Sirach 38:9Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus
9 My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you. 10 Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. 11 Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour, and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford. 12 Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; do not let him leave you, for you need him. 13 There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, 14 for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. 15 He who sins against his Maker, will be defiant toward the physician.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up—and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.
Notes and References
"... The Jews’ approach to medicine was relatively arcane, based on herbal remedies. The texts show that they had an ambivalence toward herbalism, implying that the good it offers may be offset by its temptation to sorcery. Some pre-Christian examples include (1 Enoch 7, Sirach 38, Josephus Wars 2.136, Jubilees 10) ... Therefore, both Hellenistic and Jewish sources indicate that a first-century author could easily have said “use the best available medicine, then let the elders pray” if that is what he meant. With that in mind, is it feasible to claim that oil was the best medicine available and thus provide an analogy to modern medicine? Would it not be equivalent to a modern pastor telling the sick to take two aspirin and pray about it? ..."
Shogren, Gary S. Will God Heal Us? A Re-Examination of James 5:14-16a (pp. 99-106) Evangelical Quarterly 61, 1989
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