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The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity

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    JEHU reigned in Samaria twenty-eight years, 884-856. “But took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin;” to wit: the golden calves that were in Beth-el and in Dan.EB 231.1

    2. “In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short. And Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; from Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the River Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.” 1[Page 231] 2 Kings 10:31-33.EB 231.2

    3. Jehoahaz was the son of Jehu, and reigned seventeen years, 856-839. Like his father, and all before him, he “followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.”EB 231.3

    4. Hazael, king of Syria, invaded the land and oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz, and reduced his power so low that there was left him only ten thousand footmen, fifty horsemen, and ten chariots. 2[Page 231] Chap. 13:3-7.EB 231.4

    5. Jehoash was the son of Jehoahaz, and reigned sixteen years: two with his father, and fourteen alone, 839-825. He likewise “departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin; but he walked therein.” In his days Hazael, king of Syria, died and was succeeded by his son.EB 231.5

    6. Ben-hadad, the son of Hazael, succeeded to the throne of Syria. “And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash [Jehoash] beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.” 3[Page 232] 2 Kings 13:25.EB 231.6

    7. The king of Judah challenged Jehoash to battle. Jehoash tried to dissuade him, but could not. The battle was fought at Beth-shemesh—House of the Sun—in the land of Judah. The king of Judah was defeated and captured, and Jehoash went to Jerusalem itself, “and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.” 4[Page 232] Chap. 14:13, 14.EB 232.1

    8. Jeroboam III was the son of Jehoash, and reigned forty-one years, 825-784. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” He reconquered and added to his kingdom all the country of Syria and Hamath, to the Euphrates and the original border of the conquests of David in this region. On the south the kingdom embraced all of the country east of the Dead Sea, to the border of Edom; and on the west, the coast of the Mediterranean as far south as to Gaza. This was accomplished “according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter.... And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” 5[Page 232] Verses 24-27.EB 232.2

    9. The favor of the Lord of Jeroboam II was but a part of the grand effort that He was at this time making to save Israel from total destruction. The prophets Jonah, Hosea, and Amos, all prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II. It was the crisis of Israel’s existence. By these prophets the Lord set before them a view of the real condition of things in the kingdom; and pleaded earnestly with Israel to return to Him, telling them that the only possible alternative from this, was irretrievable ruin.EB 232.3

    10. By Amos He pleaded: “Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” “Publish ye in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof. For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled. Thus saith the Lord: As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a couch, and on the silken cushions of a bed.” “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is His thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of Hosts, is His name.”EB 233.1

    11. “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to naught. Seek the Lord and ye shall live; lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is His name.”EB 233.2

    12. “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of Hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of Hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” “Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”EB 233.3

    13. “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria.... Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.”EB 234.1

    14. “Thus He showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in His hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”EB 234.2

    15. The words of the prophet were resented by the priest. “Then Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.” 6[Page 235] In these circumstances from Amos and hosea, reference to chapter and verse is not given, because they are selected from all the chapters. The whole of these books in both versions should be studied in this connection.EB 234.3

    16. As they would not suffer a prophet of Israel to prophesy there, the Lord raised up prophets in Judah, and by them sent His word to Israel. Hosea was the first of these. By him the Lord exposed the sins of Israel; declared the sure result of continuing in that way; and pleaded piteously with them to turn to the Lord, and be saved from all evil.EB 235.1

    17. By Hosea the Lord cried: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.” “They set their heart on their iniquity.” “For Israel hath behaved himself stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer.” “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rules with shame do love, Give ye. The wind hath bound her up in her wings,” ready to carry away and scatter. “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood; and the their chief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.”EB 235.2

    18. After the death of Jeroboam II there was an interregnum, or anarchy, for about twelve years. In the distressful times that had preceded the reign of Jeroboam II, they had called upon both Egypt and Assyria to save them from the terrible invasions of Hazael. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb: 7[Page 236] The word Jareb signifies “contentions,” and here signifies “the contentious king” rather than the name of an individual king. yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” And now in the time of anarchy, they call to both Egypt and Assyria: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.” “They return, but not to the Most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”EB 235.3

    19. Zachariah, the son of Jeroboam II, took the throne in 772 B. C. Like all the others, “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” When he had occupied the position of king for six months, he was slain in the presence of the people by Shallum, who “reigned in his stead;” and who, after a “reign” of “a full month,” was murdered.EB 236.1

    20. Menahem, of Tirzah, was the murderer of Shallum, 772. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” 8[Page 236] 2 Kings 15:10-18. Tiphsah and the people of the country round about refused to recognize Menahem as king, and he destroyed the city and the people.EB 236.2

    21. Pul, the king of Assyria, invaded the land of Israel with such power that in order to retain the kingdom, Menahem was compelled to buy him off with one thousand talents of silver; and he obtained the money by levying a tribute of fifty shekels of silver upon each man “of all the mighty men of wealth.” The king of Assyria returned to his own land, and Menahem reigned ten years, and died.EB 236.3

    22. Of this time Hosea wrote: “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes. Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” “They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.”EB 237.1

    23. Pekahiah was the son of Menahem, and succeeded to the precarious throne at the death of his father. His only record is, “He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” He reigned two years, to 759 B. C.EB 237.2

    24. Pekah was the son of a certain Remaliah. He was a prominent officer of Pekahiah’s army, who murdered Pekahiah, and seized the kingdom, 759. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath=Pileser, king of Assyria, and took Ijohn, and Abelbeth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.” 9[Page 237] 2 Kings 15:28, 29.EB 237.3

    25. In this the Lord was sending a warning to the whole nation, of what would certainly come to all unless they would listen to the call of the Lord and forsake their evil ways. This, too, was but a light affliction, compared to that which was surely coming. For “in the first time he made light of the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and at the last he will deal hard with the way by the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, up to the Galilee of the nations.” 10[Page 238] Isaiah 9:1, the Jews’ translation.EB 237.4

    26. By Micah also now there comes the word of the Lord to Israel, saying: “Who caused the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? ... therefore will I change Samaria into stone-heaps on the field, into vineyard plantations: and I will hurl down into the valley her stones, and her foundations will I lay open. And all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces; and all her wages of sin shall be burnt with the fire; and all her idols will I make desolate.... For this will I lament and wail; I will go confused and naked; I will make a lament like the crocodiles, and mourning like the ostriches. For her wounds are incurable; for the evil is come even unto Judah; the enemy hath reached as far as the gate of my people, even up to Jerusalem.” 11[Page 238] Micah 1:5-9, the Jews’ translation.EB 238.1

    27. Rezin was king of Syria, and with him Pekah formed an alliance against the kingdom of Judah to take it for themselves. They made two expeditions into Judah: they even besieged Jerusalem, but could not take it. At that time Isaiah the prophet declared in writing, with “faithful witnesses,” that before a child which was then new-born should have “knowledge to cry, My father, and, My mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.... Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.” “The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, the bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together; the Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth.” 12[Page 239] Isaiah 8:4-7; 9:8-12.EB 238.2

    28. Pekah reigned twenty years, and was then assassinated by Hoshea, the son of Elah, 739 B. C. There was such anarchy, however, that it was about ten years before there was another king of the vanishing kingdom.EB 239.1

    29. Hoshea, the murderer of Pekah, and the last king of Israel, became king about 729 B. C. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.” About the fourth year of his reign Hoshea broke his covenant with the king of Assyria, and attempted to form an alliance with Egypt to throw off the yoke of Assyria. Shalmaneser, however, discovered the conspiracy before it was fully ripe. “The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.” 13[Page 239] 2 Kings 17:1-4.EB 239.2

    30. Just at this time the Lord made one more effort to save Israel from impending ruin. By the prophet Hosea the Lord sent this last pitying and direct appeal to Israel, in which He said: “Now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do to us? They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to King Jareb [or the contentious, warlike, king]: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us....EB 239.3

    31. “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. So shall Beth-el do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.... Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.”EB 240.1

    32. “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.” “My people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee.” “I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.”EB 240.2

    33. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless find mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”EB 240.3

    34. In yet another way the Lord sought to save Israel, and to help them to return. Just at that time the king of Judah was carrying on a thorough reformation in his kingdom, and in calling the people of Judah to return to the Lord with all the heart, he kindly sent messengers throughout all Israel with earnest invitations to them to seek the Lord also. They were assured from the Lord that if they would turn to Him with all the heart, they would not only remain in the land, but those who had been carried captive would find compassion with their captors, and would come again into their own land. “So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.EB 241.1

    35. “So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into His sanctuary, which He hath sanctified forever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him.EB 241.2

    36. “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun [“a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun”] humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.” 14[Page 242] 2 Chronicles 30:5-11. And all that did so humble themselves and turn to the Lord, escaped captivity or slaughter. For “then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land,“ destroying the cities; making captives of the people; and leaving the country desolate. At last he came “up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.”EB 242.1

    37. “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger; for they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.EB 242.2

    38. “Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, 15[Page 243] This is a play upon words in the original also. In Hebrew, the word translated “idol: is, literally, “nothing”. So that this clause reads literally “they followed nothing, and they became nothing.” and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, [Ashera] and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters, to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.EB 242.3

    39. “Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight. For He rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” 16[Page 243] 2 Kings 17:5-23.EB 243.1

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