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Scriptural Reading for the Sunday of the Third Week of Lent

The Book of the Covenant

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God's revelation to Moses did not end with the Ten Commandments. The Lord gives other instructions on how the Israelites are to live, and these are known as the Book of the Covenant.

Like the Ten Commandments, these instructions, as part of the Law, are all contained in the great commandment to love God with your whole heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.

Exodus 22:20-23:9

[And the Lord said to Moses:]

He that sacrificeth to gods, shall be put to death, save only to the Lord.

Thou shalt not molest a stranger, nor afflict him: for yourselves also were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not hurt a widow or an orphan. If you hurt them they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry: And my rage shall be enkindled, and I will strike you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor, that dwelleth with thee, thou shalt not be hard upon them as an extortioner, nor oppress them with usuries.

If thou take of thy neighbour a garment in pledge, thou shalt give it him again before sunset. For that same is the only thing wherewith he is covered, the clothing of his body, neither hath he any other to sleep in: if he cry to me, I will hear him, because I am compassionate.

Thou shalt not speak ill of the gods, and the prince of thy people thou shalt not curse.

Thou shalt not delay to pay thy tithes and thy firstfruits: thou shalt give the firstborn of thy sons to me. Thou shalt do the same with the firstborn of thy oxen also and sheep: seven days let it be with its dam, the eighth day thou shalt give it to me.

You shall be holy men to me: the flesh that beasts have tasted of before, you shall not eat, but shall cast it to the dogs.

Thou shalt not receive the voice of a lie: neither shalt thou join thy hand to bear false witness for a wicked person. Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil: neither shalt thou yield in judgment, to the opinion of the most part, to stray from the truth. Neither shalt thou favour a poor man in judgment.

If thou meet thy enemy's ox or ass going astray, bring it back to him. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lie underneath his burden, thou shalt not pass by, but shalt lift him up with him.

Thou shalt not go aside in the poor man's judgment.

Thou shalt fly lying. The innocent and just person thou shalt not put to death: because I abhor the wicked. Neither shalt thou take bribes, which even blind the wise, and pervert the words of the just.

Thou shalt not molest a stranger, for you know the hearts of strangers: for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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