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Sirach 4Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Duties toward the Poor and the Oppressed

My son, deprive not the poor of his living,
    and do not keep needy eyes waiting.
Do not grieve the one who is hungry,
    nor anger a man in want.
Do not add to the troubles of an angry mind,
    nor delay your gift to a beggar.
Do not reject an afflicted suppliant,
    nor turn your face away from the poor.
Do not avert your eye from the needy,
    nor give a man occasion to curse you;
for if in bitterness of soul he calls down a curse upon you,
    his Creator will hear his prayer.

Make yourself beloved in the congregation;
    bow your head low to a great man.
Incline your ear to the poor,
    and answer him peaceably and gently.
Deliver him who is wronged from the hand of the wrongdoer;
    and do not be fainthearted in judging a case.
10 Be like a father to orphans,
    and instead of a husband to their mother;
you will then be like a son of the Most High,
    and he will love you more than does your mother.

The Rewards of Wisdom

11 Wisdom exalts her sons
    and gives help to those who seek her.
12 Whoever loves her loves life,
    and those who seek her early will be filled with joy.
13 Whoever holds her fast will obtain glory,
    and the Lord will bless the place she[a] enters.
14 Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One;[b]
    the Lord loves those who love her.
15 He who obeys her will judge the nations,
    and whoever gives heed to her will dwell secure.
16 If he has faith in her he will obtain her;
    and his descendants will remain in possession of her.
17 For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths,
    she will bring fear and cowardice upon him,
and will torment him by her discipline
    until she trusts him,
and she will test him with her ordinances.
18 Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him,
    and will reveal her secrets to him.
19 If he goes astray she will forsake him,
    and hand him over to his ruin.

20 Observe the right time, and beware of evil;[c]
    and do not bring shame on yourself.
21 For there is a shame which brings sin,
    and there is a shame which is glory and favor.
22 Do not show partiality, to your own harm,
    or deference, to your downfall.
23 Do not refrain from speaking at the crucial time,[d]
    and do not hide your wisdom.[e]
24 For wisdom is known through speech,
    and education through the words of the tongue.
25 Never speak against the truth,
    but be mindful of your ignorance.
26 Do not be ashamed to confess your sins,
    and do not try to stop the current of a river.
27 Do not subject yourself to a foolish fellow,
    nor show partiality to a ruler.
28 Strive even to death for the truth
    and the Lord God will fight for you.

29 Do not be reckless in your speech,
    or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.
30 Do not be like a lion in your home,
    nor be a faultfinder with your servants.
31 Let not your hand be extended to receive,
    but withdrawn when it is time to repay.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 4:13 Or he
  2. Sirach 4:14 Or at the holy place
  3. Sirach 4:20 Or an evil man
  4. Sirach 4:23 Cn: Gk at a time of salvation
  5. Sirach 4:23 So some Gk Mss and Heb Syr Vg: other Gk Mss omit and do not hide your wisdom
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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