The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 38:1–39


Honor the physician because of necessity, and because the Most High created him.

Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him.

For all healing is from God, and so he will receive gifts from the King.

For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king.

The expertise of the physician will lift up his head, and in the sight of great men, he will be praised.

The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.

The Most High has created medicines from the earth, and a prudent man will not abhor them.

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.

Was not bitter water made sweet with wood?

Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known?

The benefits of these things is recognized by men, and the Most High has given this knowledge to men, so that he may be honored in his wonders.

And he hath given men skill, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works.

By these things, he will cure or mitigate their suffering, and the pharmacist will make soothing ointments, and he will form healing medicines, and there will be no end to his works.

With such doth he heal men, and taketh away their pains.

For the peace of God is upon the surface of the earth.

Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth,

Son, in your infirmity, you should not neglect yourself, but pray to the Lord, and he will cure you.

My son, in thy sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole.

10  Turn away from sin, and direct your hands, and cleanse your heart from every offense.

10  Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness.

11  Give a sweet offering, and a memorial of fine flour, and fatten your oblation, but also give a place to the physician.

11  Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour; and make a fat offering, as not being.

12  For the Lord created him. And so, do not let him depart from you, for his works are necessary.

12  Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him.

13  For there is a time when you may fall into their hands.

13  There is a time when in their hands there is good success.

14  Truly, they will beseech the Lord, so that he may direct their treatments and cures, for the sake of their way of life.

14  For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that, which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.

15  He who sins in the sight of the One who made him will fall into the hands of the physician.

15  He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hand of the physician.

16  Son, shed tears over the dead, and begin to weep, as if you had suffered dreadfully. And according to judgment, cover his body, and you should not neglect his burial.

16  My son, let tears fall down over the dead, and begin to lament, as if thou hadst suffered great harm thyself; and then cover his body according to the custom, and neglect not his burial.

17  And though you will sink down into bitterness, bear his mourning for one day, and then be consoled in your sadness.

17  Weep bitterly, and make great moan, and use lamentation, as he is worthy, and that a day or two, lest thou be evil spoken of: and then comfort thyself for thy heaviness.


18  And carry out his mourning, according to his merit, for one or two days because of this loss.


19  Yet sadness hastens death and overwhelms strength, and the sorrow of the heart bows down the neck.

Sir38:18  For of heaviness cometh death, and the heaviness of the heart breaketh strength.

20  When one is taken away, sorrow remains. But the resources of a destitute man is found in his heart.

Sir38:19  In affliction also sorrow remaineth: and the life of the poor is the curse of the heart.

21  You should not give your heart over to sadness, but push it away from you. And remember the very end.

Sir38:20  Take no heaviness to heart: drive it away, and member the last end.

22  Do not be willing to forget this; for there is no turning back. Otherwise, it will not benefit you, and you will cause great harm to yourself.

Sir38:21  Forget it not, for there is no turning again: thou shalt not do him good, but hurt thyself.

23  Call to mind my judgment. For so shall it be for you also. Yesterday is mine, and today is yours.

Sir38:22  Remember my judgement: for thine also shall be so; yesterday for me, and to day for thee.

24  When the deceased is at rest, let his memory rest also. And console him at the departure of his spirit.

Sir38:23  When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest; and be comforted for him, when his Spirit is departed from him.

25  The wisdom of a scribe is found in his time of leisure. So whoever has less to do will gain wisdom.

Sir38:24  The wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure: and he that hath little business shall become wise.

26  With what wisdom will someone be filled who holds the plow, and who boasts of the cattle prod that drives the oxen forward, and who is occupied in these labors, and whose only conversation is about the offspring of bulls?

Sir38:25  How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth oxen, and is occupied in their labours, and whose talk is of bullocks?

27  He will give his mind over to the plowing of furrows, and his vigilance to the fattening of the cows.

Sir38:26  He giveth his mind to make furrows; and is diligent to give the kine fodder.

28  Similarly, every craftsman and artisan, who crafts in the night as well as in the day, who sculpts graven seals, and who, by his diligence, varies the image, will give his mind over to the likeness of the image. And he will complete the work by his vigilance.

Sir38:27  So every carpenter and workmaster, that laboureth night and day: and they that cut and grave seals, and are diligent to make great variety, and give themselves to counterfeit imagery, and watch to finish a work

29  The blacksmith, sitting by his anvil and considering a work of iron, is similar. The steam from the fire singes his flesh, and he struggles against the heat of the furnace.

Sir38:28  The smith also sitting by the anvil, and considering the iron work, the vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with the heat of the furnace: the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears, and his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh; he setteth his mind to finish his work, and watcheth to polish it perfectly


30  The voice of the hammer is ever in his ears, and his eye is upon the pattern of the ironwork.

31  He gives his heart to the completion of his work, and his vigilance adorns it to perfection.


32  The potter, sitting at his work and turning the wheel with his feet, is similar. He has settled into a continual concern for his work, and there is a rhythm in all that he does.

Sir38:29  So doth the potter sitting at his work, and turning the wheel about with his feet, who is alway carefully set at his work, and maketh all his work by number;

33  He forms the clay with his arm, and he bends his strength over his feet.

Sir38:30  He fashioneth the clay with his arm, and boweth down his strength before his feet; he applieth himself to lead it over; and he is diligent to make clean the furnace


34  He will give his heart over to the completion of the glazing, and his vigilance to the cleansing of the furnace.


35  All these persons trust in their own hands, and each one is wise in his own art.

Sir38:31  All these trust to their hands: and every one is wise in his work.

36  Without these persons, a city is not built.

Sir38:32  Without these cannot a city be inhabited: and they shall not dwell where they will, nor go up and down


37  But they will neither inhabit nor walk around in the city. And they will not go across to the church.


38  They will not sit upon the seats of judges, and they will not understand a decree of judgment. And they will not make clear discipline and judgment, and they will not be found to understand parables.

Sir38:33  They shall not be sought for in publick counsel, nor sit high in the congregation: they shall not sit on the judges’ seat, nor understand the sentence of judgement: they cannot declare justice and judgement; and they shall not be found where parables are spoken.

39  But they will strengthen the state of the world, and their prayer will be in their artistic works, applying their soul, and searching the law of the Most High.

Sir38:34  But they will maintain the state of the world, and all their desire is in the work of their craft.