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10 Be like a father to orphans,
    and take the place of a husband to widows.
Then God will call you his child,
    and he will be merciful to you and deliver you from the pit.

The Rewards of Wisdom[a]

11 Wisdom teaches her children
    and admonishes all who can understand her.
12 Those who love her love life;
    those who seek her out win the Lord’s favor.
13 Those who hold her fast will attain glory,
    and they shall abide in the blessing of the Lord.
14 Those who serve her serve the Holy One;
    those who love her the Lord loves.(A)

15 “Whoever obeys me will judge nations;
    whoever listens to me will dwell in my inmost chambers.

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  1. 4:11–19 The Hebrew text in vv. 15–19 presents wisdom speaking in the first person, as in chap. 24. The precious fruits of wisdom—life, favor, glory, blessings, God’s love—arouse desire for her (vv. 11–14). Her disciples are like ministers (v. 14) and judges (v. 15), whose descendants have her for their heritage (v. 16). They enjoy happiness and learn her secrets after surviving her tests (vv. 17–18). Those who fail her are abandoned to destruction (v. 19).

18     then I will set them again on the straight path
    and reveal my secrets to them.
19 But if they turn away from me, I will abandon them
    and deliver them over to robbers.”

Sincerity and Justice[a]

20 My son, watch for the right time; fear what is evil;
    do not bring shame upon yourself.
21 There is a shame heavy with guilt,
    and a shame that brings glory and respect.
22 Show no favoritism to your own discredit;
    let no one intimidate you to your own downfall.
23 Do not refrain from speaking at the proper time,
    and do not hide your wisdom;
24 For wisdom becomes known through speech,
    and knowledge through the tongue’s response.

25 Never speak against the truth,
    but of your own ignorance be ashamed.
26 Do not be ashamed to acknowledge your sins,
    and do not struggle against a rushing stream.
27 Do not abase yourself before a fool;
    do not refuse to do so before rulers.

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  1. 4:20–31 The student of wisdom is warned about interior trials of discipline and external dangers to sincerity and justice, namely evil, human respect (vv. 20–22), compromise of liberty in speech and action (vv. 23–25), false shame (v. 26). The student must fight for the truth (vv. 25, 28), avoiding cynicism and laziness (v. 29), and inconsistency (v. 30).