Table of Contents
First Book of Machabees(Part Four)
The 12th Chapter
Jonathas seeing that the time was mete (worthy) for him, chose certain men and sent them to Rome for to stablish and renew the friendship with them. He sent letters also unto Sparta (kjv = the Lacedemonians) and to other places in like manner. So they went unto Rome, and entered into the council, (kjv = senate) and said: Jonathas the high priest and the people of the Jews sent us unto you, for to renew the old friendship and bond of love. Upon this the Romans gave them free passports, that men should lead them home into the land of Jewry peaceably. And this is a copy of the letters that Jonathas wrote unto Sparcians: (kjv =the Lacedemonians)
Jonathas the high priest with the elders, priests, and the other people of the Jews, send greeting unto the Sparcians their brethren. There were letters sent long ago unto Onias the high priest, from Arius (kjv =Darius) which then reigned among you: that you are our brethren, as the writing made thereupon, specifies. And Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent, honorably, and received the letters: wherein there was mention of the bond of love and friendship. But as for us, we need no such writings: for why ? we have the holy books of scripture in our hands to our comfort. Nevertheless we had rather send unto you, for the renewing of the brotherhood and friendship: least we should be strange unto you, for it is long, since the time that you sent words unto us. Wherefore in the sacrifices which we offer and other ceremonies upon the high solemn days and other, we always remember you without ceasing (like as reason is, and as it becomes us to think upon our brethren) yes and are right glad of your prosperous honor.
And though we have had great troubles and wars, so that the kings about us have fought against us: Yet we would not be grievous unto you nor to others of our lovers and friends in these wars. For we have had help from heaven, so that we are delivered, and our enemies subdued. Wherefore we chose Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater he son of Jason, and sent them unto the Romans, for to renew the old bond of friendship and love with them. We commanded them also to come unto you, to salute you, and to deliver you our letters, concerning the renovation of our brotherhood. And now you shall do right well, to give us an answer there unto.
And this is the copy of the writing which Arius (kjv=Oniares) the king of Sparta (kjv= the Lacedemonians) sent unto Onias: Arius the king of the Sparcians sends greeting unto Onias the high priest. It is found in writing, that the Sparcians and Jews are
brethren, and come out of the generation of Abraham. And now for so much as this is come to our knowledge, you shall do well, to write unto us of your prosperity. As for us, we have written our mind unto you: Our cattle and goods are yours, and yours ours. These things have we commanded to be showed unto you.
When Jonathas heard, that Demetrius princes were come to fight against him, with a greater host than before, he went from Jerusalem, and met them in the land of
Hemath, (kjv=Amathis) for he gave them no space to come into his own country. And he sent spies unto their tents, which came again and told him that they were appointed to come upon them in the night season. Wherefore so soon as the sun was down, Jonathas commanded his men to watch all the night, and be ready with weapons for to fight: and set watchmen round about the host. But when the adversaries heard that Jonathas was ready with his men to the battle, they feared, and were afraid in their hearts, and kindled fires in their tents, break up, and got them away. Nevertheless Jonathas and his company knew it not till the morning, for they saw the fires (kjv = lights) burning.
Then Jonathas followed upon them, but he might not overtake them, for they were gone over the water Eleutherus. So Jonathas departed unto the Arabians, (who were called Zabadei) slew them, and took their goods. He proceeded further also, and came unto Damascus, and went through all that country. But Simon his brother took his journey and came to Ascalon, and to the next strong holds: departing unto Joppa, and won it. For he had heard that they would stand of Demetrius part: wherefore he set men of war into the city, to keep it. After this came Jonathas home again, and called the elders of the people together, and devised with them for to build up the strong holds in Jewry, and the walls of Jerusalem, to set up an high wall between the castle and the city, for to separate it from the city, that so it might be alone, and that men should neither buy nor sell in it.
Upon this they came together for to build up the city: and for much as the wall upon the brook on the west (kjv =east) side (called Caphenthetah) was fallen down, they repaired it. And Simon set up Adiadah in Sephelah, and made it strong setting ports and locks upon it. Now Tryphon went purposed to reign in Asia, to be crowned, and to slay the king Antiochus: he was afraid that Jonathas would not suffer (allow) him, but would fight against him. Wherefore he went about to take Jonathas, and to kill him. So he departed, and came unto Bethsan. Then went Jonathas forth against him to the battle with forty thousand chosen men, and came unto Bethsan also. But when Tryphon saw that Jonathas came with so great an Host to destroy him, he was afraid: and therefore received him honorably, commended him unto all his friends, and gave him rewards, and commanded his men of war to be as obedient unto him, as to himself.
And said unto Jonathas: Why have you caused this people to take such travail, seeing there is no war between us? Therefore send them home again, and choose certain men to wait upon you, and come you with me to Ptolemais: for I will give it you, with the other strong holds, men of war and their officers: As for me, I must depart this is only the cause of my coming. Jonathas believed him, and did as he said, putting away his host, which went into the land of Juda. He kept but three thousand by him, whereof he sent two thousand into Galilee, and one thousand went with himself.
Now as soon as Jonathas entered into Ptolemais, the citizens sparred the gates of the city, and took him, and slew all them with the sword, that came in with him. Then sent Tryphon an Host of footmen and horsemen into Galilee and into the great plain field, to destroy all Jonathass company. But when they knew that Jonathas was taken, and they slain that waited upon him: they took counsel together, and came forth ready to the battle. So when they which followed upon them, saw that it was a matter of life, they turned back again. As for the other, they went into the land of Juda peaceably, and bewailed Jonathas, and them that were with him right sore: And Israel made great lamentation. Then all the Heathen that were round about them, sought to destroy them For they said: now they have no captain, nor any man to help them, Therefore let us overcome them, and root out their name from among men.
The 13th Chapter
Now when Simon heard that Tryphon gathered a great Host, to come into the land of Juda, and to destroy it, And saw that the people was in great fearfulness and care: He came up to Jerusalem, and gathered the people together, and gave them exhortation, saying: you know what great battles I and my brethren, and my fathers house, have stricken for the law and the Sanctuary, and what manner of troubles we have seen: Through occasion whereof, all my brethren are slain for Israels sake, and I am left alone. And now let me not spare mine own life in any manner of trouble, for I am no better than my brethren: but will avenge my people and the Sanctuary, our children and our wives: for all the Heathen are gathered together to destroy us of very malice.
In these words the hearts of the people were kindled together, so that they cried with a loud voice, saying: You shall be our captain instead of Judas and Jonathas your brother, order you our battle, and whatsoever you commanded us, we shall do it. So he gathered all the men of war, making haste to finish the walls of Jerusalem, which he made strong round about. Then sent he Jonathas the son of Absolomus with a fresh host unto Joppa, which drove them out that were in the castle, and remained there himself. Tryphon also removed from Ptolemais with a great army, to come into the land of Juda, and Jonathas with him in ward. And Simon pitched his tents at Addus before the plain field.
But when Tryphon knew that Simon stood up instead of his brother Jonathas, and that he would war against him: he sent messengers unto him, saying: Whereas we have kept Jonathas your brother, it is for money that he is owing in the kings accompte (may be accomplishments/ account), concerning the business that he had in hand. Wherefore send now an hundred talents of silver, and his two sons for surety, that when he is let forth he shall not forsake us: and we shall send him again. Nevertheless Simon knew, that he disassembled in his words: yet commanded he the money and the children to be delivered unto him: least he should be the greater enemy against the people of Israel, and said: because he sent him not the money and the children, therefore is Jonathas dead.
So Simon sent him the children and an hundred talents, but he dissembled and would not let Jonathas go. Afterward came Tryphon into the land, to destroy it, and went round about by the way, that leads unto Adora: But wheresoever they went, there went Simon and his host also. Now they that were in the castle, sent messengers unto Tryphon, that he should make haste to come by the wilderness, and to send them victuals: And Tryphon made ready all his horsemen to come that same night. Nevertheless it was a very great snow, so that he came not in Galaadithim. And when he drew near Baschama, he slew Jonathas and his sons there, and then turned for to go into his own land.
Then sent Simon for to set his brothers dead corpse, and buried it in Modin his fathers city. So all Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him very long. And Simon made upon the sepulchre of his father and his brethren a building high to look unto of free stone behind and before: and set up seven pillars, (kjv = seven pyramids) one against another, (for his father, and his mother, and four brethren) and set great pillars round about, with arms upon them for a perpetual memory, and carved ships beside the arms: that they might be seen of men sailing in the sea.
Now Tryphon went forth to walk with the young king Antiochus, he slew him treacherously, and he reigned in his stead, crowned himself king of Asia, and did much evil in the land. Simon also built up the castles in Jewry, making them strong with high towers, great walls, ports, and locks, and laid up victuals in the strongholds. And Simon chose certain men, and sent them to king Demetrius: to desire him, that he would discharge the land from all bondage, for Tryphon had spoiled it very sore. Where upon Demetrius the king answered him, and wrote unto him after this manner.
Demetrius the king sends greeting unto Simon the high priest his friend, with the elders and people of the Jews. The golden crown and precious stone that you sent unto us, have we received: and are ready to make a steadfast peace with you, yea and to write unto our officers, for to release you, concerning the things wherein we made you free: and the and the appointment that we make with you shall be firm and stable. The strong holds which you have builded, shall be your own. As for any over sight or fault committed unto this day, we forgive it, and the crown tax that you owe us also. And where as was any other tribute in Jerusalem, it shall now be no tribute: And look who are mete (worthy) among you to be in our court, let them be written up, that there may be peace between us.
Thus the yoke of the Heathen was taken from Israel, in the hundred and seventieth year. And the people of the Jews began to write in their letters and acts on this manner. In the first year of Simon the high priest, and prince of the Jews.
In those days went Simon unto Gaza, and besieged it round about, where he set up ordinance of war. And won a tower which he took. So they got into the tower leapt in the city, which was in a great fear: Insomuch that the people of the city rent their clothes, and climbed up upon the walls with their wives and children, beseeching Simon to be at one with them: saying:
O' reward us not after our wickedness, but be gracious unto us, and we shall do you service. Then Simon for very pity, would fight no more against them, but put them out of the city, and caused the houses (wherein the Images were) to be cleansed: and so entered the city with Psalms of praise, giving thanks unto the Lord. (kjv leaves out thanks unto the Lord) So when he had cast all abominations out of the city, he set much men in it as to keep the law of God (kjv leaves out "of God") and made the city strong and builded a dwelling place for himself.
Now when they in the castle at Jerusalem were kept so straightly, that they could not come forth, nor into the country, and might neither buy nor sell: they were very hungry, and many of them famished to death: In so much that they besought Simon to be at one with them, which he granted them. So he had put them out from that place, and cleansed the castle from filthiness. And upon the twenty third day of the second month in the hundred seventy first year they entered into it with thanksgiving and branches of palm trees, with harps, *crowdes, (may be chords "stringed instruments") cymbals, and*lutes, (half pear shaped stringed instruments) singing psalmes, and songs of praise unto God, for that the great enemy of Israel was over come.
And Simon ordained that same day should be kept every year in gladness, and made strong the hill of the temple that was beside the castle, where he dwelt himself with his company. Simon also perceiving that Jhon his son was a mighty man of arms, made him captain of all the hosts, and caused him to dwell at Gaza.
The 14th Chapter
In the hundred and seventy second year gathered king Demetrius his host, and departed unto Media, to get him help for to fight against Tryphon. Now when Arsaces the king of Persia and Media heard, that Demetrius was entered within his borders: he sent one of his princes to take him alive, and to bring him unto him. So he went and slew Demetrius host, took himself, brought him to Arsaces, which kept him inward. And all the land of Juda was in rest, so long as Simon lived for he sought the wealth of his people, therefore were they glad to have him for their ruler, and to do him worship alway.
Simon won the city of Joppa for an haven town, and made it an entrance into the Isles of the sea. He enlarged the borders of his people, and conquered them more lands: He gathered up many of their people that were prisoners: he had the dominion of Gaza, Bethsura, and the castle, which he cleansed from filthiness, and there was no man that resisted him: So that every man tilled his own ground in peace, the land of Juda and the trees gave their fruit and increase. The elders sat all in judgement, (kjv=in the streets, communing together of good things) and took their devise for the wealth of the land: the young men put on *worship and harness upon them. (kjv =glorious and warlike apparel) He provided victuals for the cities, and made goodly strong holds of them: so that the fame of his worship was spoken unto the end of the world. For he made peace throughout the land, and Israel was full of mirth and joy.
Every man sat under his vine and his fig trees, and there was no man to *fray (wear down, dispute, frighten) them away. There was none in the land to fight against them, for then the kings were overcome. He helped those that were in adversity among his people, he was diligent to see the law kept: as for such as were ungodly and wicked he took them away. He set up the Sanctuary, and increased the holy vessels of the temple.
When the Romans and Spartians had gotten word, that Jonathas was dead, they were right sorry. But when they heard that Simon his brother was made high priest in his stead, and how he had won the land again with the cities in it: They wrote unto him in tables of latin (kjv = brass) to renew the friendship, bond of love, which they had made before with Judas and Jonathas his brethren. Which writings were read before the congregation at Jerusalem.
And this is the copy of the letters, that the Spartians (kjv = Lacedemonians) sent: The Senators and citizens of Sparta send greeting unto Simon the great priest with the elders, priests, and the other people of the Jews their brethren: When your ambassadors that were sent unto our people, certified us of your worship, honor and prosperous wealth: we were glad of their coming, and have written the errand which they spoke before the council of the people: namely, that Numenius the son of Antiochus, And Antipater son of Jason the Jews ambassadors are come unto us, for to
renew the old friendship with us. Upon this the people consented, that the men should be honorably entreated, and that the copy of their errand should be written in the special books of the people, for a perpetual memory unto to the Spartians: yes and that we should send a copy of the same unto Simon the great Priest.
After this did Simon send Numenius unto Rome, with a golden shield of a thousand pound weight to confirm the friendship with them: which when the Romans understood, they said: What thanks shall we recompense again unto Simon and his children? For he has stablished his brethren and overcome the enemies of Israel. Wherefore they grant him to be free. And all this wrote the Jews in tablets of latin, and nailed it unto the pillars upon the mount Sion. The copy of the writing is this:
The eighteenth day of the month Elul, in the hundred and seventy second year in the third year of Simon the high priest, in the great congregation of the priests, rulers of the people, and elders of the country at Asarame, (kjv = Saramel) were these words openly declared:
For so much as there was much war in our land, therefore Simon the son of Matathiah (come of the children of Jareb ) and his brethren, put themselves in peril, and resisted the enemies of their people: * that their Sanctuary and law might be maintained, (* this line not in the kjv) and did their people great worship. Jonathas in like manner, after that he had governed his people and been their high priest: died, and lays buried beside his elders.
After that would their enemies have trodden their holy things under foot, destroyed their land, and utterly wasted their Sanctuary. Then Simon withstood them, and fought for his people, spent much of his own money, weaponed the valiant men of his people, gave them wages, made strong the cities of Juda, with Bethsura, that lies upon the borders of Jewry (where the ordinance of their enemies lay sometime) and set Jews there for to keep it.
He made fast Joppa also, which lies upon the sea, and Gaza that borders upon Azotus (where the enemies dwelt before) and there he set Jews to keep it: and whatsoever was mete (worthy) for the subduing of the adversaries, that laid he therein. Now when the people saw the noble acts of Simon, and what worship he purposed to do for them, his godly behavior, and faithfulness which he kept unto them, and how he sought by all ways the wealth of his people, because he did all this, therefore they chose him to be their prince and high priest. And in his time they prospered well by him, so that the Heathen were taken out of their land: and they also which were in the city of David at Jerusalem in the castle (where they went out and defiled all the things that were about the Sanctuary, and did great harm unto cleanliness), and set up the walls of Jerusalem.
And King Demetrius confirmed him in his high priesthood, made him his friend, and did him great worship. For he heard that the Romans called the Jews their friends, lovers and brethren: how honorably they received Simons ambassadors: how the Jews and priests consented that he should be their prince and high priest perpetually (till God raised up the true prophet) and that he should be their captain, to care for the Sanctuary, and set officers upon the works thereof, over the land, over the weapons, over the houses of defense, to make provision for the holy things, and to be obeyed of every man, and all the writings in the land to be made in his name: that he should be clothed in purple and gold, that it should be lawful for none of the people nor priests to break any of these things, to withstand his words, nor call any congregation in the land without him: that he should be clothed in purple and wear a collar of gold: And if there be any which disobeyed or break this ordinance, that he should be punished.
So all the people consented to allow Simon to do according to these words. Simon also himself took it upon him, and was content to be high priest, the captain and prince of the Jews and priests, and to govern them all. And they commanded to maker this writing in tables of latin (kjv =brass) and fasten it to the compass of the Sanctuary in an open place: and to lay up a copy of the same in the treasury, that Simon and his posterity might have it.
The 15th Chapter
Moreover, king Antiochus the son of Demetrius sent letters from the Isles of the sea, unto Simon the high priest and prince of the Jews, and to all the people, containing these words: Antiochus the king sends greeting unto Simon the high priest and to the people of the Jews For so much as certain wicked (kjv =pestilent) men have gotten the kingdom of our progenitors, I am purposed to challenge the realm again, and to restore it to the old estate.
Wherefore I have gathered a great host (kjv =multitude of foreign soldiers) and made ships of war: that I may go through the country, and be avenged of them which have destroyed our land, and wasted many cities in my realm. And now therefore I make you free also from all the tributes, whereof all kings my progenitors have charged you, and from other customs (where from they have released you) whatsoever they be: Yes I give you leave to smite money of your own within your land. As for Jerusalem, I will that it be holy and free: and all the weapons and houses of defense which you have builded and keep in your hands, shall be yours. Where as anything is or shall be owing unto the king. I forgive it you, from this time forth for evermore. And when we have obtained our kingdom, we shall do you, your people and the temple great worship: so that your honor shall be known throughout the whole world.
In the hundred and seventy fourth year went Antiochus into his fathers land, and all the men of war came together unto him, so that few were left with Tryphon. So the king Antiochus followed upon him, but he fled unto Dora, which lies by the sea side: for he saw that there was mischief coming to him, and that his host had forsaken him. Then came Antiochus unto Dora with an hundred and twenty thousand men of arms upon foot, and eight thousand horsemen. So he compassed the city round about, and the ships came by the sea. Thus they vexed the city by land by water, in so much that they suffered (allowed) no man to go in nor out.
In the mean season came Numenius (and they that had been with him) from the city of Rome, having letters written unto the kings and provinces, wherein were contained these words: Lucius the mayor of Rome sends greeting unto Ptolomy the king. The ambassadors of the Jews our friends being sent from Simon the high priest and from the people of the Jews, came unto us, for to renew the old friendship, and bond of love, and brought a shield of gold weighing a thousand pound, which we were content to receive of them. Wherefore we thought it good to write unto the kings and provinces, to do them no harm, nor to take part against them, their cities nor countries neither to maintain their enemies against them. If there be any wicked persons therefore fled from their country unto you, deliver them unto Simon the high priest, that he may punish them according to their own law.
The same words wrote the Romans also unto Demetrius the king, to Attalus, Araba, (kjv = Ariarathes) and Arsaces and to all regions: as Samsanes, to them of Sparta (kjv = Lacedemonians), Delo, Mido (kjv = Myndus) Sidon (kjv Sicyon) Caria, Samos Pamphylia, Lycia, Alicarnassum (kjv Halicarnassus) and to the Rhodes, to Falelis (kjv Aradus), Coo, Sida, Arado, Gortina, Gnidum, to Cypres, and to Cyren. And of every letter they sent a copy to Simon the high priest and to the people of the Jews. So Antiochus the king brought his host unto Dora the second time, to take it: where he made diverse ordinances of war, and kept Tryphon in, that he should not come forth. Then sent Simon Antiochus two thousand chosen men to help him with gold, silver and other plenteous gear: Nevertheless he would not receive them, but brake all the covenant which he made with Simon before, and withdrew himself from him.
He sent Athenobius also a friend of his unto Simon, for to reason with him saying: you withhold from me Joppa and Gaza (with the castle that is at Jerusalem) which are cities of my realm, whose borders you have destroyed, and done great evil in
the land, having the domination in many other places of my kingdom. Wherefore deliver now the cities which you have taken with the tributes of the places that you have rule upon without the borders of Jewry: Or else give me five hundred talents of silver, yes and for the harm that you have done in the cities and for the tributes of the same,
other five hundred talents. If no, we shall come and fight against you.
So Athenobius the kings friend came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the great worship and honor of Simon in gold, silver and so great plenty of ornaments: (kjv =the cupboard of gold and silver plate) he marveled, and told Simon as the king commanded him. Then answered Simon and said unto him: As for us, we have neither taken other mens land, nor withhold them, but only our fathers heritage, which our enemies had unrighteously in possession a certain time. This heritage of our fathers have we challenged in the process of time. And whereas you complain concerning Joppa and Gaza, they did great harm to our people and in our land, yet will we give an hundred talents for them.
Nevertheless Athenobius answered him not one word, but turned again wrothfully unto the king, and told him all these words, and the great dignity of Simon with all that he had seen, and the king was very angry. In the mean time fled Tryphon by ship unto Orthosida. Then the king made Cendebeus captain of the sea coast, and gave him an host of footmen and horsemen, commanding him to remove the host toward Jewry, and to build up the city of Cedron, to make up the ports, and to war against the people of the Jews. As for the king himself, he followed upon Tryphon. So Cendebeus came to Jamnia, and began to vex the people, to tread down Jewry, to take the people prisoners, to slay them and to built up Cedron: where he set horsemen and other men of war, that they might come forth and go through the streets of Jewry, like as the king had commanded him.
The 16th Chapter
Then came Jhon from Gaza, and told Simon his father, what Cendebeus had done among their people. Upon this called Simon two of his eldest sons, Judas and Jhon, and said unto them: I and my brethren and my fathers house, have ever from our youth up unto this day, fought against the enemies of Israel, and *God gave us good fortune to deliver Israel often times. (kjv =things have prospered so well in our hands, that we have delivered Israel oftentimes.) And now for so much as I am old, be you instead of me and my brother, to go forth and fight for our people, and the help of God be with you. So he chose twenty thousand fighting men of the country, with horsemen also, which went out against Cendebeus and rested at Modin.
In the morning they rose, and went into the plain field: and behold, a mighty great host came against them, both of footmen and horsemen. Now was there was a water brook between them, and Jhon removed the host toward them. And when he
saw that the people were afraid to go over the waterbrook, he went over first himself: and the men seeing this, followed him.
Then Jhon set his horsemen and footmen in order, the one by the other, for their enemies horsemen were very many. But when they blew up the priests trumpets, Cendebeus fled with his Host, whereof many were slain, and the remnant got them to their strong hold. Judas also Jhons brother was wounded at the same time. And Jhon followed still upon the enemies, till he came to Cedron which he builded. The enemies fled also unto the towers that were in the fields of Azotus,
and those did Jhon burn up. Thus there were slain of two thousand men of them, and Jhon turned again peaceably in to Jewry.
And in the field of Jericho was Ptolemy the son of Abobus made captain: which because he had abundance of silver and gold (for he had married the daughter of Simon the high priest) waxed proud in his mind, (kjv= his heart being lifted up) and thought to conquer the land, imagining falsehood against Simon and his sons, to destroy them. Now as Simon was going about through the cities, that were in the country of Jewry, and caring for them: (kjv = taking care for the good ordering of them) he came down to Jericho, with Matathiah and Judas his sons, in the hundred and seventy seventh year, in the eleventh month, called Sabat. Then Ptolomy the son of Abobus received them (but with deceit) into a strong house of his called Doch, which he had builded, where he made them a banquet.
So when Simon and his sons were merry and had drunken well, Ptolomy stood up with his men (whom he had hid there) and took their weapons, entered into the banquet house, and slew Simon with his two sons, and certain of his servants. Such great unfaithfulness did Ptolomy in Israel and recompensed evil for good. Then wrote this Ptolomy the same unto king Antiochus, requiring him that he should send him an host to help him: and so should he deliver him the land, with the cities and tributes of the same. He sent other men also unto Gaza, for to take Jhon: and wrote unto the captains to come to him, and he should give them silver, gold, and rewards.
And to Jerusalem he sent other, to take it and the Sanctuary.
Then ran one before, and told Jhon in Gaza that is father and his brethren were slain, and how that Ptolomy had sent to slay him also. When Jhon heard this he was sore abashed, and layed hands of them that were come to destroy him, and slew them: for he knew, that they went about to kill him.
As for other things concerning Jhon, of his wars, of his noble acts,(wherein he behaved himself manfully) of the building of walls which he made, and other of his deeds: they are written in the chronicles of his priesthood, from the time forth that he was made high priest after his father.
The end of the First Book of the Machabees
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