Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20

Etymologically the name Job could be related to the Hebrew word for “enemy,” with reference to either Job’s attitude to God or his response to suffering. The name might also be a contracted form of “Where is my father?”

In Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12 we could find the blameless and upright man in character, blessed in family and possessions, whose life embodied the fear of God both for himself and on behalf of his family (1:1–5). But then the adversaries and Job’s three friends (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite) who came to offer sympathy and comfort, were trying to put the wrong doings from Job at the cause of his problems. These friends represent an oversimplified “orthodoxy,” based on a misreading of the wisdom tradition to the effect that all troubles are punishments for wrongdoing. Their “comfort” consists largely of applying this message to Job, urging him to identify his sin and repent of it. In so doing, these friends serve as a mirror for all readers who might be inclined to say similar things to people in distress.

An early engraving by Blake for the Book of Job
An early engraving by Blake for the Book of Job

The book tries to to explain evil and placing the Universal deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient in it. Throughout the dialogue, Job tries to maintain that he is in the right while also arguing God’s character back to him in lament about why his righteousness and justice do not appear to be borne out in events on earth.

In the previous chapters a light is also shed on the wrong idea that there would be some after life. Job is aware that when we die it is finished and we become put in the ground not being able to do anything. We could look at death as Job describes it, namely as rest from the toil of life. ( Job 3:13–19) When we die we come into a state as if we sleep or as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light (Job 3:16). All cease from troubling, and there the weary can come at rest and be freed from each other and equal in the same position, to become dust.  For man, when he is dead, perishes, and consumes away, what becomes of him? So man after he is asleep rises not, he shall not wake till the heavens be no more, nor rise out of his sleep. (Job 14:10-12) Therefore Job longs at a certain moment to be cut off of all his problems. so that he could rest from his suffering, knowing that he had not denied God (6:10). Job found his life unbearable on account of the empty comfort offered by his friends (6:14–30) and what he describes as the continued watchfulness of God (7:11–21).

Eliphaz wonders if Mortal Man can  be in the Right before God. Jobs friends are arguing precisely that a righteous person can be in the right before God.

The friends assume that both Job’s circumstances and his response to them are indications that he is in the wrong before God and needs to acknowledge and repent of his sin. However, Job will insist not only that he is not guilty of some hidden iniquity but that it is God who ultimately has allowed and governed his circumstances. So he does not curse God’s name or accuse God of injustice but rather seeks an explanation or an account of his wrong doing.

Bildad wonders how it can be that when a man were blameless,  he could show himself to be right before the God of justice (see 9:2)? And if shame and disaster are the fate of the wicked, how is it that the wicked so often appear to prosper in relative safety (see 12:6; 21:7)?

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Coverdale Bible
1535 by Miles Coverdale

Job Chapter 12

Job 12:2 Then (no doute) ye are the men alone, and wysdome shal perish with you.
Job 12:3 But I haue vnderstodinge as well as ye, and am no lesse then ye. Yee who knoweth not these thinges?
Job 12:4 Thus he that calleth vpo God, and whom God heareth, is mocked of his neghboure: the godly & innocent man is laughed to scorne.
Job 12:5 Godlynesse is a light despysed in ye hertes of the rich, & is set for them to stomble vpon.
Job 12:6 The houses of robbers are in wealth and prosperite, & they that maliciously medle agaynst God, dwel without care: yee God geueth all thinges richely with his honde.

Matthew’s Bible
1549 by John Rogers

Job 12:6 The houses of robbers are in wealth & prosperite, and they that maliciously medle agaynst God, dwell without care: ye God geueth all thinges rychely with hys hande.

Job 12:13 Ye with God is wysdome and strength, it is he that hath councell and forknowlege.
Job 12:14 If he breake downe a thinge, who can set it vp agayne? If he shut a thing, who wyll open it?
Job 12:15 Beholde, yf he witholde the waters, they drye vp: Yf he let them go, they destroye the earth.
Job 12:16 With hym is strength and wysdome: he knoweth bothe the disceyuer & hym that is disceyued.
Job 12:17 He caryeth awaye the wyse men, as it were a spoyle, and bringeth the iudges out of their wyttes.
Job 12:18 He lowseth the gyrdle of kynges, and gyrdeth theyr loynes with a bonde.
Job 12:19 He ledeth awaye the Preastes in to captyuyte, and turneth the myghtye vpsyde downe.
Job 12:20 He taketh the verite from out of the mouth, & disapoynteth the aged of their wysdome.
Job 12:21 He poureth out confusyon vpon Princes, and comforteth them that haue bene oppressed.
Job 12:22 Loke what lyeth hyd in darcknesse, he declareth it openly: and the very shadowe of death bringet he to lyght.
Job 12:23 He bothe increaseth the people, and destroyeth them: He maketh them to multiplye and driueth them awaye.
Job 12:24 He chaungeth the herte of the Princes and Kynges of the earth and disapoynteth them: so that they go wandringe out of the waye,
Job 12:25 & grope in the darcke without light, stackeringe to and fro lyke droncken men.

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Brenton Translation
1851 by Lancelot Brenton

Job Chapters 13-20

Job 13:1 Behold, mine eye has seen these things, and mine ear has heard [them].
Job 13:2 And I know all that ye too know; and I have not less understanding than you.
Job 13:3 Nevertheless I will speak to the Lord, and I will reason before him, if he will.

Job 13:6 But hear ye the reasoning of my mouth, and attend to the judgment of my lips.
Job 13:7 Do ye not speak before the Lord, and utter deceit before him?
Job 13:8 Or will ye draw back? nay do, ye yourselves be judges.

Job 13:9 For [it were] well if he would thoroughly search you: for though doing all things [in your power] ye should attach yourselves to him,
Job 13:10 he will not reprove you at all the less: but if moreover ye should secretly respect persons,
Job 13:11 shall not his whirlpool sweep you round, and terror from him fall upon you?
Job 13:12 And your glorying shall prove in the end to you like ashes, and your body [like a body] of clay.

Job 13:15 Though the Mighty One should lay hand upon me, forasmuch as he has begun, verily I will speak, and plead before him.
Job 13:16 And this shall turn to me for salvation; for fraud shall have no entrance before him.

Job 13:17 Hear, hear ye my words, for I will declare in your hearing.
Job 13:18 Behold, I am near my judgment: I know that I shall appear evidently just.

Job 13:19 For who is he that shall plead with me, that I should now be silent, and expire?
Job 13:20 But grant me two things: then I will not hide myself from thy face.
Job 13:21 Withhold [thine] hand from me: and let not thy fear terrify me.
Job 13:22 Then shalt thou call, and I will hearken to thee: or thou shalt speak, and I will give thee an answer.
Job 13:23 How many are my sins and my transgressions? teach me what they are.
Job 13:24 Wherefore hidest thou thyself from me, and deemest me thine enemy?
Job 13:25 Wilt thou be startled [at me], as [at] a leaf shaken by the wind? or wilt thou set thyself against me as against grass borne upon the breeze?
Job 13:26 for thou hast written evil things against me, and thou hast compassed me with the sins of my youth.
Job 13:27 And thou hast placed my foot in the stocks; and thou hast watched all my works, and hast penetrated my heels.
Job 13:28 [I am as] that which waxes old like a bottle, or like a moth-eaten garment.

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Job 14:1 For a mortal born of a woman [is] short lived, and full of wrath.
Job 14:2 Or he falls like a flower that has bloomed; and he departs like a shadow, and cannot continue.
Job 14:3 Hast thou not taken account even of him, and caused him to enter into judgment before thee?
Job 14:4 For who shall be pure from uncleanness? not even one;
Job 14:5 if even his life should be [but] one day upon the earth: and his months are numbered by him: thou hast appointed [him] for a time, and he shall by no means exceed [it].

Job 14:6 Depart from him, that he may be quiet, and take pleasure in his life, [though] as a hireling.
Job 14:7 For there is hope for a tree, even if it should be cut down, [that] it shall blossom again, and its branch shall not fail.
Job 14:8 For though its root should grow old in the earth, and its stem die in the rock;
Job 14:9 it will blossom from the scent of water, and will produce a crop, as one newly planted.

Job 14:10 But a man that has died is utterly gone; and when a mortal has fallen, he is no more.
Job 14:11 For the sea wastes in [length of] time, and a river fails and is dried up.
Job 14:12 And man that has lain down [in death] shall certainly not rise again till the heaven be dissolved, and they shall not awake from their sleep.
Job 14:13 For oh that thou hadst kept me in the grave, and hadst hidden me until thy wrath should cease, and thou shouldest set me a time in which thou wouldest remember me!
Job 14:14 For if a man should die, shall he live [again], having accomplished the days of his life? I will wait till I exist again?
Job 14:15 Then shalt thou call, and I will hearken to thee: but do not thou reject the work of thine hands.

Job 14:16 But thou hast numbered my devices: and not one of my sins shall escape thee?
Job 14:17 An thou hast sealed up my transgressions in a bag, and marked if I have been guilty of any transgression unawares.
Job 14:18 And verily a mountain falling will utterly be destroyed, and a rock shall be worn out of its place.
Job 14:19 The waters wear the stones, and waters falling headlong [overflow] a heap of the earth: and thou destroyest the hope of man.
Job 14:20 Thou drivest him to an end, and he is gone: thou settest thy face against him, and sendest him away;
Job 14:21 and though his children be multiplied, he knows [it] not; and if they be few, he is not aware.
Job 14:22 But his flesh is in pain, and his soul mourns.

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Job 15:1 Then Eliphaz the Thaemanite answered and said,
Job 15:2 Will a wise man give for answer a [mere] breath of wisdom? and does he fill up the pain of his belly,
Job 15:3 reasoning with improper sayings, and with words wherein is no profit?
Job 15:4 Hast not thou moreover cast off fear, and accomplished such words before the Lord?
Job 15:5 Thou art guilty by the words of thy mouth, neither hast thou discerned the words of the mighty.
Job 15:6 Let thine own mouth, and not me, reprove thee: and thy lips shall testify against thee.

Job 15:7 What! art thou the first man that was born? or wert thou established before the hills?
Job 15:8 Or hast thou heard the ordinance of the Lord? or has God used thee as [his] counsellor? and has wisdom come [only] to thee?
Job 15:9 For what knowest thou, that, we know not? or what understandest thou, which we do not also?
Job 15:10 Truly among us [are] both the old and very aged man, more advanced in days than thy father.
Job 15:11 Thou hast been scourged for [but] few of thy sins: thou hast spoken haughtily [and] extravagantly.
Job 15:12 What has thine heart dared? or what have thine eyes [aimed at],
Job 15:13 that thou hast vented [thy] rage before the Lord, and delivered such words from [thy] mouth?

Job 15:14 For who, being a mortal, [is such] that he shall be blameless? or, [who that is] born of a woman, that he should be just?
Job 15:15 Forasmuch as he trusts not his saints; and the heaven is not pure before him.
Job 15:16 Alas then, abominable and unclean is man, drinking unrighteousness as a draught.
Job 15:17 But I will tell thee, hearken to me; I will tell thee now what I have seen;
Job 15:18 things wise men say, and their fathers have not hidden.
Job 15:19 To them alone the earth was given, and no stranger came upon them.

Job 15:20 All the life of the ungodly [is spent] in care, and the years granted to the oppressor are numbered.
Job 15:21 And his terror is in his ears: just when he seems to be at peace, his overthrow will come.
Job 15:22 Let him not trust that he shall return from darkness, for he has been already made over to the power of the sword.
Job 15:23 And he has been appointed to be food for vultures; and he knows within himself that he is doomed to be a carcass: and a dark day shall carry him away as with a whirlwind.
Job 15:24 Distress also and anguish shall come upon him: he shall fall as a captain in the first rank.
Job 15:25 For he has lifted his hands against the Lord, and he has hardened his neck against the Almighty Lord.
Job 15:26 And he has run against him with insolence, on the thickness of the back of his shield.
Job 15:27 For he has covered his face with his fat, and made layers of fat upon his thighs.
Job 15:28 And let him lodge in desolate cities, and enter into houses without inhabitant: and what they have prepared, others shall carry away.
Job 15:29 Neither shall he at all grow rich, nor shall his substance remain: he shall not cast a shadow upon the earth.
Job 15:30 Neither shall he in any wise escape the darkness: let the wind blast his blossom, and let his flower fall off.
Job 15:31 Let him not think that he shall endure; for his end shall be vanity.
Job 15:32 His harvest shall perish before the time, and his branch shall not flourish.
Job 15:33 And let him be gathered as the unripe grape before the time, and let him fall as the blossom of the olive.

Job 15:34 For death is the witness of an ungodly man, and fire shall burn the houses of them that receive gifts.
Job 15:35 And he shall conceive sorrows, and his end shall be vanity, and his belly shall bear deceit.

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Job 16:1 But Job answered and said,
Job 16:2 I have heard many such things: poor comforters are ye all.
Job 16:3 What! is there any reason in vain words? or what will hinder thee from answering?
Job 16:4 I also will speak as ye [do]: if indeed your soul were in my [soul’s] stead, (16:5) then would I insult you with words, and I would shake my head at you.
Job 16:5 (16:6) And would there were strength in my mouth, and I would not spare the movement of my lips.
Job 16:6 (16:7) For if I should speak, I shall not feel the pain of my wound: and if I should be silent, how shall I be wounded the less?

Job 16:7 (16:8) But now he has made me weary, and a worn-out fool; and thou hast laid hold of me.
Job 16:8 (16:9) My falsehood has become a testimony, and has risen up against me: it has confronted me to my face.
Job 16:9 (16:10) In his anger he has cast me down; he has gnashed his teeth upon me: the weapons of his robbers have fallen upon me.
Job 16:10 (16:11) He has attacked me with the keen glances of his eyes; with his sharp [spear] he has smitten me [down] upon my knees; and they have run upon me with one accord.
Job 16:11 (16:12) For the Lord has delivered me into the hands of unrighteous men, and thrown me upon the ungodly.
Job 16:12 (16:13) When I was at peace he distracted me: he took me by the hair of the head, and plucked it out: he set me up as a mark.

Job 16:13 (16:14) They surrounded me with spears, aiming at my reins: without sparing [me] they poured out my gall upon the ground.
Job 16:14 (16:15) They overthrew me with fall upon fall: they ran upon me in [their] might.
Job 16:15 (16:16) They sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and my strength has been spent on the ground.

Job 16:16 (16:17) My belly has been parched with wailing, and darkness is on my eyelids.
Job 16:17 (16:18) Yet there was no injustice in my hands, and my prayer is pure.
Job 16:18 (16:19) Earth, cover not over the blood of my flesh, and let my cry have no place.
Job 16:19 (16:20) And now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high.
Job 16:20 (16:21) Let my supplication come to the Lord, and let mine eye weep before him.
Job 16:21 (16:22) Oh that a man might plead before the Lord, even [as] the son of man with his neighbor!
Job 16:22 (16:23) But my years are numbered and [their end] come, and I shall go by the way by which I shall not return.

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Job 17:1 I perish, carried away by the wind, and I seek for burial, and obtain [it] not.
Job 17:2 Weary I intreat; and what have I done? and strangers have stolen my goods.

Job 17:3 Who is this? let him join hands with me.
Job 17:4 For thou hast hid their heart from wisdom; therefore thou shalt not exalt them.
Job 17:5 He shall promise mischief to [his] companions: but [their] eyes have failed for [their] children.

Job 17:6 But thou has made me a byword amount the nations, and I am become a scorn to them.
Job 17:7 For my eyes are dimmed through pain; I have been grievously beset by all.
Job 17:8 Wonder has seized true men upon this; and let the just rise up against the transgressor.

Job 17:9 But let the faithful hold on his own way, and let him that is pure of hands take courage.
Job 17:10 Howbeit, do ye all strengthen [yourselves] and come now, for I do not find truth in you.

Job 17:11 My days have passed in groaning, and my heart-strings are broken.
Job 17:12 I have turned the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
Job 17:13 For if I remain, Hades is my habitation: and my bed has been made in darkness.
Job 17:14 I have called upon death to be my father, and corruption [to be] my mother and sister.
Job 17:15 Where then is yet my hope? or [where] shall I see my good?
Job 17:16 Will they go down with me to Hades, or shall we go down together to the tomb?

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Job 18:1 Then Baldad the Sauchite answered and said,
Job 18:2 How long wilt thou continue? forbear, that we also may speak.
Job 18:3 For wherefore have we been silent before thee like brutes?
Job 18:4 Anger has possessed thee: for what if thou shouldest die; would [the earth] under heaven be desolate? or shall the mountains be overthrown from their foundations?
Job 18:5 But the light of the ungodly shall be quenched, and their flame shall not go up.
Job 18:6 His light [shall be] darkness in [his] habitation, and his lamp shall be put out with him.
Job 18:7 Let the meanest of men spoil his goods, and let his counsel deceive [him].
Job 18:8 His foot also has been caught in a snare, [and] let it be entangled in a net.
Job 18:9 And let snares come upon him: he shall strengthen those that thirst for his destruction.
Job 18:10 His snare is hid in the earth, and that which shall take him is by the path.
Job 18:11 Let pains destroy him round about, and let many [enemies] come about him,
Job 18:12 [vex him] with distressing hunger: and a signal destruction has been prepared for him.
Job 18:13 Let the soles of his feet be devoured: and death shall consume his beauty.

Job 18:14 And let health be utterly banished from his tabernacle, and let distress seize upon him with a charge from the king.
Job 18:15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle in his night: his excellency shall be sown with brimstone.

Job 18:16 His roots shall be dried up from beneath, and his crop shall fall away from above.
Job 18:17 Let his memorial perish out of the earth, and his name shall be publicly cast out.
Job 18:18 Let [one] drive him from light into darkness.
Job 18:19 He shall not be known among his people, nor his house preserved on the earth.
Job 18:20 But strangers shall dwell in his possessions: the last groaned for him, and wonder seized the first.
Job 18:21 These are the houses of the unrighteous, and this is the place of them that know not the Lord.

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Job 19:1 Then Job answered and said,
Job 19:2 How long will ye vex my soul, and destroy me with words? only know that the Lord has dealt with me thus.
Job 19:3 Ye speak against me; ye do not feel for me, but bear hard upon me.

Job 19:4 Yea verily, I have erred in truth, (but the error abides with myself) (19:4A) in having spoken words which it was not right [to speak]; and my words err, and are unreasonable.

Job 19:5 But alas! for ye magnify yourselves against me, and insult me with reproach.

Job 19:6 Know then that it is the Lord that has troubled [me], and has raised his bulwark against me.

Job 19:7 Behold, I laugh at reproach; I will not speak: [or] I will cry out, but [there is] nowhere judgment.
Job 19:8 I am fenced round about, and can by no means escape: he has set darkness before my face.
Job 19:9 And he has stripped me of my glory, and has taken the crown from my head.
Job 19:10 He has torn me around about, and I am gone: and he has cut off my hope like a tree.
Job 19:11 And he has dreadfully handled me in anger, and has counted me for an enemy.
Job 19:12 His troops also came upon me with one accord, liars in wait compassed my ways.

Job 19:13 My brethren have stood aloof from me; they have recognized strangers [rather] than me: and my friends have become pitiless.
Job 19:14 My nearest of kin have not acknowledged me, and they that knew my name, have forgotten me.
Job 19:15 [As for] my household, and my maid-servants, I was a stranger before them.
Job 19:16 I called my servant, and he hearkened not; and my mouth intreated [him].
Job 19:17 And I besought my wife, and earnestly intreated the sons of my concubines.
Job 19:18 But they rejected me for ever; whenever I rise up, they speak against me.
Job 19:19 They that saw me abhorred me: the very persons whom I had loved, rose up against me.

Job 19:20 My flesh is corrupt under my skin, and my bones are held in [my] teeth.
Job 19:21 Pity me, pity me, O friends; for it is the hand of the Lord that has touched me.
Job 19:22 Wherefore do ye persecute me as also the Lord [does], and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Job 19:23 For oh that my words were written, and that they were recorded in a book forever,
Job 19:24 with an iron pen and lead, or graven in the rocks!

Job 19:25 For I know that he is eternal who is about to deliver me,
Job 19:26 [and] to raise up upon the earth my skin that endures these [sufferings]: for these things have been accomplished to me of the Lord;
Job 19:27 which I am conscious of in myself, which mine eye has seen, and not another, but all have been fulfilled to me in [my] bosom.

Job 19:28 But if ye shall also say, What shall we say before him, and [so] find the root of the matter in him?
Job 19:29 Do ye also beware of deceit: for wrath will come upon transgressors; and then shall they know where their substance is.

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Job 20:1 Then Sophar the Minaean answered and said,
Job 20:2 I did not suppose that thou wouldest answer thus: neither do ye understand more than I.
Job 20:3 I will hear my shameful reproach; and the spirit of my understanding answers me.
Job 20:4 Hast thou [not] known these things of old, from the time that man was set upon the earth?
Job 20:5 But the mirth of the ungodly is a signal downfall, and the joy of transgressors is destruction:
Job 20:6 although his gifts should go up to heaven, and his sacrifice reach the clouds.
Job 20:7 For when he shall seem to be now established, then he shall utterly perish: and they that knew him shall say, Where is he?
Job 20:8 Like a dream that has fled away, he shall not be found; and he has fled like a vision of the night.
Job 20:9 The eye has looked upon him, but shall not [see him] again; and his place shall no longer perceive him.

Job 20:10 Let [his] inferiors destroy his children, and let his hands kindle the fire of sorrow.
Job 20:11 His bones have been filled with [vigour of] his youth, and it shall lie down with him in the dust.
Job 20:12 Though evil be sweet in his mouth, [though] he will hide it under his tongue;
Job 20:13 though he will not spare it, and will not leave it, but will keep it in the midst of his throat:
Job 20:14 yet he shall not at all be able to help himself; the gall of an asp is in his belly.
Job 20:15 [His] wealth unjustly collected shall be vomited up; a messenger [of] [wrath] shall drag him out of his house.
Job 20:16 And let him suck the poison of serpents, and let the serpent’s tongue slay him.
Job 20:17 Let him not see the milk of the pastures, nor the supplies of honey and butter.

Job 20:18 He has laboured unprofitably and in vain, [for] wealth of which he shall not taste: [it is] as a lean thing, unfit for food, which he cannot swallow.
Job 20:19 For he has broken down the houses of many mighty men: and he has plundered an habitation, though he built [it] not.

Job 20:20 There is no security to his possessions; he shall not be saved by his desire.
Job 20:21 There is nothing remaining of his provisions; therefore his goods shall not flourish.

Job 20:22 But when he shall seem to be just satisfied, he shall be straitened; and all distress shall come upon him.
Job 20:23 If by any means he would fill his belly, let [God] send upon him the fury of wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him.
Job 20:24 And he shall by no means escape from the power of the sword; let the brazen bow wound him.
Job 20:25 And let the arrow pierce through his body; and let the stars be against his dwelling-place: let terrors come upon him.
Job 20:26 And let all darkness wait for him: a fire that burns not out shall consume him; and let a stranger plague his house.
Job 20:27 And let the heaven reveal his iniquities, and the earth rise up against him.
Job 20:28 Let destruction bring his house to an end; let a day of wrath come upon him.
Job 20:29 This is the portion of an ungodly man from the Lord, and the possession of his goods [appointed him] by the all-seeing [God].

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° Hades, the underground, Sjeool/Sheol = the grave or the place of : break down, corrupt, decompose, disintegrate, fester, foul, mold, molder, perish, putrefy, rot, spoil, a place where Jesus also went for three days.

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