ONE of the most important passages in the Tenach (0.T.) dealing with the subject of the מָשִׁיחַ Messiah is Psalm 2, which, by both direct statement and implication, gives a very clear outline of His career and various experiences.

לָמָּה רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגּו־רִיק׃ יִתְיַצְּבוּ מַלְכֵי־אֶרֶץ וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ־יָחַד עַל־יְהוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחוֹ׃ נְנַתְּקָה אֶת־מוֹסְרוֹתֵימוֹ וְנַשְׁלִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ עֲבֹתֵימוֹ׃ יוֹשׁב בַּשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׂחָק אֲדֹנָי יִלְעַג־לָמוֹ׃ אָז יְדַבֵּר אֵלֵימוֹ בְאַפּוֹ וּבַחֲרוֹנוֹ יְבַהֲלֵמוֹ׃ וַאֲנִי נָסַכְתִּי מַלְכִּי עַל־צִיּוֹן הַר־קָדְשִׁי׃ אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל־חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ׃ שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶתְּנָה גוֹיִם נַחֲלָתֶךָ וַאֲחֻזָּתְךָ אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ׃ תְּרֹעֵם בְּשֵׁבֶט בַּרְזֶל כִּכְלִי יוֹצֵר תְּנַפְּצֵם׃ וְעַתָּה מְלָכִים הַשְׂכִּילוּ הִוָּסְרוּ שֹׁפְטֵי אָרֶץ׃ עִבְדוּ אֶת־יְהוָה בְּיִרְאָה וְגִילוּ בִּרְעָדָה׃ נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר פֶּן־יֶאֱנַף וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ כִּי־יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ אַשְׁרֵי כָּל־חוֹסֵי בוֹ׃

Why do the nations tumultuously assemble,
And the peoples meditate a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord, and against his anointed,
Let us break their bonds asunder,
And cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh:
The Lord will have them in derision.
Then will he speak unto them in his wrath,
And vex them in his sore displeasure:
Yet have I set my king
Upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said unto me, Thou art my son;
This day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give
the nations for thine inheritance,
And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Now therefore be wise, 0 ye kings:
Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the son, lest he be angry,
and ye perish in the way,
For his wrath will soon be kindled.
Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.


At the outset it is proper, if possible, to ascertain the author. In Psa. 72:20 appears the statement: "The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended." This statement would seem to indicate that either David himself composed these seventy-two Psalms or that he compiled this much of the Psalter, including in it both his own compositions and those written by others, such as Psa. 42-49, the authorship of which is attributed to the sons of Korah, and Psa. 50 to Asaph. In either case this Psalm is an expression of the thoughts of David. In this connection, however, let it be noted that it is of little moment as to who the human author was, since it is a divine oracle given by the Spirit of God and is in harmony with the great body of divinely revealed truth. That David spoke by the inspiration of the Spirit of God is clear from his own statement: רוּחַ יְהוָה דִּבֶּר־בִּי וּמִלָּתוֹ עַל־לְשׁוֹנִי׃ "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, And his word was upon my tongue" (II Sam. 23:2). Likewise, all of the prophets of God received their message through the Holy Spirit: "Yet Israel made her heart as an adamant stone, lest she should hear the law and the words which the Lord of Hosts had sent by His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore, there came great wrath from the Lord of Hosts."


The poem naturally falls into four divisions each containing three verses. The first division (vs. 1-3) consists of a prediction of an International, Atheistic, Religio-Political Convention; the second gives God's answer to the opposition which heads up in the aforesaid conference (vs. 4-6); the third reveals a decree by the Eternal God in the form of a conversation which He had with Him Whom He termed "my Son," and which is used as proof of the proposition set forth in verse 6 (vs. 7-9): the last gives the inspired Psalmist's advice to the rebellious kings.


The Psalmist by way of emphasis announced the unsettled, agitated condition of the nations in the future in the form of a rhetorical question. From the context it is quite evident that the nations, according to this prediction, are astir over a religious question, as is set forth in the words "against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, let us break their bonds asunder." It is the topic of the hour, and throughout the entire world gatherings, which in most instances are more or less disorderly, are being held to debate the merits of the same. Not only will this religious issue be discussed in small gatherings throughout the world, but, according to verse 2, there will be held in some great city an International, Atheistic, Religio-Political Convention. As proof of these assertions study, dear reader, carefully and prayerfully, the words of each statement.

"Why do the nations tumultuously assemble, and the peoples meditate a vain thing?" The word
רָגְשׁוּ is correctly translated "tumultuously assemble" in the footnote of the Revised Version. Therefore the prophet saw by the Spirit conventions, whose sessions will be stormy and tumultuous, held among the nations of the world. The expression "meditate a vain thing" confirms this position, namely, that these gatherings are deliberative ones. That this religious question is the all-absorbing topic of the hour in comparison with which all other questions, for the time being, pale off into insignificance, that it has permeated every stratum of society, and that the attention and interest of the entire world is focused upon the outcome of the issues at stake, are seen in the fact that "the nations" and "the peoples" are the ones who are considering and debating this international question and subsidiary ones involved in the same. Verse 2 predicts an International Conference in which the "kings of the earth" and "the rulers" gather together in conference to decide the issues which are agitating the world. It is a political gathering, for the delegates are "the kings of the earth" and "the rulers." The expressions "kings of the earth" and "the rulers" indicate that all of the rulers of the world sit as delegates at this convention; hence an international conference. The expression "take counsel together" confirms the interpretation placed upon verse 1, namely, that a world conference is in the prophet's view. The object of the conference is clearly seen in the statement, "against the Lord and against his מְשִׁיחוֹ anointed." The religious character of the assembly is seen in the expression "against the Lord, and against His anointed." This expression likewise indicates that the atheistic note is the dominant one in the conference, for no genuine believer in God would presume to take the stand which this convention takes. Among the various motives prompting the convening of such a conference may be discerned that of anti-semitism in the expression "against the Lord" Who is the God of Israel.


The question arising at this point is, who is the "anointed" against whom the nations revolt? In answering this question various commentators have chosen different monarchs of the Davidic house, claiming in them the fulfillment of the passage. Among those suggested have been David himself, and Hezekiah. Some go to such an extreme as to refer to the blood-thirsty Alexander Jannaeus of the Hasmonean line (175-63 B.C.). It is true that each of the kings who sat upon David's throne was a messiah "anointed" of the Lord, when he had been anointed by an authoritative representative of God (see I Sam. 12:3; II Chron. 6:42). At various times in the past, as is shown in the historical portions of Israel's monarchial history, some of the surrounding nations formed an aggressive alliance against Judah and her king but none of them could in anywise be considered as the fulfillment of this prophetic picture. Evidently, then, the passage, though it may have had a partial and limited or typical fulfillment in the past, awaits its complete fulfillment in the future. The Messiah against Whom this International Convention raves is Israel's Messiah, par-excellence, the One for Whom the nation through the centuries has longingly waited and Who will be preceded by Elijah the prophet (Mat. 4:5,6).

In confirmation of the position that the Psalm awaits its complete fulfillment in the future is the political situation which is assumed by the Psalmist, namely, mutual understanding among the nations, adjustment of world problems by a world court or convention, and concerted effort on the part of the nations to put in effect the decisions of said court. Never in the past have such political conditions existed until in the most recent years. It is now considered an axiomatic truth in political economy that the day has arrived when no longer each individual nation can live its independent life irrespective of the other nations, but that there must be a league of nations, and a world court where all international problems are discussed, and whose decisions will be enforced by the combined forces of the nations. Therefore, since the world has only recently begun the development which is assumed by this Psalm, it is absolutely certain that its fulfillment lies in the future. From the seventh Chapter of the Prophecy of Daniel it is very clear that such a league or confederacy of nations is scheduled to develop in the end time; therefore it follows from the above facts that this Psalm will find its complete fulfillment in "the time of the end," which is the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7).


The resolution which will be put before this world conference to be voted upon is, "Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us." The pronoun "their" has for its antecedent the words "Lord" and "anointed" of the preceding verse. The words "bonds" and "cords" are evidently figurative expressions setting forth the obligations to and the restraining influence of both God and His Messiah. The supposition upon which this resolution is founded is that the nations have previously been brought under the influence and power, more or less, of the God of Israel and His Anointed One. Refusing to acknowledge allegiance to them, unwilling to tolerate any longer their influence among the nations, but determined to blot out every vestige of influence and memory of both the God of the Hebrews and His anointed, the nations through their representatives adopt this resolution. One cannot "break bonds asunder and cast away cords" from himself unless he has already been bound by the same. Therefore the attitude and actions of this conference prove positively that not only Israel, but the nations of the world have more or less been brought under the influence of Israel's God and her Messiah. The determined action of the nations in the person of their delegates in this world convention to blot out the influence of Messiah from the world is positive proof that He has lived and has gained a tremendous grip upon the world. These assumed facts are corroborated by the proof which is seen in an exposition of Gen. 49:10 and Dan. 9:26. Permit the author to paraphrase and to change the thought in two expressions of a noted Hebrew scholar concerning the object of this conference: "They are, therefore, at the time of their rebellion, subject to the Lord and His anointed; and that not simply because the whole world belongs to the Lord, but also because He has enabled his anointed to obtain a grip upon them. It is a contest for freedom upon which they are entering; a freedom, however, which is hostile to God."

Since the evidence, as set forth above, proves conclusively that the Hebrew Messiah has already been in the world and has obtained a grip upon the same, the seeker after truths and facts immediately will ask, "Where is he from the time of his coming into the world and gaining a grip upon it, to the time of this anti-religious anti-messianic world conference?" The Psalmist here omits the desired information on this point; but the inspired author of Psa. 110 supplies it, for he says:
נְאֻם יְהוָה לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד־אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ׃ "The Lord saith unto my Lord, 'Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.'" In this quotation the divine singer and seer claims that the Eternal God spoke unto His Lord, requesting Him to take a seat at His right hand until He יְהוָה makes His (Messiah's) enemies the footstool of His feet. [That the Psalmist is speaking of the Messiah in Psa. 110 will be shown in the exposition of the same in Chapter XIII.]

This passage shows clearly that
יְהוָה the Lord, invited David's Lord אֲדֹנָי to leave the realm of those who were his enemies and to remain with Him, taking a seat at His right hand until the time arrives when He יְהוָה, the Lord, shall place the Messiah's enemies under His feet. The enemies of the Messiah are His personal enemies, for they come in touch the one with the other and they become hostile to Him. Who are these enemies? The second verse unmistakably identifies them: מַטֵּה עֻזְּךָ יִשְׁלַח יְהוָה מִצִּיּוֹן רְדֵה בְּקֶרֶב אֹיְבֶיךָ׃   "The rod of thy strength the Lord will send out of Zion: 'rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.'" The first half of this verse shows that Messiah reigns in Zion and the second half, completing a Hebrew parallelism, identifies the enemies of the Messiah as the inhabitants of Zion in the midst of which He eventually will reign. In a servant passage (Isa. 49) appears a statement concerning the servant of the Lord, which doubtless throws light upon this 110th Psalm, and which is as follows: "Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth ..." This question is proper: what nation? To Isaiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the word "nation" would have only one meaning, namely, the Hebrew nation, just as the same word used by one American to another would mean the American nation. Therefore this "servant of the Lord" is the one whom the Hebrew nation abhors and rejects. Being abhorred and rejected by her, God, according to the 110th Psalm, invites Him into the heaven of heavens (Psa. 115:16) to remain there until He, the Lord, makes the enemies of the Messiah His footstool.

When the Messiah comes the first time in fulfillment of the prophetic prediction, the Hebrew nation, not knowing its Scriptures and hence not recognizing Him, rejects Him for Whom she longingly hopes and prays. She as a nation continues to reject Him, even though there are individuals among them who accept Him as their Messiah and Redeemer. As the nation in the person of the Jewish Sanhedrin officially reject Him at His first coming, so will all nations through the League of Nations at the end time reject Him officially in its world convention in which they will utterly repudiate the idea of God's existence and of the Messiah's claims as to His own nature and prerogatives.


In a most realistic and dramatic way the Psalmist in verses 4-6, having changed the scenery of the stage of the first act, presents in his second act a scene in the very heavens of God. "He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh, the Lord will have them in derision. Then will He speak unto them in His wrath and vex them in His sore displeasure." God throughout the ages has always permitted man to fill up the cup of his iniquity (Gen. 15:16) before bringing judgment upon him. Thus it will be in the end time. God quietly abides His time waiting for the "psychological moment" to arrive, at which time He will deal summarily with the atheistic, godless generation of that time.*

The attitude of the Lord now is expressed by the words "He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh." While the nations are astir, counting God out of His universe, so they think, He laughs, knowing what the outcome will be. "He who laughs last laughs best." "The Lord will have them in derision," that is, the Lord will bring the nations to a point when they will be bewildered and in a nonplused condition at which time He will speak in His wrath against them. His speaking may be literal (Joel 3:16), or it may be His speaking by sending judgment upon mankind.

Though man opposes God and His Messiah, substituting his own plans, which are futile, "The Lord bringeth the counsel of the nations to nought; He makes the thoughts of the peoples to be of no effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth fast forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Psa. 33:10,11).


"Yet I have established my king upon my holy hill of Zion." In contrast to what the nations have attempted to do in their world convention by voting against God and His Messiah and by officially putting the religion of the same under the ban, God, says the Psalmist, has established His king upon Zion His holy mountain.¹

The one whom God calls "my King" is none other than the One against Whom the nations have raged, the Lord's Messiah. The sequence of thought demands this identification.

In confirmation of the purpose of God, as stated in verse 6, to establish firmly His King, His Messiah, on Mt. Zion, the Psalmist in verses 7-9, in behalf of the Messiah, quotes what God said to the latter. "I will tell of the decree: the Lord said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give
thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shall break them with the rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." In these verses the Psalmist makes known to the reader the words which Israel's God spoke to the one whom He terms "my Son" and concerning Whom He said "this day have I begotten Thee." Since the Psalmist quotes this statement to support the proposition of verse 6, concerning God's establishing Him Whom He called "My King" on Zion, this One Whom He addresses as "My Son" is One and the same Individual. Therefore the expressions "His anointed" (verse 2), "My King" (verse 6), and "My Son" (verse 7) refer to the same Individual, namely, God's Messiah, Who is the King of His choice and Who also is His Son.

What is the significance of the statement "Thou art My Son"? God is the One Who made it; hence the One to Whom it was spoken is God's Son. But, says one, "All men are sons of God; hence these words may be appropriated by any man." Another replies that it was made to the Hebrew nation; hence any Hebrew can claim that he is the son referred to. These answers are seen to be incorrect in view of the context. As stated above, verses 7-9, which contain a direct quotation of God to His Son, are used by the Psalmist as proof that God will in the future establish His king in Zion. Therefore He, Whom God calls His Son, can be none other than God's own King Whom He establishes in Zion. This fact being true, the above interpretations which apply the language to all Hebrews or to all men cannot be correct. This fact becomes more apparent when one realizes that there must be subjects over whom a king reigns; this King is, according to this verse, to reign over the nations; therefore He is an Individual, the Hebrew Messiah par-excellence.

Another question germane to this study is "In what sense is the Messiah God's Son?" This Psalm does not inform one, but the context points very definitely to the correct answer which is obtained in other parallel passages.

As was learned in the study of verses 1 and 2, the world at the time of the complete fulfillment of the passage will be in a nervous frenzy over the questions concerning the God of the Hebrews and His Messiah and will pass laws, which will be backed up by the military forces of all nations, prohibiting the worship of God and allegiance to His Messiah. In addition to the outward materialistic forces of the nations, who will have availed themselves of all the latest discoveries of science in the development of weapons of warfare, there will also be supernatural forces of evil, malignant spirits under the leadership of Satan
הַשָּׂטָן, who inspires, instigates, and backs up all opposition against God and the people of God.

The combined forces of Satan and his innumerable host of servile spirits, united with the forces and resources of the world confederacy, constitute the most formidable array of power against God, with which no human being can possibly, under any conditions, cope successfully. Only the omnipotent God can handle such a situation; hence since He, Whom God calls "My Son" does successfully overthrow and demolish such titanic opposition, He is none other than one of the divine persons referred to as
אֱלֹהִים Gods.

The position arrived at in the preceding paragraph, namely that the expression "My Son" in Psalm 2 refers to one of the Divine Personalities is confirmed by Isa. 9:6,7 (5,6)
כִּי־יֶלֶד יֻלַּד־לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן־לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה עַל־שִׁכְמוֹ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ אֵל גִּבּוֹר אֲבִי־עַד שַׂר־שָׁלוֹם: לְמַרְבֵּה הַמִּשְׂרָה וּלְשָׁלוֹם אֵין־קֵץ עַל־כִּסֵּא דָוִד וְעַל־מַמְלַכְתּוֹ לְהָכִין אֹתָה וּלְסַעֲדָהּ בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה מֵעַתָּה וְעַד־עוֹלָם קִנְאַת יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה־זֹּאת׃ "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." This Child "is born" unto the Jewish people. He is to be their Messiah for "the government shall be upon His shoulder." But He is not simply a Human Being, for He shall be called "Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Therefore He is God manifest in the flesh, being both human and divine. The mystery connected with the Messiah as set forth here is properly solved by an understanding of Isa. 7:14: לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא לָכֶם אוֹת הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ עִמָּנוּאֵל׃ "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." The virgin, according to this prophecy, shall conceive and bear a Son Who shall be called Immanuel, which means "God is with us"; thus Messiah is to enter the world by virgin birth. This Divine Messiah will mount David's throne and establish it with justice and righteousness; but His reign will not be limited to the nation of Israel, for "of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David," etc. Thus He is the One who will reign as Zechariah stated "from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zech. 9:10).

Returning to the investigation of Psalm 2:7-9, one sees that God's Son is to dash the nations in pieces like a potter's vessel, and to reign over the earth even to the uttermost parts. Since the Ruler, the Divine Messiah, of Isa. 9:6,7, has universal dominion, reigning in absolute righteousness and justice, and since He, Who is God's Son in the quotation of Psalm 2, reigns from sea to sea in absolute righteousness and justice, therefore the "My Son" of Psa. 2:7 is the same as the Divine Ruler of Isa. 9:6,7. Therefore the Hebrew Messiah is God manifest in the flesh.


In the last section of Psalm 2, namely, verses 10-12, the Psalmist exhorts the kings of the earth and its judges to act wisely. They show, says he, their wisdom by serving the Lord with fear and by rejoicing with trembling. Not only are they to show their wisdom in this particular, but also by kissing "the Son": "kiss the Son." That בַּר means "Son" is seen in Prov. 31:2. "What my Son and what, oh Son of my womb, and what, oh Son of my bowels." Isaac Leeser's translation and that of the Hebrew Publication Society, likewise, translate בְּרִי by "My Son."²

Since God spoke of His Messiah and King as "My Son" in the preceding verse, the context demands that the same significance be given it in verse 12. Proof corroborating this position is seen in the fact that in verse 12 the nations and the kings of the earth revolt against both the Lord and His Messiah (His Son), but in verse 11 these kings are admonished to serve the God against Whom they revolted, and to do homage to the Son. Hebrew parallelism demands that
בַּר be translated son. Instead of revolting against God and His Son they are urged to serve the former and to worship the latter.


* To the writer it appears that such movements as rationalistic criticism, the doctrine of evolution, cults of various kinds including spiritism, the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, etc., are rapidly preparing the way for the development of the situation as presupposed by this Psalm.

¹ The word
נסכתי does mean, as the Lexicons show, "to pour out a fluid;" but it also means "to pour out molten metal" which when cooled off becomes rigid and firm. Out of this fact grew the idea of "establish firmly" an object or person; hence to appoint to a certain position.

² The position is sometimes taken that
בר is used as an adverb in the phrase נשקו־בר and should be translated "do homage in purity." To support this contention reference is made to Hos. 13:2 where the following language appears: זבחי אדם עגלים ישקון "... Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves." This language is interpreted to be an exhortation to idolatrous worship. Hence it is argued that נשקובר should not be translated "kiss the son," but "do homage in purity."

It is a well-known fact to Hebrew scholars that
בר does mean purity in certain connections as, for example, Psa. 19:8(9) מצות יהוה ברה מאירת עינים "the commandment of the Lord is pure," etc. Again, in Psa. 24:4 this phrase appears: נקי כפּים ובר לבב "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." That it in these passages means "clean" or "pure" there can be no doubt, but in such a passage as Prov. 31:2 it can only mean "son." מה־ברי ומַה־בר־בטני ומה בר־נדרי "What my son?" and what "Oh son of my womb and what Oh son of my vows." To make בר in this passage mean "purity" would render it meaningless; therefore, in certain passages it does mean "son." Accordingly, in both Isaac Leeser's Tr. and that published by the Jewish Pub. Soc., it is translated "son."

Since it means either "son" or "purity" the context of each occurrence will have to decide its significance.

In the 2nd Psalm the Eternal God speaks to one, the Messiah, Whom He terms
בני "my son," v. 7. In verse 10 He, still speaking, instructs the Judges of the earth to serve with fear, and to rejoice with trembling; to kiss the son lest he (the son) be angry and they "perish in the way." Thus the entire context demands that בר should be given the meaning of son. To use the word adverbially, as suggested at the beginning of this note, and to translate נשקו־בר "to do homage in purity" is to force a strained and unnatural meaning upon the words. In the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament which was translated by Hebrew scholars prior to the rise of the controversy with the Christians concerning this Psalm, בר is translated by the Greek word παιδείας which means, "a boy, a son." These translators who knew the significance of the Hebrew and also of the Greek translated it correctly in accordance with the meaning of the context. Therefore one does well to allow God's Word in this passage to speak its message to the hearts of men.

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