Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent

The Gospels on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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God Gives His People Manna and the Law

The Gospels on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

As we begin the second week of our Lenten journey, we may find ourselves like the Israelites in Exodus 16-17. God has done great things for us: He has offered us a way out of the slavery of sin. And yet we continue to gripe and grouse against Him.

From Joy to Sorrow to Revelation

In these Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent, we watch Old Testament Israel—a type of the New Testament Church—move from joy at the beginning of the week (the escape from Egypt and the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea) through trials and grumbling (the lack of food and water, which are provided by God as manna and water from the rock) to the revelation of the Old Covenant and the Ten Commandments.

Ingratitude and Mercy

As we follow the readings, we can see in the Israelites our own ingratitude. Our 40 days of Lent mirrors their 40 years in the desert. Despite their grumbling, God provided for them. He provides for us, as well; and we have a comfort that they did not: We know that, in Christ, we have been saved. We can enter the Promised Land, if only we conform our lives to Christ.

The readings for each day of the Second Week of Lent, found on the following pages, come from the Office of the Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church.

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Scripture Reading for the Second Sunday of Lent

Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic
Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic. Fred de Noyelle/Getty Images

Pharaoh's Mistake

As the Israelites approach the Red Sea, Pharaoh begins to regret letting them go. He sends his chariots and charioteers in pursuit—a decision that will end badly. Meanwhile, the Lord is traveling with the Israelites, appearing as a column of cloud by day and of fire by night.

The columns of cloud and fire signify the connection between God and His people. By bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, He sets into motion the plan that will bring salvation to the whole world through Israel.

Exodus 13:17-14:9 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And when Pharao had sent out the people, the Lord led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines which is near: thinking lest perhaps they would repent, if they should see wars arise against them, and would return into Egypt. But he led them about by the way of the desert, which is by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took Joseph's bones with him: because he had adjured the children of Israel, saying: God shall visit you, carry out my bones from hence with you.

And marching from Socoth they encamped in Etham in the utmost coasts of the wilderness.

And the Lord went before them to shew the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire: that he might be the guide of their journey at both times. There never failed the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, before the people.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel: Let them turn and encamp over against Phihahiroth which is between Magdal and the sea over against Beelsephon: you shall encamp before it upon the sea. And Pharao will say of the children of Israel: They are straitened in the land, the desert hath shut them in. And I shall harden his heart, and he will pursue you: and I shall be glorified in Pharao, and in all his army: and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.

And they did so. And it was told the king of the Egyptians that the people was fled: and the heart of Pharao and of his servants was changed with regard to the people, and they said: What meant we to do, that we let Israel go from serving us? So he made ready his chariot, and took all his people with him. And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots that were in Egypt: and the captains of the whole army. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharao king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel: but they were gone forth in a mighty hand. And when the Egyptians followed the steps of them who were gone before, they found them encamped at the sea side: all Pharao's horse and chariots, and the whole army were in Phihahiroth before Beelsephon.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Man thumbing through a Bible
Man thumbing through a Bible. Peter Glass/Design Pics/Getty Images

The Crossing of the Red Sea

As Pharaoh's chariots and charioteers pursue the Israelites, Moses turns to the Lord for help. The Lord orders him to stretch his hand out over the Red Sea, and the waters part. The Israelites pass through safely, but, when the Egyptians pursue them, Moses stretches his hand out again, and the waters return, drowning the Egyptians.

When we are pursued by temptation, we too should turn to the Lord, Who will remove those temptations as He removed the Egyptians from their pursuit of the Israelites.

Exodus 14:10-31 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And when Pharao drew near, the children of Israel, lifting up their eyes, saw the Egyptians behind them: and they feared exceedingly, and cried to the Lord. And they said to Moses: Perhaps there were no graves in Egypt, therefore thou hast brought us to die in the wilderness: why wouldst thou do this, to lead us out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we spoke to thee in Egypt, saying: Depart from us that we may serve the Egyptians? for it was much better to serve them, than to die in the wilderness. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: stand and see the great wonders of the Lord, which he will do this day: for the Egyptians, whom you see now, you shall see no more for ever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

And the Lord said to Moses: Why criest thou to me? Speak to the children of Israel to go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch forth thy hand over the sea, and divide it: that the children of Israel may go through the midst of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the heart of the Egyptians to pursue you: and I will be glorified in Pharao, and in all his host, and in his chariots, and in his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall be glorified in Pharao, and in his chariots and in his horsemen.

And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removing, went behind them: and together with him the pillar of the cloud, leaving the forepart, Stood behind, between the Egyptians' camp and the camp of Israel: and it was a dark cloud, and enlightening the night, so that they could not come at one another all the night.

And when Moses had stretched forth his hand over the sea, the Lord took it away by a strong and burning wind blowing all the night, and turned it into dry ground: and the water was divided. And the children of Israel went in through the midst of the sea dried up: for the water was as a wall on their right hand and on their left.And the Egyptians pursuing went in after them, and all Pharao's horses, his chariots and horsemen through the midst of the sea, And now the morning watch was come, and behold the Lord looking upon the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, slew their host. And overthrew the wheels of the chariots, and they were carried into the deep. And the Egyptians said: Let us flee from Israel: for the Lord fighteth for them against us.

And the Lord said to Moses: Stretch forth they hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and horsemen. And when Moses had stretched forth his hand towards the sea, it returned at the first break of day to the former place: and as the Egyptians were fleeing away, the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the army of Pharao, who had come into the sea after them, neither did there so much as one of them remain. But the children of Israel marched through the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were to them as a wall on the right hand and on the left:

And the Lord delivered Israel on that day out of the hands of the Egyptians. And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore, and the mighty hand that the Lord had used against them: and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and Moses his servant.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

A gold-leaf Bible
A gold-leaf Bible. Jill Fromer/Getty Images

The Manna in the Desert

Free at last from the Egyptians, the Israelites quickly begin to slip into despair. Lacking food, they complain to Moses. In response, God sends them the manna (bread) from heaven, which will sustain them throughout the 40 years that they will spend wandering in the desert before entering the Promised Land.

The manna, of course, represents the true bread from heaven, the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. And just as the Promised Land represents heaven, the Israelites' time in the desert represents our struggles here on earth, where we are sustained by the Body of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Exodus 16:1-18, 35 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And they set forward from Elim, and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai: the fifteenth day of the second month, after they came out of the land of Egypt.

And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots, and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine?

And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you: let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient for every day: that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or not. But the sixth day let them provide for to bring in: and let it be double to that they were wont to gather every day.

And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel: In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt: And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord: for he hath heard your murmuring against the Lord: but as for us, what are we, that you mutter against us? And Moses said: In the evening the Lord will give you flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full: for he hath heard your murmurings, with which you have murmured against him, for what are we? your murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord.

Moses also said to Aaron: Say to the whole congregation of the children of Israel: Come before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmuring. And when Aaron spoke to all the assembly of the children of Israel, they looked towards the wilderness: and behold the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel: say to them: In the evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread: and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.

So it came to pass in the evening, that quails coming up, covered the camp: and in the morning, a dew lay round about the camp. And when it had covered the face of the earth, it appeared in the wilderness small, and as it were beaten with a pestle, like unto the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another: Manhu! which signifieth: What is this! for they knew not what it was. And Moses said to them: This is the bread, which the Lord hath given you to eat.

This is the word, that the Lord hath commanded: Let every one gather of it as much as is enough to eat: a gomor for every man, according to the number of your souls that dwell in a tent, so shall you take of it.

And the children of Israel did so: and they gathered, one more, another less. And they measured by the measure of a gomor: neither had he more that had gathered more: nor did he find less that had provided less: but every one had gathered, according to what they were able to eat.

And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land: with this meat were they fed, until they reached the borders of the land of Chanaan.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Prest With Lectionary
A priest with a lectionary. undefined

Water From the Rock

The Lord has given the Israelites manna in the desert, but still they grumble. Now, they complain of lack of water and wish that they were still in Egypt. The Lord tells Moses to strike a rock with his staff, and, when he does so, water flows from it.

God satisfied the needs of the Israelites in the desert, but they would thirst again. Christ, though, told the woman at the well that He is the living water, which would quench her thirst forever.

Exodus 17:1-16 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Then all the multitude of the children of Israel setting forward from the desert of Sin, by their mansions, according to the word of the Lord, encamped in Raphidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

And they chode with Moses, and said: Give us water, that we may drink. And Moses answered them: Why chide you with me? Wherefore do you tempt the Lord? So the people were thirsty there for want of water, and murmured against Moses, saying: Why didst thou make us go forth out of Egypt, to kill us and our children, and our beasts with thirst?

And Moses cried to the Lord, saying: What shall I do to this people? Yet a little more and they will stone me. And the Lord said to Moses: God before the people, and take with thee of the ancients of Israel: and take in thy hand the rod wherewith thou didst strike the river, and go. Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel: And he called the name of that place Temptation, because the chiding of the children of Israel, and for that they tempted the Lord, saying: Is the Lord amongst us or not?

And Amalec came, and fought against Israel in Raphidim. And Moses said to Josue: Choose out men: and go out and fight against Amalec: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill having the rod of God in my hand.

Josue did as Moses had spoken, and he fought against Amalec; but Moses, and Aaron, and Hur went up upon the top of the hill. And when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel overcame: but if he let them down a little, Amalec overcame. And Moses' hands were heavy: so they took a stone, and put under him, and he sat on it: and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands on both sides. And it came to pass that his hands were not weary until sunset. And Josue put Amalec and his people to flight, by the edge of the sword.

And the Lord said to Moses: Write this for a memorial in a book, and deliver it to the ears of Josue: for I will destroy the memory of Amalec from under heaven. And Moses built an altar: and called the name thereof, The Lord my exaltation, saying: Because the hand of the throne of the Lord, and the war of the Lord shall be against Amalec, from generation to generation.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Old Bible in Latin
Old Bible in Latin. Myron/Getty Images

The Appointment of the Judges

As it becomes clear that the Israelites' journey through the desert will take some time, the need for leaders in addition to Moses becomes obvious. Moses' father-in-law suggests the appointment of the judges, who can handle disputes in small matters, while important ones will be reserved to Moses.

Exodus 18:13-27 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And the next day Moses sat, to judge the people, who stood by Moses from morning until night. And when his kinsman had seen all things that he did among the people, he said: What is it that thou dost among the people? Why sittest thou alone, and all the people wait from morning till night.

And Moses answered him: The people come to me to seek the judgment of God. And when any controversy falleth out among them, they come to me to judge between them, and to shew the precepts of God, and his laws.

But he said: The thing thou dost is not good. Thou are spent with foolish labour, both thou and this people that is with thee: the business is above thy strength, thou alone canst not bear it. But hear my words and counsels, and God shall be with thee. Be thou to the people in those things that pertain to God, to bring their words to him: And to shew the people the ceremonies and the manner of worshipping, and the way wherein they ought to walk, and the work that they ought to do. And provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, in whom there is truth, and that hate avarice, and appoint of them rulers of thousands, and of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens. Who may judge the people at all times: and when any great matter soever shall fall out, let them refer it to thee, and let them judge the lesser matters only: that so it may be lighter for thee, the burden being shared out unto others. If thou dost this, thou shalt fulfil the commandment of God, and shalt be able to bear his precepts: and all this people shall return to their places with peace.

And when Moses heard this, he did all things that he had suggested unto him. And choosing able men out of all Israel, he appointed them rulers of the people, rulers over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens. And they judged the people at all times: and whatsoever was of greater difficulty they referred to him, and they judged the easier cases only. And he let his kinsman depart: and he returned and went into his own country.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Old Bible in English
Old Bible in English. Godong/Getty Images

God's Covenant With Israel and the Revelation of the Lord on Mount Sinai

God has chosen the Israelites as His own, and now He reveals His covenant to them on Mount Sinai. He appears in a cloud over the mountain to confirm to the people that Moses speaks on His behalf.

Israel is an Old Testament type of the New Testament Church. The Israelites are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood," not merely in themselves, but as a foreshadowing of the Church to come.

Exodus 19:1-19; 20:18-21 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

In the third month of the departure of Israel out of the land of Egypt, on this day they came into the wilderness of Sinai: For departing out of Raphidim, and coming to the desert of Sinai, they camped in the same place, and there Israel pitched their tents over against the mountain.

And Moses went up to God: and the Lord called unto him from the mountain, and said: Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I have done to the Egyptians, how I have carried you upon the wings of eagles, and have taken you to myself. If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. Those are the words thou shalt speak to the children of Israel.

Moses came, and calling together the elders of the people, he declared all the words which the Lord had commanded. And all the people answered together: All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do.

And when Moses had related the people's words to the Lord, The Lord said to him: Lo, now will I come to thee in the darkness of a cloud, that the people may hear me speaking to thee, and may believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. And he said to him: Go to the people, and sanctify them to day, and to morrow, and let them wash their garments. And let them be ready against the third day: for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt appoint certain limits to the people round about, and thou shalt say to them: Take heed you go not up into the mount, and that ye touch not the borders thereof: every one that toucheth the mount dying he shall die. No hands shall touch him, but he shall be stoned to death, or shall be shot through with arrows: whether it be beast, or man, he shall not live. When the trumpet shall begin to sound, then let them go up into the mount.

And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments, He said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.

And now the third day was come, and the morning appeared: and behold thunders began to be heard, and lightning to flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount, and the noise of the trumpet sounded exceeding loud, and the people that was in the camp, feared. And when Moses had brought them forth to meet God from the place of the camp, they stood at the bottom of the mount. And all mount Sinai was on a smoke: because the Lord was come down upon it in fire, and the smoke arose from it as out of a furnace: and all the mount was terrible. And the sound of the trumpet grew by degrees louder and louder, and was drawn out to a greater length: Moses spoke, and God answered him.

And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, Saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Scripture Reading for Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral
St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral. Philip Game/Getty Images

The Ten Commandments

Moses has ascended Mount Sinai at the Lord's command, and now God reveals to him the Ten Commandments, which Moses will take back to the people.

Christ tells us that the Law is summed up in love of God and love of neighbor. The New Covenant does not abrogate the old but fulfills it. If we love God and our neighbor, we will keep His commandments.

Exodus 20:1-17 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And the Lord spoke all these words:

I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.

Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.

Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent." ThoughtCo, Mar. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-for-second-week-of-lent-4120598. Richert, Scott P. (2017, March 14). Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-for-second-week-of-lent-4120598 Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-for-second-week-of-lent-4120598 (accessed February 21, 2018).