concerning Physicians and Health
38 Honor the physician with the honor due him, according to your need of him,
for the Lord created him;
2 for healing comes from the Most High,
and he will receive a gift from the king.
3 The skill of the physician lifts up his head,
and in the presence of great men he is admired.
4 The Lord created medicines from the earth,
and a sensible man will not despise them.
5 Was not water made sweet with a tree
in order that his power might be known?
6 And he gave skill to men
that he might be glorified in his marvelous works.
7 By them he heals and takes away pain;
8 the pharmacist makes of them a compound.
His works will never be finished;
and from him health is upon the face of the earth.
9 My son, when you are sick do not be negligent,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
10 Give up your faults and direct your hands aright,
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
11 Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of fine flour,
and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford.
12 And give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
let him not leave you, for there is need of him.
13 There is a time when success lies in the hands of physicians,
14 for they too will pray to the Lord
that he should grant them success in diagnosis
and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.
15 He who sins before his Maker,
may he fall into the care of a physician.
On Mourning for the Dead
16 My son, let your tears fall for the dead,
and as one who is suffering grievously begin the lament.
Lay out his body with the honor due him,
and do not neglect his burial.
17 Let your weeping be bitter and your wailing fervent;
observe the mourning according to his merit,
for one day, or two, to avoid criticism;
then be comforted for your sorrow.
18 For sorrow results in death,
and sorrow of heart saps one’s strength.
19 In calamity sorrow continues,
and the life of the poor man weighs down his heart.
20 Do not give your heart to sorrow;
drive it away, remembering the end of life.
21 Do not forget, there is no coming back;
you do the dead no good, and you injure yourself.
22 “Remember my doom, for yours is like it:
yesterday it was mine, and today it is yours.”
23 When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance cease,
and be comforted for him when his spirit has departed.
Trades and Crafts
24 The wisdom of the scribe depends on the opportunity of leisure;
and he who has little business may become wise.
25 How can he become wise who handles the plow,
and who glories in the shaft of a goad,
who drives oxen and is occupied with their work,
and whose talk is about bulls?
26 He sets his heart on plowing furrows,
and he is careful about fodder for the heifers.
27 So too is every craftsman and master workman
who labors by night as well as by day;
those who cut the signets of seals,
each is diligent in making a great variety;
he sets his heart on painting a lifelike image,
and he is careful to finish his work.
28 So too is the smith sitting by the anvil,
intent upon his handiwork in iron;
the breath of the fire melts his flesh,
and he wastes away in the heat of the furnace;
he inclines his ear to the sound of the hammer,
and his eyes are on the pattern of the object.
He sets his heart on finishing his handiwork,
and he is careful to complete its decoration.
29 So too is the potter sitting at his work
and turning the wheel with his feet;
he is always deeply concerned over his work,
and all his output is by number.
30 He moulds the clay with his arm
and makes it pliable with his feet;
he sets his heart to finish the glazing,
and he is careful to clean the furnace.
31 All these rely upon their hands,
and each is skilful in his own work.
32 Without them a city cannot be established,
and men can neither sojourn nor live there.
33 Yet they are not sought out for the council of the people,
nor do they attain eminence in the public assembly.
They do not sit in the judge’s seat,
nor do they understand the sentence of judgment;
they cannot expound discipline or judgment,
and they are not found using proverbs.
34 But they keep stable the fabric of the world,
and their prayer is in the practice of their trade.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.