Sickness (Sir 38:9-38:15)

“My child!

When you are ill,

Do not delay!

But pray to the Lord!

He will heal you.

Give up your faults!

Direct your hands rightly!

Cleanse your heart

From all sin!

Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice!

Offer a memorial portion

Of choice flour!

Pour oil on your offering,

As much as you can afford.

Then give the physician his place.

The Lord has created him.

Do not let him leave you!

You need him.

There may come a time

When recovery lies

In the hands of this physician.

They too pray to the Lord.

Thus the Lord may grant him

Success in his diagnosis.

Thus he may grant him

Success in healing.

This is done

For the sake of preserving life.

He who sins

Against his Maker,

Will be defiant

Toward his physician.”

Sirach explains the connection between sickness and sin. However, the new twist is that you must do more than simply praying for forgiveness. You must also see a physician. Although the first thing that you do when you are sick is pray to the Lord, but that is not sufficient. You should confess your sins and cleanse your heart. You should also make a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord with choice flour and as much oil as you can. After that, you then turn to a physician who was created by the Lord. Do not let the physician leave you because your recovery will depend on him. He too prays for a successful diagnosis of your illness. He heals for the sake of preserving life. The physician takes the place of your maker God, since if you have sinned, you will be defiant to this physician also. Here we see the need for human remediation to help in sickness instead of a total reliance on God.

 

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Priests (Sir 7:29-7:31)

“With all your soul

Fear the Lord!

Revere his priests!

With all your might,

Love your Maker!

Do not neglect his ministers!

Fear the Lord!

Honor the priest!

Give him his portion,

As you have been commanded.

Give him

The first fruits,

The guilt offering,

The gift of the shoulders,

The sacrifice of sanctification,

The first fruits of the holy things.”

Once again, Sirach is absolute in his demands about the Israelite Levitical priests.   Listening to them was like listening to God. Obviously, you were to fear the Lord and love your Maker. You also were to revere God’s priests. Thus you should not neglect God’s ministers. They should have their portion as commanded by the law. In case there was any confusion, he specifically listed what the priests were to get, the first fruits, the guilt offerings, the shoulders, the sanctification sacrifice, and the first fruits of the holy things. I am not sure about the shoulders, but the others were common in the Torah.