The Story Behind The Expository Series Tuesday, Feb 14 2017 

The Story Behind the Expository Series

This is a story about a man, his morals, and his ethics. The man’s name was Millard Deramus. He was my paternal grandfather. 

Millard lived at the end of a dirt and gravel road in Western Central Arkansas. When the road, as it was, reached his homestead, it turned and headed out of the woods. He was born a quarter of a mile from where he lived his entire life. I am not sure if he ever ventured out of the state of Arkansas. Possibly he got as far as a neighboring state once.

Many years ago he had a neighbor he simply referred to as Mr. Poole. One day Mr. Poole left. When it came time to pay the yearly taxes on their property, Mr. Poole had not returned. Millard was a good neighbor, so he did what he felt good neighbors do, he decided Mr. Poole’s taxes should be paid so when Mr. Poole returned, he would not be in arrears with the state of Arkansas. 

Millard hitched his mules and went on to Mr. Poole’s land and cut a load of pulp wood and took it to the mill and sold it. He then went to the county seat and paid Mr. Poole’s taxes. The next year Mr. Poole had still not returned, so Millard again cut pulp wood off Mr. Poole’s land, sold it, and paid the taxes on Mr. Poole’s land. This continued for many, many years. Mr. Poole never returned and each year my grandfather would cut timber off of Mr. Poole’s land and sell it and pay the taxes on Mr. Poole’s land.

I was there the day the attorney came to see Millard. We were on the back porch that had been screened in, and we were drinking coffee. I still have the two coffee cups we used that day. I heard the conversation from three feet away. The attorney had a briefcase full of papers he wanted Millard to sign. 

The attorney informed Millard that according to the state of Arkansas, Millard was the owner of the 280 acres next door by the default of paying the taxes for the last 20 years. The name Millard Deramus was on every yearly receipt for over 20 years. The amount of money being discussed was substantial. I watched my grandfather closely. There was no reaction at all. No smile, not even a raised eyebrow.

Millard patiently waited for the attorney to finish. The attorney requested my grandfather to sign the documents accepting ownership of 280 acres that joined his 70 acres. The value of the land at that time, including the timber, was well over a quarter of a million dollars. When the attorney finished and asked my grandfather to sign to documents he quietly and firmly said no, I will not sign. He informed the attorney that was not his land and he had never taken anything that did not belong to him in his life.

The amount of money was staggering to me. I was watching a man who had lived a simple rustic life for all of his eighty plus years. He wore bib overalls and drove old pick up trucks. When younger he worked as a blacksmith out under the oak tree in his yard. I still have items he forged under that old oak tree. I watched that day as the attorney attempted to stoke the fire of avarice in Millard Deramus.  

The attorney told Millard all he could do with several hundred thousand dollars. He floated the idea of a new home, a new truck, retirement, travel. Millard just stared at the attorney. No comment. None. The attorney tried again. Will you just sign Millard? For your children? No comment. None. Finally the attorney asked is there anything I can do to get you to sign these papers? My grandfather simply shook his head no. He said one sentence. He said “it ain’t my land”. 

My grandfather died and was buried a short distance from where he lived his entire life. My grandmother (Dolly), lived a few more years. The children convinced her to sign the papers to claim ownership of the land because it would simply go back to the state otherwise. She signed, the land was sold and my father was one of eight children who inherited. 

When my father died I received my inheritance, part of which was the money from the sale of Mr. Poole’s land. For a long time I pondered what to do. I did not feel like I could accept money I had witnessed my grandfather refuse on the afternoon on the back porch so many years before. So I waited. I did nothing. I never spent one dime of that money.

In 2016 an idea came to me that seemed an appropriate way to use that money. It is the money being used to produce the Expository Series. I did not know of any Apostolic writings that were doing an Expository Series. So I took that money and began to print books for Apostolic people to read.

The books of the Expository Series are printed without charge to the authors. The proceeds and profit of the books sold online go back into a non profit fund to print more Apostolic books. None of the online profit is going to any personal use for anyone. If an author buys his book direct from wholesale after it is published and sells it, then he is welcomed to keep any profit from those sales.

I would like to thank all the men who have contributed their work to this endeavor. Scott Hall, Bart Adkins, Vaughn Reece, Kevin Archer, Ben Weeks, and Edward Seabrooks have all contributed. We have now published 15 volumes and have 3 more to be published in the next 60 days. Others have shown interest in publishing their works also. Our goal is to have 20 volumes published by the end of 2017.

The publisher we are using has informed me we are their best seller they have ever published. We have now sold several thousand dollars of books since September 1, 2016. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased our product.

Now you know the story behind the Expository Series. A simple Christian man with ethics and morals, opened his heart, and showed me his faith, on a warm spring day, in a simple homestead, many years ago. Today I say thank you to my grandfather, Millard Deramus. Thank you for your ethics. Thank you for your morals. Thank you for your Christian faith.  

May your memory be blessed and revered. You never travelled 100 miles from where you were born, but your legacy has spanned America.

Thanks for reading today…

Judges Chapter 11 Monday, Feb 13 2017 

11.1-3 Jephthah (the eastern region). Jephthah is the ninth judge of Israel and delivered God’s people from 18 years of oppression by Ammon. Jephthah was an illegitimate child cast out from the family because they did not want to share the inheritance. Jephthah fled to Tob and joined himself to some worthless men. The inhabitants of Gilead summon him back to deliver them from Ammon. He is successful and makes his famous vow concerning his daughter. He later killed 42,000 of the tribe of Ephraim. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as a hero of faith.

11.4-10 Gilead. This region is very luxuriant and well watered. The contrast the western part of the country is stark. Ammon claims Israel took this region from them after the exodus from Egypt, which Jephthah ignores. The story of this man draws an early parallel to Jesus. Jesus was also rejected by his brethren, then becomes the captain of our salvation. As with Jesus, Jephthah did not allow his parents to deter his mission. Jephthah realizes they turn to him in desperation, not because of love or respect.

11.11-24 Once Jephthah is made captain he dialogs with Ammon. The discussion rehashes old accusations. Included in the argument, Jephthah challenges them to allow their God to prove himself. This may be the catalyst that causes the writer of Hebrews to include Jephthah in the heroes of faith. Jephthah tried to negotiate without war, but was unsuccessful. Jephthah’s final answer was we will see whose God is more powerful. 

11.25-28 Jephthah bolsters his argument by submitting the witness of Balak, and by extension Balaam. The King of Ammon is unconvinced so they go to war. 

11.29-40 the vow. Few subjects in holy scripture have been scrutinized as much as this. The answer is still inconclusive. The evidence is difficult because he says whatever comes out of his house. This limits the vow greatly. Some believe he offered his daughter as a burnt offering in the custom of the nations around him at that time (Mic 6.6-8). They argue God did not condone this, but he did not intervene. Later the prophets would rebuke this practice. It was based on giving to God your most prized possession and mirrored Abraham and Issac. Added to this is her surrender to the vow, this is mirrored in Mary (Luke 1.38). This deep love for God would overshadow any human love by both Jephthah and his daughter. This would be cause for him to be included in the great chapter of faith in Hebrews 11. It is easy to lose sight of the world at that time because we see it 3,500 years later. Should it be the case that he offered her on a burnt offering, is this less to be pitied than the parent who lays their child on the altar of worldliness? Many parents lay their children on altars of sin, ungodliness, and unrighteousness. Do we grieve as acutely for these children as we do for this damsel offered in deep love and consecration to God? The tribute to this girl by the daughters of Israel lend further support to the finality of Jephthah’s actions. She was praised each year for 4 days by the young maidens. Jephthah won the greatest of victories and paid the highest of prices. Such is life, great victory always comes at the highest price.

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Judges Chapter 10 Saturday, Feb 11 2017 

10.1-5 Tolo and Jair. These two judges are classified as “minor” judges along with Shamgar, Izban, Elon and Abdon. They are considered thus because they have no record of military deliverance from oppressors. Their mention is brief. If the regional concept of the Book of Judges holds true, these enter the pages of Holy Record because of the region they occupy. They are from the eastern part of the nation. They are the defendants of Manasseh and the area of their rule is the inheritance of the tribe of Manasseh. 

10.6-18 There is ample evidence here of the lasting influence of the former inhabitants of the land, the Ammonites. The weakness of Israel again takes them down the path of Idolatry. God also allows the Philistines to literally break Israel in pieces. What a sad epitaph that it takes this to bring Israel back to her God. The predators strike defenseless Israel. God is finally ready to give up. He states He will deliver them no more (13). Go serve the Gods you have chosen. Israel recants and again puts away the gods from among them. This period, the third overall stage of the Judges, extends from Jair to the rise of Samuel. This is a period of great humiliation for the nation. God gave them into the hands of not one, but two hostile nations. The Ammonites invade from the east and the Philistines from the west. The coming Judges face this crisis. Jephthah will war the Ammonites and Samson will war the Philistines. The unfinished business will eventually be left for Samuel to mop up. Seven nations had been defeated, seven foreign Gods deposed. God had delivered His people seven times, and His delivering grace was waning.
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Judges Chapter 9 Friday, Feb 10 2017 

9.1-5 Abimelech. Abimelech was the King of Shechem during the time of the judges. He was Gideon’s son by a concubine. He reigned 3 years in Shechem. He killed the 70 sons of Gideon in hopes of being the ruler of Israel also. The youngest son, Jotham was not killed.

9.6-21 Abimelech is made king of Shechem. He is called out by Gideon’s youngest son Jotham. The parable Jotham puts forth is about trees. Jotham likens Abimelech to a bramble, inferring he is not even a tree. He is not a legitimate tree. Jotham then runs for his life fearing the retribution of Abimelech. Jotham declares they have brought on their own destruction.

9.22-57 the fall of Abimelech. After 3 years God sends an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Abimelech shows us the difference between a king and a despot. Abimelech was reaping the consequences of his cruelty to the 70 sons of Gideon. Ps 7.15-17, Abimelech dug a pit and fell in it, his violent dealing came down on him. Finally Abimelech is killed in a battle where he goes too close to a wall and a woman drops a stone on his head. Jotham’s fable comes to pass. Gaal, the son of Ebed seems to be a mercenary that the men of Shechem collude with. During the feast of the wine harvest, Gaal calls for a revolt against Abimelech. This anger against Abimelech may go back to his being the son of Gideon who destroyed the altar of Baal. War ensues between Gaal and Abimelech, and Gaal is defeated and humiliated. Abimelech continues his cruel ways by burning down the tower of Shechem with the men inside. Finally Abimelech is killed and God renders Abimelech’s wickedness back on him. The question we face is why such detail about this man and few details about others? What is the criteria to cause a story like this to be detailed? The affairs of men do not seem to be something God necessarily documents for the Holy Record. The bigger picture here is the demise of Baal worship under Gideon and then the reinstatement of Baal worship under Abimelech. This theme does indeed merit attention to detail and for this reason we have the abundance of minutiae. This worship of Baal would continue to plague the nation of Israel for the next thousand years, and would only be cured by the Babylonian captivity.

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Judges Chapter 8 Thursday, Feb 9 2017 

8.1-3 the anger of Ephraim. When the Ephraimites met Gideon they were angry with Gideon for not including them in the original battle. This is injured ambition. Ephraim wanted the exalted position of having won the victory. Gideon shows humility. He acknowledges their great contribution as more valuable than his own. God also mentions this great victory in Is 10.26.

8.4-21 The residents of various towns mentioned here were reluctant to help Gideon. This is because they feared retribution from Midian if Gideon’s victory proved inconclusive. The reaction of Gideon is similar to that of Jesus many centuries later. Jesus said he that is not with me is against me, Mt 12.30. The resulting judgment on those who will not align themselves with a righteous cause is again a New Testament principal. The concluding part of Jesus great sermon in Matthew 25 deals with this concept. God takes it personal. He says, ye did it unto me. A large part of our eternal judgment is meted out by whose side we chose to be on. Middle ground is no option in God’s world.

8.22-27 Gideon’s ephod. This is an unusual part of the narrative. Gideon refuses to be exalted in the eyes of the people and tries to direct their religious loyalty toward an object of God. So much about this is noble and praiseworthy. The people take this well intentioned object and worship it, rather than God himself. This proclivity of man redounds throughout history. The worship of an image of things made by man has entrapped millions of people. This is the foundation of most man made religion and was the purpose of the commandment to not make any graven image. God saw the heart of man and put a commandment to protect man from himself. Gideon’s ephod became the opposite of it’s intended purpose and led people into idolatry.

8.28-35 As the sun sets on the season of Gideon, 40 years of peace ensue. The life of the greatest Abiezrite in Israel’s history is concluded. His influence was powerful, for as soon as he died, all Israel turns again to idolatry. The power of a leader is seen here. One man kept hundreds of thousands from idolatry. Israel not only forgets God, but also forgets Gideon the great judge from the family of Abiezer. Such is the nature of fallen humanity.

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Judges Chapter 7 Wednesday, Feb 8 2017 

7.1-8 quantity verses quality. Ps 33.16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host. The concept of dismissing those who are fearful is Biblical. Dt 20.8 sets this precedent. Fear is infectious. Fear causes you to look at the enemy rather than looking at God. Fear can cause the faith of others to waiver. 22,000 go home because they are infected with fear. The next selection process involved practical wisdom to be alert to battle conditions, this eliminated another 10,000. Gideon is left with 300 men to rout 135,000. The world has never seen a stranger mobilization policy. Gideon would use surprise and confusion as tactics of war. This was a divinely inspired plan from God. Other times God gave unusual directives and the war was won by atypical methods (2 Chr 20.22-23).

7.9-15 the barley loaf. God gives Gideon reassurance in the form of a dream of the enemy. It involves the barley loaf which is the most common kind of bread. The symbolism of this common, inexpensive loaf destroying a tent registered with Gideon and ignited his faith. Gideon saw this as a symbol of his weakness and an auspice of victory. The enemy in the tent confirmed this in Gideon’s hearing giving Gideon even more confirmation.

7.16-18 the plan. We must wonder what the soldiers with Gideon thought when he revealed his battle plan. The three columns of men surround the enemy camp and follow the lead of Gideon. They shout the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. They have no physical sword, yet they shout they do. They include Gideon with the shout, for God uses men to do His bidding. God partners with the weak and base things of the world to show His glory. This divine plan worked to perfection. The sword of Midian became the sword of the Lord to execute victory.

7.19-25 Ephraim. The battle was successful, and the enemy was routed. Now the narrative turns to the mopping up phase of the campaign. Gideon counted on the Ephraimites to cut off the remnants that were escaping. This also was successful and two kings of Midian are slain.

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Judges Chapter 6 Tuesday, Feb 7 2017 

6.1-2 Midian. The nation know as Midian was a descendant of Abraham and Keturah. This people had been sent away to the east so Issac would have the land without strife. Joseph was sold by merchants from Midian. Moses fled to the land of Midian and married Zipporah. Midian joined Moab and Ammon to impede the progress of Israel to the promised land. Midianites were known as traders and usually associated with the Ishmaelites.

6.3-10 Midian came to destroy the crops of Israel. There is no indication if there was warfare as well. The Midianites did not steal the crops, they simply destroyed them to starve Israel.

6.11-27 Gideon (central region) This is one of the best known characters of the scriptures. The script provides plot, counter plot and entertainment. Israel had been impoverished for 7 years. An angel appears to Gideon and deems him a mighty man of valour. The reposte here is classic God verses man. This ageless dialog has been argued for millenniums. God always patiently wades through men’s objections and denials. Gideon takes this classic dialog one step further and requires proof. God could easily have jettisoned Gideon at this point and chose another, but as He has with many others, God is patient with man’s unbelief. Gideon is put to the test of obedience. He is told to destroy his father’s altar built to Baal. Out of fear, Gideon prefers to do the deed under cover of darkness. He repeats this tendency to operate under the cover of darkness when he fights the army of Midian.

6.28-35 By destroying the altar of Baal, the men fear the loss of what few crops are left that have not been destroyed by Midian. Baal was the weather God and they needed rain. When Gideon is charged he faces being executed. This is no small crime for their families were starving. Gideon’s father defends his son and challenges them to let the God Baal defend himself. They bestow upon Gideon the name of Jerbubaal, which means Baal will contend. Midian and Amalek gather in the valley of Jezreel to rape the country of Israel once again. The stage is being set for one of the most dramatic events in the Bible.

6.36-40 the fleece. This is also one of the most well known moments of the Bible. People today still call a test they place before God a fleece, meaning they want God to confirm which direction they should go, or what decision is the one God wants. Gideon is unique in that he places the test and then after God answers, he reverses the test and asks again. The patience of God is amazing, God shows no recrimination toward Gideon.

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Judges Chapter 5 Sunday, Feb 5 2017 

5.1-3 The Song of Deborah. This chapter is a poetic song of the battle in chapter 4. The avenging of Israel is a Hebrew phrase that is difficult to translate. It is about people who volunteer and willingly and spontaneously give of themselves freely.

5.4-10 Deborah sings to Kings to announce the greatness of the victory, and also serve notice this victory was of God. She recounts the event leading up to the great victory during the days of Shamgar and Jael. To all who ride on white asses (royalty), be advised God fights for Israel.

5.11-13 awake. This admonition repeated twice for emphasis means to open the eyes. Israel had been spiritually asleep and the prophetess calls for a national awakening. This is one of the prominent roles of all prophets in the Bible. To awaken those who have fallen asleep. Then the call is to arise. The call to act follows the call to awake. To awake and not act is pointless. This is echoed in the New Testament in relation to faith. James declares faith without works is dead. Faith in Jesus Christ is just an awakening. Obeying the New Testament plan of salvation is action. This principal is always true in God’s economy and is illustrated many times by Jesus and the Apostles. Our actions do not save us but our faith is of no effect unless we act.

5.14-18 the accolades of the battles are now bestowed upon the tribes who fought. One trait of God is He never forgets to reward His servants. Deborah also chides the tribes who looked on without coming to aid in the battle. The prophet’s role is to reward and to admonish.

5.19-24 the kings. All the advantages of the heathen kings were nullified by God. God took away their advantages. Isaiah would say seven centuries later that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. The strength of the Canaanite’s army became their arrearage.

5.25-27 The song adds a detail that the report of battle leaves out. Jael cut off Sisera’s head after she drove the tent stake through his head. This practice was not unusual in the Bible: example David and Goliath.

5.28-31 With a nod of the head to the mother of Sisera as one woman to another, Deborah stays true to her purpose as a prophetess. This type of song would be common among the cultures of this era of time. Many countries have such odes to commemorate epic victories. The difference here is, God chose to have this song entered into the eternal record. While other ballads will fade in the morning glory of the dawn of eternity, The Song of Deborah shall ever be sung throughout the ages, a tribute to God and to those who willingly gave themselves.

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Judges Chapter 4 Saturday, Feb 4 2017 

4.1-9 Deborah(the northern region). We are now privy to know the office of a judge was more than military leadership. This is the third period of oppression and occurs in the 13th century BC. This is an important military victory because the Canaanite forces under the leadership of Sisera were superior. Sisera had 900 chariots of iron. This was a strategic battle for the control of central and Northern Palestine. After being oppressed for 20 years, Israel was experiencing longer and longer periods of foreign rule. Deborah was one of four women in the Old Testament identified as a prophetess. She is the only female Judge. Critics of the era of the Bible assert the Bible is unfair to women. This is a prime example of women holding key positions of power. She is joined by Jael, another woman, in this crucial victory. Chapter four gives the account of the battle and the details, while chapter 5 gives the song of victory. Barak’s part in the battle is not to be over looked, for he is mentioned in the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.32.

4.10-24 the call of Zebulun and Naphtali. Before the battle is concluded men from six tribes will participate. Naphtali, Zebulun, Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh, and Issachar all participate. The directing of the battle given by Deborah in this critical encounter places her in the most favorable light of all of the judges. She is called a mother in Israel. The faith of Barak is fanned into flame by the spirit of this great woman. From the flat land tops of Tabor, Deborah and Barak watched the troops of Sisera assemble on the slopes of Carmel. It is at that moment that Deborah summons Barak to arise. She proclaims, “up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand”. The Lord had already began his approach to battle with Sisera, Barak had only to follow in the wake of divine power. The book of Judges has now covered battles in the east under Ehud, in the west under Shamgar, and now the north and central under Deborah and Barak.

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Judges Chapter 3 Friday, Feb 3 2017 

3.1-2 nations. The nations left unconquered in the promised land became a training module for Israel to learn the art of war. God uses bad and disappointing situations to create good things in our lives. All things work together for good (Rom 8.28). Not everything that happens to us is good, but God can bring something good from the worst of events.

3.3-6 early failure. The fruit of every man doing what he felt was right continues to bear immediate and disastrous fruit. Israel began to serve the Gods of the land they were attempting to conquer and began to intermarry their children with the children of these heathen nations. Moses had warned of this in Ex 34 and again in Dt 7. 

3.7-11 Othniel. The son-in-law to Caleb was the first freedom fighter to rise up and war against the encroaching false religions. He witnessed this chosen nation forsake God and turn to Baal and the groves. Othniel bore the anger of God for eight years. Finally, the people cried unto God and God responded with deliverance. The land had rest forty years. Is there a significance of the forty years? This is the same length of time spent in the wilderness. Othniel was selected by God to be the first Judge, he was not selected by popular acclaim. God chose each of the 13 liberators Himself. There is no instance of choice by popularity or even ability. It was a sovereign choice by God.

3.12-30 Ehud. Israel does evil again. What a pregnant little word, again is. The Hebrew word is yasaph and means to continue. The 40 years in the desert did not cure them and neither did the 40 years under Othniel. The spotlight moves to Ehud whom the scripture points out is left handed. This innocuous point would not have meaning if it only meant his left hand was his dominant hand. There is cause to believe his right hand was not functional either from birth or injury. Early on God wants to illustrate He uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. The children of Israel had now been under abuse from Moab for 18 years. Ehud uses a dagger that specifically had two edges so to cut in both directions, thereby off setting the loss of the right hand. Ehud brings a present, a gift, a tribute offering to Eglon, the wicked King of Moab. Ehud knew that Eglon was a fat man and it would take a long dagger to reach Eglon’s vital and kill him, so Ehud made his dagger a cubits length (18 inches). It appears Ehud sent the people home and when he reached the quarries where the stone idols were hewed, he reversed his course and returned to the mission he had planned. Eglon is in a summer parlor, which is a second story room or a roof top used to view his domain. As they stand admiring the view and the countryside, Ehud does a cross draw with his left hand. His right side would never be suspected because of his faulty right hand. As the blade slides easily into his hand Ehud thrusts it all the way in to the haft of the home made dagger. Ehud knows he has pierced the vitals because the dirt (entrails) come out. Ehud leaves quietly and locks the door and the servants assume Eglon is sleeping. Ehud literally single handedly brings down what an army would have struggled to achieve. Ehud blows the trumpet and the call to war is answered. 10,000 men of Moab are slain and Moab is subdued. This time the Lord gives the land 80 years of rest to prove to Israel their sinful nature will not die. The desire to do what their own heart wants may lay dormant for years, but eventually it asserts itself again.

3.31 Shamgar. Nineteen verses are devoted to Ehud. One verse to Shamgar. Shamgar slew six hundred men with an ox goad and delivered Israel. What is the cause of such brevity here? Why such detail about Ehud and such economy toward Shamgar? Added to his conciseness in mention is also the fact he is not called a judge. More importantly there is no mention of a time element as a result of this deliverance. Even more telling is that the narrative dates the next time stamp as the death of Ehud without a mention of Shamgar. The most appealing answer is that Ehud was in the Eastern part of Israel, while Shamgar was in the Western sector. This would infer Shamgar’s years were included either in the 80 years of Ehud or the years of Deborah and Barak. The Hebrew word achar for after can also mean, beside. This lends toward the time of Shamgar being concurrent with Ehud.

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