The Places of Rehoboam and Jeroboam

The Places of Rehoboam and Jeroboam

Israel and Judah

Shechem – (see the post The Tribes of Israel and Shechem) Why or if Rehoboam choose this place for his coronation is not mentioned in Scriptures but its history links it to Jacob (Genesis 34). It is also important in the start of the nation with Joshua because this is where the “Blessings and Curses” were recited (Deuteronomy 27:12 and Joshua 8:30). Shechem was also a city of refuge where people could find sanctuary if they were accused of murder and had not yet been tried (Numbers 35:9). It was also in Manasseh so for Rehoboam to pick this city would have had major unifying step to start his reign. But his poor judgment in accepting bad advice divided the kingdom. This is where Judah was elevated over his three older brothers and where his descendent split the nation of Israel.

Peniel or Penuel– This is the second city that Jeroboam “built up” or fortified in 1 Kings 12:25. The name means “face of God” and it is first mentioned with Jacob and his wrestling matching with the angel (Genesis 32: 30). This is when he was renamed Israel and met his brother the next day. The landmark that is mentioned is the Jabbok River on the east side of the Jordan in the Land of Gad. The area is also part of the story of Gideon and the city was punished for not helping him in a time of need. The Reader’s Digest Atlas of the Bible adds a twist to the why this city question. It is near the King’s Highway trade route and they hypothesize it was to control the trade (money). It is also in the Valley of Succoth and is more or less in a line with Shechem so it would form the southern boundary of the new nation. I can’t help but think that Jeroboam son of Nebat was still making a connection to Israel’s past and identifying with Jacob thus furthering his gods of gold as legitimate.

Shiloh – The name means tranquil. It was the first meeting place for the Israelites (Joshua 18) and is where the Ark of the Covenant was housed before the Temple was built so it was the major place of worship (Judges 18 and 1 Samuel 1). The prophet Ahijah lived there and this is where the wife of Jeroboam came to seek answers about her sick son (1 Kings 14). But this place was rejected by God because of Israel’s unfaithfulness and was desolate by the time of Jeremiah (chapter 26).

Bethel – The name means House of God and this is the place where Jacob saw the staircase to Heaven and God spoke with him (Genesis 12). It was part of the circuit that Samuel traveled when he judged Israel (1 Samuel 7). Jeroboam probably picked this because of how close it was to Jerusalem, was in the land belonging to Benjamin, and the connection to Jacob. The sin was so bad that in the prophet Amos’ day Bethel was condemned. FYI – The problem started with the first Jeroboam and Amos’ prophecies came during the second Jeroboam’s reign, Jeroboam son of Jehoash (2 Kings 14: 21).

Dan – (see the post Dan) The city and the tribe was considered the northern most part of Israel. So the saying from Dan to Beersheba meant from the north to the south. This area started wrong and never stopped. From Joshua 19:47 we see that they did not take control of their inheritance but instead went to Laish or Leshem. They killed everyone and set up their own priest and ignored God’s order of priest (Judges18: 30). Their priests were from Moses’ family not from Aaron’s. Note – this really is what Jeroboam son of Nebat did maybe that is why Dan is “lost” on so many of the Family List, they simply rejected what God had for them and did things their own way.

Egypt – The land of false gods and slavery, an enemy that did not quit until Babylon destroyed them. Yet almost without exception (Jonah is the only one I can think of) Israelites run back to Egypt. I know it is a spiritual picture of what not to do and of the sin we are to leave behind us. Jeroboam is a good example; Shishak gave him a place to hide but history indicates that when he invade Judah he kept going and subjected the Northern Kingdom also. The lesson here is RUN TO GOD NOT YOUR PAST.

Jerusalem/City of David – This is a name-dropper situation. Saying the City of David just made everything “look” better.

Built-up towns -2 Chronicles 11:6 -10.   Reader’s Digest Atlas of the Bible helps make sense of why these towns were picked by Rehoboam. This blocked the mountain passes from the south (Egypt) and set a defensive perimeter to the east and west of Judah. Looking at these marked off on a map this was a well thought out course of action the only place really not defended was to the north.

Map from: 


In Christianese (yes, we have a language) mountains and valleys carry a lot of symbolism.  I have heard sermons where valleys are hard places to be but a mountaintop is a place of freedom.  Then other ministers will tell you that valleys are where you grow and that it is a struggle to go over a mountain.  I suppose in our Christian walk we are always going through valleys and over mountains or in non-Christianese you will have your good times and your hard times.

I was reading Isaiah 22 and Jerusalem was referred to as the “Valley of Vision.”  The picture that is painted in Isaiah 22 is not a nice one and the “Valley of Vision” term is obviously not a compliment.  But it made me wonder about the meaning and types of valleys and visions that were being talked about.

In my Strong’s Concordance, there are five terms for valleys but only four of them are used in Isaiah.  Shephelah (8219) is the one not used and it refers to the Judean hill country.  The other four are emeq (6010) and it is a vale or broad depression,elahvalley-from-azekah-t2 wadi (5158) this has a seasonal stream that flows during the rainy season, gahee (1516) is a gorge with lofty sides, and a biqah (1237) is a wide level valley between mountains.  In Isaiah, the gahee and wadi carry negative things with them while the emeq and biqah are places that are valued or are at least have a positive context.

The Valley of Vision is a gahee and its root word is gevah (1466), which means arrogance or lifting up with pride.  While watching an IMAX movie about Jerusalem they showed a version of this picture and I knew that must be a gahee. Marsava

Imagine standing at the bottom of the gahee looking up, I can see why the root word deals with arrogance and exaltation.  It would take serious skill and desire to climb out of that valley.

Vision in the phrase is chizzayown (2384) and refers to prophesy.  It is used nine times in Scripture and one of those is Joel 2: 28 were young men will see visions.

Other references of valleys in Isaiah:

  • Emeq – 17:5, 22:7, 28:21, 65:10
  • Wadi – 7:19, 57:5
  • Biqah  – 63:14, 41:18
  • Gahee – 22:1 +5, 28:1 + 4, 40:4

So the next time someone starts talking about being in a valley ask them what kind?

gahee – ,  the wide valley  This blog is excellent and Ferrell Jenkins is an excellent photographer, you should take a moment and check out some of his other blogs.

Jesus Walks on the Water

While reading the Gospel of Mark I got to the phrase in 6:48  where Jesus was walking on water it says, “He was about to pass them by.”  That phrase bothered me as it does not “fit” the mental image of Jesus and what I thought He would/should do.  More on that phrase later because I am starting with Mark and his version of the Gospel and the Sea of Galilee.

In the Holman Study Bible the introduction to Mark makes the point that most all of the Gospel of Mark happens around the Sea of Galilee.  It seems that Jesus would go to the “other side” to get away from a crowd or to get rest and usually the “other side” Galilee - Sunrise - Sept. 09, 2012offered its own version of busy.  If you read much about the New Testament Mark’s Gospel was the first gospel to be written.  Mark and Matthew are structured and worded the same and some scholars think both writers used another source that has been labeled Q for their inspiration.  Peter is frequently mentioned as helping Mark with the details and some even say that Mark just wrote Peter’s gospel and it was mentioned in some literature that Matthew just copied Mark’s writing while adding his own details.

The Sea of Galilee is a harp-shaped lake that is 13 miles by 7miles and is roughly 150 to 200 feet deep.  The mountains that surround the lake run east-west an can create extreme winds and waves (  Waves in the middle of a lake are not usually breakers like you see along the shore but given the size of the boats that they had a strong wind and 3 or 4 foot waves would have been a serious problem.  It is feasible that on a clear night from up on a mountain that Jesus could have seen the boat since they were only three to four miles out from the shore.

Joyce Meyer made an observation about the two seas in Israel that are connected to the same river.  The Sea of Galilee has water that comes in and goes out while the Dead Sea only has in coming water and no channel for any to leave.  The point was to check your life and see how you are using the talents and gifts you have.

Story Comparison

Mark, Matthew, and John are the three gospels that have the story of Jesus’ walk on the water.  The basic story is the same but there are variations in the accounts.  I think each writer recorded what affected him the most.  To say that for Matthew and John is no big deal because they should have been on the boat but I would like to make the case that Mark may also have been on the boat that night.  In fact I would like to think that Mark was an eye witness to every thing in his gospel and that is why it is centered around Galilee and the Sea, he was allowed to go with Peter, Andrew, James, and John when they were in the “neighborhood.”  I say that because he was probably their nephew – see Acts 12:12.  So the phrase “He was about to pass them by” would be something a young teenager might think instead of a man who was about to try water walking (Peter).

This story really starts with Jesus sending out the Twelve to do ministry.  When they came back Jesus knew they would need time to reflect and rest so He got them into the boat and set off for some quite time.  But since the Sea of Galilee is only seven miles wide the crowd that followed them would have been able to see the sail on the boat from shore (Mark 6:32).  The feeding of the 5000 men, which means it was probably a larger crowd than that, is recorded in three Gospels.  Jesus felt they needed to feed them and wanted the “successful” ministers to continue using the anointing they had just been walking in.  (I will add to the story again and say that the five loaves and two fish were Mark’s lunch that had been packed by a doting mother or aunt; what an impact on the second generation of leadership.  No, that cannot be proved but it makes a nice twist to the story.)

In John the feeding of the 5000 is considered one of the Seven Miracles that confirmed Jesus as Messiah and it was probably the most public one as far as people who saw it firsthand.  After this miracle Jesus had concerns that the crowd may try forcing Him to be king (John 6: 14,15).  Jesus walking on the water is also considered one of the Seven Miracles and it would have been the most private of those miracles and was only intended for the disciples in the boat to witness.  This story does not end once Jesus is in the boat; each of the three Gospels has a slightly different version to finish the story.  They all end up on the other side but it seems they are different places.  Mark and Matthew put them at Gennesaret while John ends the story in a synagogue at Capernaum (Jn. 6:59).  The people at Gennesaret wanted healing, the crowd that was fed wanted more bread and a better sign (miracle) than feeding them.  I think the crowd is why Jesus got the Disciples in the boat he did not want them caught up in the hysteria about a physical kingdom. (see the Problem with the Miraculous)

The word “immediately” jumped out of the stories while I was studying this out (in the NIV).  There really are four uses of the word as Mark and Matthew duplicate two – Jesus getting them in the boat and Him speaking to them while He was on the water.  The other two are in Matthew and John – Matthew, Jesus immediately grabs Peter and in John the boat was immediately at the shore.  The reference in John is the only mention of this and in it self would be a great miracle.  For some reason I really had to separate “immediately” from the thought of “suddenly” in this story.  “Suddenly” would be a surprise while “immediately” shows thought with a quick action.

A Sinking Peter

Peter was possibly older than most of the other disciples and certainly could run a business so him being a “leader” within the group may have come naturally.  So if he had continued to walk on the water, instead of sinking, my guess is that everyone on the boat that night would have been out walking on the water.  Faith is contagious and if Peter could do it all of them would have braved it up and asked but since fear is also contagious when he sunk no one else dared to ask!

Why a Ghost

Mark and Matthew both use the term for ghost when describing how the disciples saw Jesus as He was walking. That word phantasma (Strong’s 5326) is only used twice in the New Testament, here in this story.  You have to wonder why a ghost and not an angel?  They had just been living in the miraculous on their mission trip and had just seen a great miracle with the loaves and fish.  Did they slip back to superstitions because of the storm and being tired?  Why not an angel coming to help them?  Maybe this was a problem that Jesus had to work out of them and get them to start thinking Heavenly minded. Pastor Joel Osteen noted in a sermon how they were used to seeing Jesus in the day walking on dry land but could not recognize Him in a storm at night walking on water.  I just wonder if Jesus was in a “transformed” state allowing Him to walk on the water so He may have actually been shining while He came to them.

Walk on By

Back to the phrase that started this study, “He was about to pass them by.”  Even if this was a boy’s impression it was recorded but with no explanation as to why.  We know Jesus saw them having trouble and purposely walked to them.  He did not have to go that close if He really just intended to meet them on the other side.  So why would He get close but not that close to His men as they were having troubles?  I have no clue!  Maybe He wanted them to call out or it could have been a lesson in believing for the miraculous.  How about He wanted them all to get out and follow Him on the water.  Since it was just for the disciples it may have just been a display of power so they would shift their thinking back to “God matters” instead of physical kingdoms.

The picture is courtesy of  If you like photos of the Holy Land and other places that connect with the Christian/Bible story you need to see his blog.

Lo Debar – Another Look

Lo Debar, I have a feeling that it has become a symbol for hope and that God can turn things around in as long as it takes to ask a question.  Lo Debar holds the love of a true friendship and the strength of a promise kept but also has a darker side of greed, fear, and poor communication.  The characters in this story have strong messages to teach us if we will listen. (see A Place Called Lo Debar)

David’s life before he killed the giant sets the stage for Lo Debar.  The time he spent in the wilderness keeping sheep and singing praise to God allowed him to have a realDavid052 friendship.  C. S. Lewis in Membership said, ”We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy; and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”  David had those so when Jonathan decided that they should be friends David was ready.  David means “loving” and Jonathan means “Jehovah-given.

The question of why did David even have to ask if Jonathan had a son puzzled me until I added ages and years together.  The last time David saw David007Jonathan alive was in 1 Samuel 23:16, while David is hiding at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph and Mephibosheth (probably), was not born yet.  There was also the oath he gave to Saul in 1 Samuel 24: 22 not to kill off his family when he became king.  So the question in 2 Samuel 9:1 is valid because he would not have known about Mephibosheth.  But the lack of communication by Jonathan to the family about the covenant of friendship and the oath that Saul had with David caused a little five-year-old boy to be crippled as panic set in and the royal household flees in fear. (It seemed to be common practice to kill off everyone including servants of a royal family back in that age so I am sure the fear was real.)  The poor communication or fear carried to other parts of the family because David had to find Ziba, a servant, instead of his wife, Michal, the aunt of Jonathan’s child, to tell him Mephibosheth existed and was alive.

I am not fussing at Jonathan because he was in a really bad spot.  His crazy father wanted to kill his covenant friend and the family servants had already proven they could not be trusted, so speaking about David was probably not a good idea.  But it would appear that he had a plan for his family in case something happened to him.  I don’t think it was an accident that Mephibosheth was “found” living at Makir son of Ammiel’s house.  Jonathan and possible Saul must have trusted his man and his family to hide and protect the royal grandchild and eventually find a wife for Mephibosheth.  Remember he also brought supplies to David as he ran from Absalom.

In studying Jonathan I found something that I have no idea what it means but it was interesting. As I said Jonathan means “Jehovah-given” and there are two forms of it used in the Bible they are number 3083 and 3129 in the Strong’s Concordance.  3083 is used when it deals with Jonathan and David plus two times in 1 Samuel 14: 6+8 where he was relying on God for direction to attack the Philistines.  3129 is used when it deals with Jonathan and his father Saul.

God has a sense of humor and likes to hide things in scripture like Makir son of Ammiel: Makir means “salesman or brought” and Ammiel means “people of God.” The Makir meaning shines out in the Absalom story because he brought a lot of goods to David almost as if he were a salesman.  But he must have been important in Lo Debar because he hid Mephibosheth for at least twelve years, paid for his care and picked his wife and no one turned them over to David. ( see Why Hide a Grandson There)

Ziba, Saul’s chief servant, is the dark side of this tale and may have worked for the family but with friends like him who needs enemies.  You have to wonder if Ziba, which means, “stationed” is the servant with Saul in 1 Samuel 9?  I took the “stationed” or “to be stationed” as he was the one assigned to Saul by God.  He seems to have done fairly well for himself because he had 15 sons and 20 servants, which was a sign of wealth.  I believe he was protecting his interest in telling David where Mephibosheth was living, he could have been hoping that David would kill Mephibosheth and the land of Saul would legally become his.  So in 2 Samuel 16:1-4 when he was lying about Mephibosheth’s actions he was still trying to get the land and get rid of Mephibosheth.  David seems to have seen this in 2 Samuel 19:24 when he orders the land split between them.

Saul, which means “asked”, is also part of this story.  A lot of adjectives could be assigned to him because he is the poster boy for good going bad but the one that I settled on was selfish. His “self” pops up throughout his whole story and finally leads to a crippled child hiding in fear from the man who would be his best friend.

Mephibosheth, which means “dispeller of shame”, I am sure has been the center of many sermons and he should be because it is a beautiful story.  Think about how he got to Lo Debar.  The news comes that his father is dead; his nurse (not his mother) drops him breaking both feet as he is rushed many miles from home and left with someone he barely knows.  He has no family, apparently, the only one who knows where he is, is a servant who wants his inheritance and all this five-year-old boy has to go on is stories and rumors about his father and grandfather.  Then one day a military David060unit takes him from the only house he remembers and brings him to the man he has been told to fear for at least twelve years.  Once there he finds out he is rich and will eat at the king’s table for the rest of his life.  Yeah, he should have a few sermons preached about him.

Did you notice that David did not answer Mephibosheth’s question of “why should you take notice of me.” Mephibosheth would have seen the end of David’s years and all of the trouble with his kids but he also would have seen the Temple built and Israel become a world power.  You would take for granted that Solomon just continued David’s covenant of friendship and he ate at the king’s table for life.

The great thing that I found in finishing his story is that Mephibosheth’s tale did not end with him.  In 1 Chronicles 8:34 – 40 and in 9:35 – 44 they list his family for several generations and record them as being warriors, so they fought for the kings of Judah for many years.  This is for a grandchild of a disposed of king who would have normally been killed; friendship is a great thing. In Chronicles, he is listed as Merib-Baal, which is a tribute to Gideon who also has connections to the Lo Debar/Manasseh area.

These final two connections are questionable so study them for yourself and you decide.  Esther in Esther 2:5 is listed as being from the Tribe of Benjamin descended from Kish.  There are two Kish’s in the tribe of Benjamin but none of the names line up with Mephibosheth.  The other possible family member is Zimri who was king of Israel for seven days.  There is a Zimri listed in Mephibosheth’s family line that would have been alive about that time but there is less proof for that than for Esther so let your imaginations go wild with the possibilities.

This “other” look at Lo Debar, Mephibosheth, David, and Jonathan has been a great study I hope you have enjoyed it.

The art work is from 

Holy Week – Monday

Scripture References:

  •    Mark 11:12-19 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts
  •    Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-47 Jesus at the Temple
  •    John 12:20-50 Jesus Predicts His Death, Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews (NIV headings)

See Holy Week 2014 – Monday – Jesus Was Hungry

Jesus left Jerusalem Sunday after looking around the Temple and not liking what He saw (see Palm Sunday). I have heard that at Passover Jerusalem could have a million visitors (that seems high so I will have to find that reference again) and many of them could be from out of the country. So when people in the city were asking who it was that had that type of parade, it was probably visitors. The query in John from the Greeks again would be a reasonable request because they were visitors.

Bethany, according to John 11:18 was only a two-mile walk from Jerusalem and since this Map-Palestine-New-Testament-Timeswas the hometown on Martha, Mary and Lazarus He and the Twelve Disciples had a place to stay. Jesus would also have dinner at Simon the Leper’s house later in the week. I always felt that it was Lazarus’ donkey that he rode into the city; it makes a great story but you cannot prove it.

In the scriptures for Sunday and Monday, a lot is made of the “signs” Jesus had performed. Jews believed that the Messiah would do a specific set of signs to prove His leadership. He did all of them and raising Lazarus from the dead was the crowning sign which is why people kept talking about it to get the crowd “fired up.” Feeding the 4,000 and 5,000 people with fish and bread was another sign; the timing for His signs was important which is part of the reason why He kept telling people to be quiet about the miracles.

The selling of the doves and animals was a “High Priest” sanctioned business venture that made them a lot of money. Since the animals were supposedly pre-checked to meet the sacrificial requirements it “was easier” for people to just buy the animals at the Temple. (The sheep were raised in the Bethlehem area where Jesus was born, nice foreshadowing to the story.) Roman/foreign money was not good in the Temple because it was not “holy”; that is why there were moneychangers. So between the miracles and the messing up of their business, the rulers were not happy with Jesus.

The cursing of the fig tree carries a lot of symbolism about religion that started back in the Garden of Eden. Please read my blog on “figs.”

John 12 shows the increasing emotional and physical strain that was on Jesus and indicates what the Garden of Gethsemane prayer time would be like.

 Mark 11:12-19 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts (This is a COMPILING of the stories in the Gospels)

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

47 Every day he was teaching at the temple.18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

John 12:20-50 Jesus Predicts His Death

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

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