Sirach 38:4

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

1 Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; 2 for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king. 3 The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired. 4 The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them. 5 Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that its power might be known? 6 And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. 7 By them the physician heals and takes away pain; 8 the pharmacist makes a mixture from them. God's works will never be finished; and from him health spreads over all the earth.

Genesis Rabbah 10


AND THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH WERE FINISHED—WAYYEKULLU (ul, 1). I have seen an end to every purpose (tiklah), but Thy commandment is exceeding broad: everything has a measure, heaven and earth have a measure, except one thing which has no measure: and what is it? The Torah, [of which it is written,] The measure thereof is longer than the earth, etc. (Job x1, 9). Another interpretation: ‘I have seen an end to every purpose’ refers to the work of the heaven, as it is said, AND THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH WERE FINISHED. Bar Sira said, "God brings forth spices from the earth. With them the healer heals the ailments, and with them the perfumer perfumes the perfumes." Said Rabbi Simon, "There isn't a single herb or spice that doesn't have a constellation in the firmaments that smacks it and tells it to grow." And behold, this is written in Job 38:33: "Do you know the laws of Heaven? Can you place its authority (šiṭro) on Earth?" etc. The language is "šoṭer" (officer/regulator). "Can you tie binds on the Pleiades, or the cords of Orion loosen?" (Job 38:31) Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa and Rabbi Simon said, "The Pleiades binds the fruits, and Orion pulls from binding to binding." And behold, this is written (Job 38:32) "Can you bring out the Zodiac in its season, Ursa Major with her sons you can lead?" Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥiyya and Rabbi Simon said, "A constellation is 'Mazal' because it stretches [m'mazzer] out the fruits."

 Notes and References

"... Surgery and all it encompass also fell into his sphere of activity. During an operation, the rophi wears a leather apron, straps the patient tightly to the table, and makes use of a bandage box with several compartments containing writing stylus, scissors and knife. He heals wounds with all types of herbs that God produces; he is called from one place to another to suck out snake bites, and to prescribe certain dietary regulations for injured people ... Genesis Rabbah 10:6; see also Sirach 38:4 ..."

Preuss, Julius Biblical and Talmudic Medicine (pp. 11-12) Sanhedrin Press, 1911

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