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Ecclesiasticus / Sirach - Chapter 38

1 Treat the doctor with the honour that is his due, in consideration of his services; for he too has been created by the Lord.

2 Healing itself comes from the Most High, like a gift received from a king.

3 The doctor's learning keeps his head high, and the great regard him with awe.

4 The Lord has brought forth medicinal herbs from the ground, and no one sensible will despise them.

5 Did not a piece of wood once sweeten the water, thus giving proof of its power?

6 He has also given some people knowledge, so that they may draw credit from his mighty works.

7 He uses these for healing and relieving pain; the druggist makes up a mixture from them.

8 Thus, there is no end to his activities; thanks to him, well-being exists throughout the world.

9 My child, when you are ill, do not rebel, but pray to the Lord and he will heal you.

10 Renounce your faults, keep your hands unsoiled, and cleanse your heart from all sin.

11 Offer incense and a memorial of fine flour, make as rich an offering as you can afford.

12 Then let the doctor take over -- the Lord created him too -- do not let him leave you, for you need him.

13 There are times when good health depends on doctors.

14 For they, in their turn, will pray the Lord to grant them the grace to relieve and to heal, and so prolong your life.

15 Whoever sins in the eyes of his Maker, let such a one come under the care of the doctor!

16 My child, shed tears over the dead, lament for the dead to show your sorrow, then bury the body with due ceremony and do not fail to honour the grave.

17 Weep bitterly, beat your breast, observe the mourning the dead deserves for a day or two, to avoid censorious comment, and then be comforted in your sorrow;

18 for grief can lead to death, a grief-stricken heart loses all energy.

19 In affliction sorrow persists, a life of grief is hard to bear.

20 Do not abandon your heart to grief, drive it away, bear your own end in mind.

21 Do not forget, there is no coming back; you cannot help the dead, and you will harm yourself.

22 'Remember my doom, since it will be yours too; I yesterday, you today!'

23 Once the dead are laid to rest, let their memory rest, do not fret for them, once their spirit departs.

24 Leisure gives the scribe the chance to acquire wisdom; a man with few commitments can grow wise.

25 How can the ploughman become wise, whose sole ambition is to wield the goad, driving his oxen, engrossed in their work, his conversation limited to bullocks,

26 his thoughts absorbed in the furrows he traces and his long evenings spent in fattening heifers?

27 Similarly with all workmen and craftsmen, toiling day and night; those who engrave seals, for ever trying to think of a new design, concentrating on catching a good likeness and staying up late to get the work done.

28 Similarly with the blacksmith sitting by his anvil; he considers what to do with the pig-iron, the breath of the fire scorches his skin, as he contends with the heat of the furnace; the noise of the hammer deafens him, his eyes are fixed on the pattern; he concentrates on getting the job done well and stays up late to apply the finishing touches.

29 Similarly with the potter, sitting at his work, turning the wheel with his feet; constantly on the alert over his work, each flick of the finger premeditated;

30 he pummels the clay with his arm, and with his feet he kneads it; he concentrates on applying the glaze right and stays up late to clean the kiln.

31 All these people rely on their hands and each is skilled at his own craft.

32 A town could not be inhabited without them, there would be no settling, no travelling.

33 But you will not find them in the parliament, they do not hold high rank in the assembly. They do not sit on the judicial bench, and they do not meditate on the Law.

34 They are not remarkable for their culture or judgement, nor are they found frequenting the philosophers. They sustain the structure of the world, and their prayer is concerned with their trade.

Book of Ecclesiasticus / Sirach Chapters

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