Isaiah  40

 

 

THIS SECTION DEALS WITH ISAIAH’S LATER PROPHECIES (CH. 40-66.).

 

            THE PEOPLE OF GOD COMFORTED IN TRIBULATION

 

The Assyrian struggle is over. The prophet has accepted into the depths

of his spirit God’s announcement that the true spoiler, “the rod of his

anger, and the staff of his indignation,” is not Assyria, but Babylon. He has

accepted the sentence that his people is to go into captivity. Into this future

of his nation he throws himself with a faith, a fervor, and a power of

realization, which are all his own. “The familiar scenes and faces, among

which he has hitherto lived and laboured, have grown dim and disappeared.

All sounds and voices of the present are hushed, and move him no more.

The present has died out of the horizon of his soul’s vision . The voices

in his cars are those of men unborn, and he lives a second life among events

and persons, sins and suffering, and fears and hopes, photographed

sometimes with the minutest accuracy on the sensitive and sympathetic

medium of his own spirit; and he becomes the denouncer of the special sins

of a distant generation, and the spokesman of the faith and hope and

passionate yearning of an exiled nation, the descendants of men living,

when he wrote, in the profound peace of a renewed prosperity” (Stanley,

quoted by Mr. Cheyne, ‘Prophecies of Isaiah,’ vol. 2. p. 213). The primary

idea which occurs to him is that of “comfort.” He will “comfort his people”

in their affliction, so far as in him lies; and he will do this by preaching:

 

  • the recovery of Israel from sin by faith and waiting upon God; and

 

  • their recovery from the bondage to Babylon, which was the

      consequence of sin. In the present chapter it is the former topic

      especially which he urges.

 

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vs. 1-3 – Isaiah has a direct mission from God to “comfort” Israel.

 

"comfort ye my people" - to get the comfort  - sin

must be put away!

 

With comfort comes peace and happiness!

 

 

 

 

v. 2 –“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem-  literally, speak ye to the

heart of Jerusalem. Address her inmost feelings, her very spirit and soul.

Her warfare is accomplished… is pardoned… hath received. Isaiah,

however, sees all as already accomplished in the Divine counsels, and so

announces it to the people.  Israel’s warfare, her long term of hard service

(comp. Job 7:1), will assuredly come to an end; she will thoroughly turn to

God, and then her iniquity will be pardoned, she will be considered to have

suffered enough.

 

v. 3 – “The voice of him that crieth” - rather, the voice of one that

crieth. A voice sounds in the prophet’s ear, crying to repentance. For God

to come down on earth, for His glory to be revealed in any signal way, by

the restoration of a nation, or the revelation of Himself in Christ, or the final

establishment of His kingdom, the “way” must be first “prepared” for Him.

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord-  the “way of the Lord” is “the way of

holiness (Isaiah 35:8).  There is one only mode of “preparing” it — the

mode adopted by John Baptist (Matthew 3:2-12), the mode pointed out by the

angel who announced him (Luke 1:17).

 

v. 4 - “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley

shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low:  and the

crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain”

 

Prepare the hearts of the people for the coming

manifestation of God!

 

v. 5 - "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, all flesh shall see it

together"

 

When the preparation is complete, there shall be a revelation of the glory and

might of Jehovah. The nature of the revelation is for the present shrouded in

darkness; but it is a revelation which is not confined to Israel.  “All flesh

shall see it together - it shall draw to it the attention of the human race at

large. While the restoration of Israel to Palestine is the primary fulfilment

of the prophecy, that restoration clearly does not exhaust its meaning,

which points on to the restoration of all mankind to God’s favour in Christ

by the ejpifa>neia of His advent in the flesh, which has drawn, or will

draw, the eyes of “all flesh.”

 

ejpifa>neia, — ep-if-an’-i-ah; (epiphany)  from (ejpifanh>v); a

manifestation, i.e. (special) the advent of Christ (past or future):

appearing, brightness.

 

"the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it"

 

"the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" – ch. 9:7

vs. 6-8 – “The voice said, Cry” - rather, a voice of one  that sayeth, Cry. It

is a second voice, distinct from that of v. 3, that now reaches the

prophet’s ear — a voice responded to by another. The speakers seem to be

angels, who contrast the perishable nature of man with the enduringness

and unchangingness of God. The point of their discourse is that “the Word

of the Lord endureth for ever” (v. 8), and therefore the preceding

promises (vs. 2, 5) ARE SURE.

 

“All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the

field:  the grass withereth, the flower fadeth:  because the spirit of the

Lord bloweth upon it:  surely the people is grass.  The grass withereth,

the flower fadeth:  but the word of our God will stand for ever”

 

“Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass

away – Matthew 24:35  - Contrast Psalm 103:14-16

 

IT IS IN THE SURENESS OF GOD’S PROMISES THAT IS

ISRAEL’S EXCEEDING COMFORT!

 

v. 9 – 11 - The time of Israel’s restoration has drawn nigh. The preparation

has been made. The promises are now on the verge of receiving their

accomplishment. It is fitting that some one should announce the fact to the nation.

Isaiah calls on the company of prophets living at the time to do so (v. 9). They are

to take up a commanding position, to speak with a loud voice, and to

proclaim the good tidings to Zion, to Jerusalem, and to the cities of Judah

(comp. Isaiah 44:26). The terms of the proclamation are then given

(vs. 10, 11).

 

God loves His flock, He cares for His flock, He guides His flock,

He guards His flock, and He feeds His flock.

 

He is the Great Shepherd - "all we like sheep have

gone astray and turned everyone unto his own way"

 

vs. 12-31 – HOW GREAT GOD IS! - THE MIGHT AND GREATNESS

OF GOD CONTRASTED WITH THE WEAKNESS OF MAN AND

THE FUTILITY OF IDOLS. If captive Israel is to be induced to turn’ to God,

and so hasten the time of its restoration to His favor and to its own land, it must

be by rising to a worthy conception of the nature and attributes of the Almighty.

The prophet, therefore, in the remainder of this chapter, paints in glorious language

the power and greatness, and at the same time the mercy, of God, contrasting Him

with man (vs. 15-17, 23, 28-31), with idols (vs. 19, 20), and with the framework

of material things (vs. 21, 22, 26), and showing His infinite superiority to each and all.

In contrasting Him with man, he takes occasion to bring into prominence His

goodness and loving-kindness to man, to whom he imparts a portion of His own

might and strength (vs. 29-31 ).

v. 12 - Who hath measured the waters” - (comp.Proverbs 30:4

and Job 38:4-6). The might of God is especially shown in creation,

which Isaiah assumes to be God’s work. How infinitely above man must He

be, who arranged in such perfection, “by measure and number and weight”

(Wisd. 11:20), the earth, the waters, and the heavens, so proportioning

each to each as to produce that admirable order and regularity which the

intelligent observer cannot but note in the material universe as among its

chief characteristics!

 

meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the

earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the

hills in a balance”

 

Romans 1:20 - "The invisible things of the world are

clearly seen, being understood by the things that are

made, even His eternal power and Godhead!"

 

vs. 13-14 - He did it alone! - "the Lord by wisdom

            founded the earth - by understanding He

            established the heavens" - Prov. 3:19

 

He “moved,” or “brooded,” upon the face of the waters, and thence began the

change, or series of changes, by which order was produced out of confusion.

The Spirit of the Lord “directed,” or regulated, these changes;

 

 

v. 15 – “the nations are as a drop of a bucket….small as dust on a scale

            ….isles…a very little thing - the world in perspective – drop

            from a bucket and is not noted - small as dust which does not disturb

            the equilibrium in trade.   v. 17  - they are accounted of God as

            ephes, nothingness, and tohu, chaos or confusion.

 

v. 16 – Lebanon is not sufficient to burn” - the prophet says, even if man were

            to burn all Lebanon as firewood on God’s altar, and offer there all the

            (clean) beasts of the entire tract, still God would be put under no obligation.

            Man would even then have paid less than his debt.

 

vs. 18, 21-22 – IS GOD NOT UNIQUE AND INCOMPARABLE?

 

Is there anyone who is so devoid of natural reason and understanding, as not

to know that which has been known  from the beginning? Has not it been

handed down from father to son from time memorial?  If not how did the

string get broken with you?

 

Creation is God's "sole act"!

 

v. 22 – “It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the

            inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out

            the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent

            to dwell in”                                                          

 

v. 23 - "princes to nothing" - "judges as vanity" – THE JUDICIAL

            BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT IN UNITED STATES IS

            SUBJECT TO BE PROVEN “VANITY” – AS IN V. 17 –

            TO BE AS ephes, nothingness, and tohu, chaos or confusion

            (same word as in v. 17).  (CY – 2009)

 

v. 24 – “They shall not be planted… shall not be sown… shall not

take root” – The verbs are all of them in the past tense. Translate, have not

been planted,sown, etc. The meaning is that princes and judges of the

earth are not fixed in their places, have no firm root in the soil, are easily

overturned. Even if the case were different, a breath from the Almighty

would, as a matter of course, dry them up (see v. 7) and blow them

away – “as stubble -  (comp. Isaiah 5:24 – “Therefore as the fire

devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root

shall be as rottenness and their blossom shall go up as dust:  because

they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts and despised the

word of the Holy One of Israel

 

Jesus said  Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the

key of knowledge:  ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were

entering in ye hindered”

 

OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS MAINLY BASED ON LAWYERS AND

JUDGES AND IF THEY DO NOT REPRESENT ADEQUATELY

THE GOD OF THE EARTH WHO ONLY DOETH RIGHT – Genesis

18:25 – THEN THERE IS ONLY TO LOOK FOR “A FIERY JUDGMENT”

 

We do not have to wonder how modern judges rule on this issue of

sodomy and homosexuality dealt with in Genesis 18-19 – modern

jurisprudence has left a paper trail for all the world to see!

 

Below is how I feel on the subject as Pulaski and McCreary counties in

Kentucky have been in the news again this week – March 15-22, 2009 –

also I am attaching a picture of the Ten Commandments that was in

question in Pulaski County – it now resides in a two-room restored

elementary school called Pisgah, south of Somerset, Kentucky – I had

the privilege of attending this school in the 2nd and 3rd grades – CY – 2009

 

 

 

 

 

I heard recently that at least a quarter of Kentucky schools still have copies of the Ten

Commandments in them.  I say “Hooray” for them.

 

It is not in the best interest of Kentuckians to see constantly in the news the latest efforts

of The American Civil Liberty Union’s attempt to harass the general public into secularism

and have that endeavor portrayed by the media as some heroic contribution.

 

I for one, get tired of reading in local and state papers wire stories designed to desensitize

the citizenry.

 

If a democracy is majority rule then how can an organization of 285,000 members in a total

population of 260,000,000, (.001%) have so much damaging affect on American society,

unless they have captured the judiciary both in London, Ky. and Washington, D. C

 

How such an organization can emphasize some parts of the First Amendment to the U.S.

Constitution and ignore another part is beyond me, unless their agenda is to neuter the right

of Kentuckians to the “free exercise of religion”.

 

The Supreme Court of the United States (it would be interesting to know how many judges in

lower courts, as well as justices on the high court since 1920, are/were card carriers of the

ACLU, thus a conflict of interest) fairs no better when it comes to dealing with that

non-Constitutional phrase “separation of the church and state”.  How organization &

institution overlooks the fact that five of the original 13 states carried established churches

into statehood  is puzzling, unless there is a neutering of religion in Kentucky and America

agenda.

 

Name one positive act or contribution that the ACLU has done since its inception that has the

class or impression:

 

  • of a Sweet Sixteen pre-game prayer with 23,000 people with their head                 

        bowed in reverence to their Creator in Rupp Arena.

 

  • that exhibits the innocent simplicity of a heart felt thanksgiving to God                

        offered by a graduating high school senior at Commencement.

 

  • that has the eternal significance of ONE Bacculaureate service in a

        Christian school (in the old days of a typical Kentucky High School).

 

  • that equals the effect of a one-time reading of the Ten Commandments                  

        posted in a McCreary County Courthouse by an anonymous passer-by.

 

  • that one stay-at-home Kentucky mother accomplishes in one day in       

        teaching her children how to behave (or home schooling these days)

 

  • of a single reading from the Bible, by my teacher in a two room country                  

        schoolhouse in Pulaski County in the 1950’s.  (if it was not for the statute of

        limitations, with the zeal of the current ACLU leadership, it would not  

        surprise me to hear via the Courier-Journal of a impending lawsuit.)

 

  • of one Kentucky citizen that has the courage, in this day of political      

        correctness intimidations of thought police, to display the Ten Commandments

        in his/her yard.

 

 

Our local library poses this query, “What if all Kentuckians read the same book?”

Well, they used to, it was called the Bible, they believed it, they lived it and they withstood

Satan to his face, something that this generation obviously does not do by their toleration

of the influence of such a minority DENOMINATION as the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

Carl Yahnig

 

 

 

 

Front Page of The Commonwealth Journal and Front of Pisgah Schoolhouse

 

 

              

                    

          Back of Pisgah Schoolhouse and Note from First Lady Laura Bush

vs. 25-26 – OMNIPOTENCE ALONE could have created

            the starry host – OMNISCIENCE IS REQUIRED  to

            know their number and their names!

 

Not one fails - the stars are looked upon as God's army!

 

Order - measured by His hand, set in proportion to one

another and sustained for eons  - all from one hand, from

one mind, working without assistance, without advice from

you or me, originating from God's inexhaustible stores of

wisdom and knowledge - all obeying His every behest!

 

I reiterate:

 

Order - measured by His hand, set in proportion to one

another and sustained for eons  - all from one hand, from

one mind, working without assistance, without advice from

you or me, originating from God's inexhaustible stores of

wisdom and knowledge - all obeying His every behest!

 

v. 27

 

vs. 28-31 – “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the

            everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth,

            fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His

            understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have

            no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be

            weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon

            the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings

            as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and

            not faint.

 

 

v. 28 –Hast thou not known? Complaining Israel is bidden to stay

itself upon God, as

 

  • everlasting;
  • the Creator;
  • unwearied;
  • unsearchable;

 

and is then further consoled by the promise that God will give them

strength to endure; support them, refresh them, and, as it were, renew the

youth of the nation (vers. 29, 31) –“Creator of the ends of the earth - i.e.

“Creator even of the remotest ends,” and therefore of the whole earth.

Fainteth not” - (comp. Psalm 121:3, 4). If God were for a moment to

faint” or “be weary,” to “slumber” or “sleep,” the whole fabric of nature

would fail and disappear, universal chaos would set in, all moral order

would cease — probably all existence, except His own, sink into

nothingness. God is wholly free from whatsoever is weak or defective in

man – “no searching” - (see Job 5:9; 9:10; 11:7; Psalm 147:5;

Ecclesiastes 3:11). God’s ways being unsearchable, his servants must

trust him to accomplish their deliverance in his own good time.

 

 

 

                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

 

                             vs. 1-2 - Comfort After Trouble.

 

God “has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth;” it is no satisfaction to

Him to punish. As soon as ever those whom He is forced to punish will

submit to the chastening rod in a proper spirit, and allow the staff of the

Divine indignation to have its due effect upon them, God is ready to

comfort. God the Holy Ghost is the One True Comforter. He and he alone

can pour balm into the heart, quiet the conscience, enable the stricken soul

to feel that it is once more at one with God. A few words may be said on

 

  • the conditions of comfort;
  • the methods of comfort; and
  • the proper results of comfort.

 

I. THE CONDITIONS OF COMFORT. As trouble comes upon us to

punish sin, the first condition of our receiving comfort is that sin be put

away. The next is that we implore God’s pardon for our past

transgressions, and acknowledge the justice of His chastisement. The third

is that we pray to Him of His great goodness to remit His anger, and speak

comfort to our souls, and pour His peace into our hearts. If we neglect any

of these conditions, we have no right to expect that God will bless us with

the great blessing of His comforting grace, which is not, like the rain and

sunshine, an ordinary blessing of His providence, but is a special boon

reserved for those who have prepared themselves to receive it.

 

II. THE METHODS OF COMFORT. God sometimes comforts us

through the instrumentality of our fellow-men. Job’s friends were

miserable comforters, all of them” (Job 16:2); but it is not always so

with the afflicted. The kind sympathy of friends, the wise counsel of

spiritual guides, is often blessed by God to the relief and solace of those

who are in trouble. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” was His address

to the prophets of Israel (v. 1); and we may be assured that His Spirit

went with the month of His prophets, and made the comfort which they

strove to give effectual. Again, sometimes He comforts us by His Word.

Many a time has the despairing soul found peace and joy in the promises of

the gospel, which are indeed potent to raise up hope in the most

despondent, and to comfort the most unhappy. But frequently — perhaps

we may say mostly — God gives His comfort Himself, without

intermediary. The stricken soul strays itself’ upon Him, leans on Him, makes

its moan to Him; and He “comes to it,” and with His blessed presence puts

an end to the soul’s trouble, dispels the darkness, drives away despair and

fear, infuses hope, breathes peace, imparts comfort (see Psalm 71:2;

Isaiah 51:3; 66:13; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:17.

 

III. THE RESULTS OF COMFORT. The immediate result of comfort is

peace and happiness. The soul comforted by God is at least contented,

blissful. The further results should be:

 

  • gratitude for the great mercy and loving-kindness showed to us;

 

  • perseverance in well-doing, the fruit and necessary result of gratitude,

            the chief means which creatures have of showing forth their

            thankfulness to God for any and every mercy vouchsafed to them;

 

  • praise and thanksgiving, the natural utterance of the mouth, when the

            heart is really touched with gratitude, and sensible of God’s goodness.

            As David says, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits

            toward me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name

            of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord… in the presence of all

            His people… I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will

            call upon the Name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12-17).

 

                                    vs. 4-8 - God’s Promises Sure.

 

With Isaiah it is enough that “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” a thing

(Isaiah 1:20; 40:5). “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the

son of man, that he should repent” (Numbers 23. 19). What He has

promised, He will perform; what He has said, He will do, in the sense in

which He said it. It is true, His promises are of two kinds

 

  • unconditional, and
  • conditional; and, though both kinds are sure, they are not sure

            in the same way.

 

I. GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL PROMISES ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN

OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. God has promised that He will never again

destroy mankind by a flood (Genesis 9:11). He has pledged Himself that

while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and

summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

 

By his Son He has declared that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against

his Church” (Matthew 16:18), that He will send His Son to earth a

second time to judge the quick and dead (Matthew 25:31-45), and that

then the wicked “shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the

righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). These are unconditional

promises, and are absolutely certain of fulfillment. Nothing can come in

their way. God’s veracity is pledged to them, and, as He is true, He must

and will bring them to pass.

 

II. GOD’S CONDITIONAL PROMISES ARE CERTAIN OF

ACCOMPLISHMENT, IF THE CONDITION REFULFILLED.

The bulk of God’s promises to mankind are “covenant promises,” and, by the

nature of a “covenant promise,” they depend on a condition or conditions

which have to be fulfilled. The promises to the Israelites that they should

possess Canaan, to David that his seed should sit upon his throne, and to captive

Israel that it should be restored, were of this nature. So are all promises of

temporal and spiritual blessings to individuals. Even where the condition is

not expressed, it is understood. A single example will suffice to show the

nature of this kind of promise. A covenant was made with David to

establish his seed for ever, and set up his throne to all generations

(Psalm 89:3, 4). This covenant was to stand fast, so long as his children

walked in his ways. If, however, they forsook God’s Law, and walked not

in His judgments; if they broke His statutes, and kept not His

commandments, then their transgressions were to be visited with the rod,

and their iniquity with stripes. The Anointed of the Lord was to be cut off

and abhorred; the covenant with him was to be made void, “thou hast made

void the covenant….and hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground”

to be cast to the ground (Psalm 89:30-39). In these cases God’s part of

the covenant remains sure; it is man’s which is uncertain. If man fails, then

God is, by his very faithfulness, bound to mark his sense of the failure by

non-fulfilment of the promises which were made conditional on a certain

course of human action. Unless man fails, God’s promises remain firm. No

one can pretend to point out any case in which the covenant has been

observed by man, and God’s part in it has been that of a defaulter.

 

                       

                        vs. 12, 22, 26 - God in Creation.

 

Creation tells of God in many ways. “The heavens declare the glory of

God; and the firmament showeth his handywork: day unto day uttereth

speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge” (Psalm 19:1, 2).

“The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen,

being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and

Godhead” (Romans 1:20). Here we have noted especially:

 

 

I. GOD’S MARVELLOUSNESS IN CREATION.

 

  • The very act of creation is the most marvellous of all marvels. For what

is creation but the production of something out of nothing? — a seeming

contradiction, at any rate a strange paradox. Isaiah affects strongly the use

of the word bara (Isaiah 4:5; 40:26; 41:20; 45:8, 12, 18, etc.), which, if

not confined to the sense of “producing out of nothing,” at any rate

includes that sense (Gesenius, ‘Lex. Hebrews,’ ad voc.).

 

  • And the marvellousness of creation is enhanced by the vastness of

creation: sun, moon, planets, stars; the incalculable distances of space —

the nebulae, either unformed stars, or infinitely distant solar systems like

that of which our system forms a part; the Milky Way, or outer edge of our

own system, set so thick with stars that they seem to form a continuous

girdle of light.

 

  • The perfect order of creation: all things weighed out and measured by

God’s hand in set proportions one to another; all keeping their appointed

courses without collision or confusion; observing their respective times and

seasons; displaying an infinite variety, which, however, is all ordered and

regulated.

 

  • And by the unity of creation: all of it from one hand, from one mind,

working without assistance, without counsel (vs. 13, 14), from its own

inexhaustible stores of wisdom and knowledge; and all of it subject to that

one mind and obeying its every behest (v. 26).

 

II. GOD’S GOODNESS IN CREATION. God does not leave His creation

alone, to stand or fall by its own inherent strength. Every part of it is

upheld by Him, maintained in existence by Him, enabled by Him to perform

the task which He has set it. The “way” of no part of His creation is “hid

from Him” (v. 27). Each star is known by name, and the starry hosts are

marshalled “by number,” and led forth in their stately march, so that “not

one faileth (v. 26). So with His moral creatures. They too are upheld;

power” and “strength” are given to them continually (v. 29); He who

sustains them is “never faint, never weary;” a way is contrived for them by

which they may “renew their strength” (v. 31). Doubtless there is this

difference. Material things are absolutely upheld, and prevented from

failing; God’s moral creation is not absolutely upheld. It is given a

sufficiency of help (2 Corinthians 12:9), but is not compelled to accept

the gift. If man wills to perish, he must perish. Though God’s grace is

sufficient for him,” he can reject that gracehe can thwart the will of

God, who “wouldeth not that any should perish, but that all should come

to repentance.” Were it otherwise, he would be a machine, and not a moral

being.

 

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