The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Deny not a physician his due for thy need’s sake; his task is of divine appointment,
since from God all healing comes, and kings themselves must needs bring gifts to him.
High rank his skill gives him; of great men he is the honoured guest.
Medicines the most High has made for us out of earth’s bounty, and shall prudence shrink from the use of them?
Were not the waters of Mara made wholesome by the touch of wood?✻
Well for us men, that the secret virtue of such remedies has been revealed; skill the most High would impart to us, and for his marvels win renown.
Thus it is that the physician cures our pain, and the apothecary makes, not only perfumes to charm the sense, but unguents remedial; so inexhaustible is God’s creation,
such health comes of his gift, all the world over.
Son, when thou fallest sick, do not neglect thy own needs; pray to the Lord, and thou shalt win recovery.
Leave off thy sinning, thy life amend, purge thee of all thy guilt.
With frankincense and rich oil make bloodless offering of meal; and so leave the physician to do his work.
His task is of divine appointment, and thou hast need of him; let him be ever at thy side.
Needs must, at times, to physicians thou shouldst have recourse;
and doubt not they will make intercession with the Lord, that they may find a way to bring thee ease and remedy, by their often visiting thee.
Offend thou thy maker by wrong-doing, much recourse thou shalt have to physicians.
When a man dies, let thy tears flow, and set up a great lamenting, as for thy grievous loss; shroud him according to his quality, and grudge him no pomp of funeral;
then, to be rid of gossip, bemoan him bitterly for a day’s space, ere thou wilt be comforted in thy sorrow;
one day or two, as his worth claims, bemoan him; no need to win thyself an ill name.
But grief will but hasten thy own death, will be the grave of thy own strength; where heart goes sad, back goes bowed.
So long as thou withdrawest thyself, sad thy heart will be; and what patrimony but heart’s mirth is left to the poor?
Why then, do not give thyself over to regrets; put them away from thee, and bethink thee rather of thy own end.
Do not fancy that the dead can return; by torturing thyself thou canst nothing avail him.
Remember, he tells thee, this doom of mine; such shall thine be; mine yesterday, thine to-day.
Let his memory rest, as he rests, in death; enough for thee that thou shouldst comfort him in the hour when his spirit leaves him.✻
The wisdom of a learned man is the fruit of leisure; he must starve himself of doing if he is to come by it.
How shall he drink full draughts of wisdom that must guide the plough, that walks proud as any spearman while he goads on his team, all his life taken up with their labours, all his talk of oxen?
His mind all set on a straight furrow, the feeding of his cows an anxiety to deny him sleep?
So it is with every workman and master-workman, that must turn night into day. Here is one that cuts graven seals; how he busies himself with devising some new pattern! How the model he works from claims his attention, while he sits late over his craft!
Here is blacksmith sitting by his anvil, intent upon his iron-work, cheeks shrivelled with the smoke, as he battles with the heat of the furnace,
ears ringing again with the hammer’s clattering, eyes fixed on the design he imitates.
All his heart is in the finishing of his task, all his waking thoughts go to the perfect achieving of it.
Here is potter at work, treadles flying, anxious continually over the play of his hands, over the rhythm of his craftsmanship;
arms straining at the stiff clay, feet matching its strength with theirs.✻
To finish off the glaze is his nearest concern, and long he must wake to keep his furnace clean.
All these look to their own hands for a living, skilful each in his own craft;
and without them, there is no building up a commonwealth.
For them no travels abroad, no journeyings from home; they will not pass beyond their bounds to swell the assembly,✻
or to sit in the judgement-seat. Not theirs to understand the law’s awards, not theirs to impart learning or to give judgement; they will not be known for uttering wise sayings.
Theirs it is to support this unchanging world of God’s creation; they ply their craft and ask for nothing better; … lending themselves freely and making their study in the law of the most High.✻
The Holy Bible