Ben Sira 38:24-34

24 Scholars must have time to study if they are going to be wise; they must be relieved of other responsibilities.
25 How can a farm hand gain knowledge, when his only ambition is to drive the oxen and make them work, when all he knows to talk about is livestock?
26 He takes great pains to plow a straight furrow and will work far into the night to feed the animals.
27 It is the same with the artist and the craftsman, who work night and day engraving precious stones, carefully working out new designs. They take great pains to produce a lifelike image, and will work far into the night to finish the work.
28 It is the same with the blacksmith at his anvil, planning what he will make from a piece of iron. The heat from the fire sears his skin as he sweats away at the forge. The clanging of the hammer deafens him as he carefully watches the object he is working take shape. He takes great pains to complete his task, and will work far into the night to bring it to perfection.
29 It is the same with the potter, sitting at his wheel and turning it with his feet, always concentrating on his work, concerned with how many objects he can produce.
30 He works the clay with his feet until he can shape it with his hands; then he takes great pains to glaze it properly, and will work far into the night to clean out the kiln.
31 All of these people are skilled with their hands, each of them an expert at his own craft.
32 Without such people there could be no cities; no one would live or visit where these services were not available.
33 These people are not sought out to serve on the public councils, and they never attain positions of great importance. They do not serve as judges, and they do not understand legal matters. They have no education and are not known for their wisdom. You never hear them quoting proverbs.
34 But the work they do holds this world together. When they do their work, it is the same as offering prayer.

Ben Sira 38:24-34 In-Context

22 You will die, just as he did. Today it was his turn; tomorrow it will be yours.
23 When the dead have been laid to rest, let the memory of them fade. Once they are gone, take courage.
24 Scholars must have time to study if they are going to be wise; they must be relieved of other responsibilities.
25 How can a farm hand gain knowledge, when his only ambition is to drive the oxen and make them work, when all he knows to talk about is livestock?
26 He takes great pains to plow a straight furrow and will work far into the night to feed the animals.
27 It is the same with the artist and the craftsman, who work night and day engraving precious stones, carefully working out new designs. They take great pains to produce a lifelike image, and will work far into the night to finish the work.
28 It is the same with the blacksmith at his anvil, planning what he will make from a piece of iron. The heat from the fire sears his skin as he sweats away at the forge. The clanging of the hammer deafens him as he carefully watches the object he is working take shape. He takes great pains to complete his task, and will work far into the night to bring it to perfection.
29 It is the same with the potter, sitting at his wheel and turning it with his feet, always concentrating on his work, concerned with how many objects he can produce.
30 He works the clay with his feet until he can shape it with his hands; then he takes great pains to glaze it properly, and will work far into the night to clean out the kiln.
31 All of these people are skilled with their hands, each of them an expert at his own craft.
32 Without such people there could be no cities; no one would live or visit where these services were not available.
33 These people are not sought out to serve on the public councils, and they never attain positions of great importance. They do not serve as judges, and they do not understand legal matters. They have no education and are not known for their wisdom. You never hear them quoting proverbs.
34 But the work they do holds this world together. When they do their work, it is the same as offering prayer.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. [Probable text] deafens him; [Greek] renews his ears.
  • [b]. When . . . prayer; [or] When they pray, it is about their work.
Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.