Value of skilled workers (Sir 38:31-38:34)

“All these workers rely

On their hands.

All are skilful

In their own work.

Without them,

No city can be inhabited.

Wherever they live,

They will not go hungry.

Yet they are not sought out

For the council of the people.

They do not attain eminence

In the public assembly.

They do not sit

In the judge’s seat.

They do understand

The decisions of the courts.

They cannot expound discipline.

They cannot expound judgment.

They are not found using proverbs.

They are not found among the rulers.

But they maintain

The fabric of the world.

Their concern is

For the exercise of their trade.

Their prayer is

In the practice of their trade.”

Sirach emphasizes the importance of skilled manual workers. No inhabitable city can exist without them, so that they will never go hungry. However, they do not serve in the city council or in public assemblies. They are not judges, since they do not understand the decisions of the courts, their discipline, or their judgments. They are never found among the rulers or using proverbs. Yet they maintain the fabric of society. Their concern and prayer is found in the exercise of their skilled manual trades.