In celebration of working hands…

My hands are sore this week- lots of shaping and cutting and shaving- and I am more used to soft office work. Repetitive strain injury has nothing on vibration white finger.

I came across these words today, from the book Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) chapter 38

The writer appreciated people who make things with their hands, even if they are not very bright.

So- for craftspeople everywhere-

With what wisdom shall he be furnished that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth the oxen therewith, and is occupied in their labours, and his whole talk is about the offspring of bulls?

He shall give his mind to turn up furrows, and his care is to give the kine fodder.

So every craftsman and workmaster that laboureth night and day, he who maketh graven seals, and by his continual diligence varieth the figure: he shall give his mind to the resemblance of the picture, and by his watching shall finish the work.

So doth the smith sitting by the anvil and considering the iron work. The vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with the heat of the furnace.

The noise of the hammer is always in his ears, and his eye is upon the pattern of the vessel he maketh.

He setteth his mind to finish his work, and his watching to polish them to perfection.

So doth the potter sitting at his work, turning the wheel about with his feet, who is always carefully set to his work, and maketh all his work by number:

He fashioneth the clay with his arm, and boweth down his strength before his feet:

He shall give his mind to finish the glazing, and his watching to make clean the furnace.

All these trust to their hands, and every one is wise in his own art.

Without these a city is not built.

And they shall not dwell, nor walk about therein, and they shall not go up into the assembly.

Upon the judges’ seat they shall not sit, and the ordinance of judgment they shall not understand, neither shall they declare discipline and judgment, and they shall not be found where parables are spoken:

But they shall strengthen the state of the world, and their prayer shall be in the work of their craft, applying their soul, and searching in the law of the most High.