Sirach chapter 38

The author shares wisdom for seeking bodily healing. The greatness of the the scribe and the skilled craftsman.



The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches





VERSE 1. Honor a physician according to your need of him with the honors due to him: For truly the Lord has created him.

Honor a physician. Most cultures honor their medical doctors quite highly. However, not all medical doctors are worthy of the great honor people give them.


VERSE 2. For from the Most High comes healing; And from the king he shall receive a gift.

from the Most High comes healing. Healing comes from the Most High God.


VERSE 3. The skill of the physician shall lift up his head; And in the sight of great men he shall be admired.


VERSE 4. The Lord created medicines out of the earth; And a prudent man will have no disgust at them.

NAB translation. God made the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect.

healing herbs. Herbal remedies are God-given. Using them is wise. In our day, many people are turning to herbs to cure their illnesses. They are relying on a God-given solution that people have used for all of biblical history.


VERSE 5. Was not water made sweet with wood, That the virtue thereof might be known?


VERSE 6. And he gave men skill, That they might be glorified in his marvelous works.


VERSE 7. With them does he heal a man, And takes away his pain.


VERSE 8. With these will the apothecary make a confection; And his works shall not be brought to an end; And from him is peace upon the face of the earth.

the apothecary. An apothecary is also known as a pharmacist.

make a confection. An apothecary prepares and sells medicines and drugs.


VERSE 9. My son, in your sickness be not negligent; But pray to the Lord, and he shall heal you.


VERSE 10. Put away wrong doing, and order your hands aright, And cleanse your heart from all manner of sin.


VERSE 11. Give a sweet savor, and a memorial of fine flour; And make fat your offering, as one that is not.


VERSE 12. Then give place to the physician, for truly the Lord has created him; And let him not go from you, for you have need of him.

give place to the physician. That is, give the doctor his or her place.


VERSE 13. There is a time when in their very hands is the issue for good.


VERSE 14. For they also shall beseech the Lord, That he may prosper them in giving relief and in healing for the maintenance of life.

in giving relief. A doctor needs to be able to make the correct diagnosis.

and in healing. A doctor needs to prescribe the correct treatment.


VERSE 15. He that sins before his Maker, Let him fall into the hands of the physician.


VERSE 16. My son, let your tears fall over the dead, And as one that suffers grievously begin lamentation; And wind up his body according to his due, And neglect not his burial.


VERSE 17. Make bitter weeping, and make passionate wailing, And let your mourning be according to his desert, For one day or two, lest you be evil spoken of: And so be comforted for your sorrow.


VERSE 18. For of sorrow comes death, And sorrow of heart will bow down the strength.


VERSE 19. In calamity sorrow also remains: And the poor man’s life is † grievous to the heart.


VERSE 20. Don’t give your heart to sorrow. Put it away, remembering the last end.


VERSE 21. Don’t forget it, for there is no returning again: Him you shall not profit, and you will hurt yourself.


VERSE 22. Remember the sentence upon him; for so also shall your be; Yesterday for me, and today for you.


VERSE 23. When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest; And be comforted for him, when his spirit departs from him.




VERSE 24. The wisdom of the scribe comes by opportunity of leisure; And he that has little business shall become wise.

by opportunity of leisure. If you can be freed from the toil of physical labor, then you will have the freedom for intellectual pursuits.


VERSE 25. How shall he become wise that holds the plow, That glories in the shaft of the goad, That drives oxen, and is occupied in their labors, And whose discourse is of the stock of bulls?


VERSE 26. He will set his heart upon turning his furrows; And his wakefulness is to give his heifers their fodder.


VERSE 27. So is every craftsman and workmaster, That passes his time by night as by day; They that cut gravings of signets, And his diligence is to make great variety; He will set his heart to preserve likeness in his portraiture, And will be wakeful to finish his work.

craftsman and workmaster. Or “engraver and designer.”


VERSE 28. So is the smith sitting by the anvil, And considering the unwrought iron: The vapor of the fire will waste his flesh; And in the heat of the furnace he will wrestle with his work: The noise of the hammer will § be ever in his ear, And his eyes are upon the pattern of the vessel; He will set his heart upon perfecting his works, And And he will be wakeful to adorn them perfectly.

the smith. Or blacksmith.


VERSE 29. So is the potter sitting at his work, And turning the wheel about with his feet, Who is always anxiously set at his work, And all his handiwork is by number;


VERSE 30. He will fashion the clay with his arm, And will bend its strength in front of his feet; He will apply his heart to finish the glazing; And he will be wakeful to make clean the furnace.


VERSE 31. All these put their trust in their hands; And each becomes wise in his own work.


VERSE 32. Without these shall not a city be inhabited, And men shall not sojourn nor walk up and down therein.


VERSE 33. They shall not be sought for in the council of the people, And in the assembly they shall not mount on high; They shall not sit on the seat of the judge, And they shall not understand the covenant of judgement: Neither shall they declare instruction and judgement; And where parables are they shall not be found.


VERSE 34. But they will maintain the fabric of the world; And in the handiwork of their craft is their prayer.

they will maintain the fabric of the world. They create the products we rely on every day.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.