Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Third Day of Great Lent
 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household:
 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
 Is’sachar, Zeb’ulun, and Benjamin,
 Dan and Naph’tali, Gad and Asher.
 All the offspring of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.
 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.
 But the descendants of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong; so that the land was filled with them.
 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.
 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war befall us, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens; and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ra-am’ses.
 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.
 So they made the people of Israel serve with rigor,
 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field; in all their work they made them serve with rigor.
 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiph’rah and the other Pu’ah,
 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”
 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
 So the king of Egypt called the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?”
 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them.”
 So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong.
 And because the midwives feared God he gave them families.
 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
 And when she could hide him no longer she took for him a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and pitch; and she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds at the river’s brink.
 And his sister stood at a distance, to know what would be done to him.
 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it.
 When she opened it she saw the child; and lo, the babe was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”
 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.
 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
 Sanctify a fast,
call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the LORD your God;
and cry to the LORD.
 Alas for the day!
For the day of the LORD is near,
and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.
 Is not the food cut off
before our eyes,
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
 The seed shrivels under the clods,
the storehouses are desolate;
the granaries are ruined
because the grain has failed.
 How the beasts groan!
The herds of cattle are perplexed
because there is no pasture for them;
even the flocks of sheep are dismayed.
 Unto thee, O LORD, I cry.
For fire has devoured
the pastures of the wilderness,
and flame has burned
all the trees of the field.
 Even the wild beasts cry to thee
because the water brooks are dried up,
and fire has devoured
the pastures of the wilderness.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America