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This came up on another forum. What is God "preserving" here: His "pure words", or "the godly and faithful" or the "poor and needy"? What say you?

 

 

Psalm 12 Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

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6 hours ago, heartstrings said:

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

The context is very clear, that words of God, every word of God, is preserved. The thought that it is referring to people, whether godly people, or whatever,  being preserved is in error. There are other passages dealing with God preserving His people.

Psalm 12:6 & 7, like every other doctrine in the scripture, belief, practice, and precept, is denied by the liberals, the modernists, in every church denomination, and forum, on the face of this planet. 

One of the reasons why the modernist, the liberal, the leaders in the denominational churches, is that Psalm 12:6 & 7 is one of most clear cut passages that deal with the preserved written word of God: the Bible.

Edited by Alan
took out a phrase

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It is proposed to mean other than the words of God by the opponents of the KJV - at least in my experience.

They want to deny the doctrine of the preservation of the Word of God, so they can support the reasoning behind "many versions".

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The great controversy concerns the "gender" of the pronouns "them" in Psalm 12:7.  In Psalm 12:6 the English word "words" (used twice) is translated from the Hebrew word "im-rah."  Now, in the Hebrew "im-rah" is a feminine noun; and in Psalm 12:6 it is used as a plural, feminine noun.  However, in Psalm 12:7 the English pronouns "them" are translated from plural, MASCULINE pronominal suffixes in the Hebrew.  As such, the contenders claim that these plural, MASCULINE pronominal suffixes cannot grammatical reference back to the plural, FEMININE nouns of Psalm 12:6 as their antecedent.  Therefore, they look earlier in the Psalm for a "grammatically acceptable" antecedent.  This is what is found:

1.  In verse 1 the phrase "godly man" is translated from a singular adjective used as an absolute (noun).
2.  In verse 1 the phrase "the faithful" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
3.  In verse 5 the phrase "the poor" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
4.  In verse 5 the phrase "the needy" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
5.  In verse 5 the pronoun "him" is translated from a singular, masculine pronominal suffix.

Thus they contend that the MASCULINES of the Psalm are not the "words of the Lord," but are the "godly, faithful, poor, and needy ones."  Thus they further contend that the MASCULINE pronominal suffixes of Psalm 12:7 must refer back to these "godly, faithful, poor, and needy ones" as their grammatical antecedent.

Yet to me this causes the flow of thought in the passage to become a bit disjointed.  The flow of though appears best to keep verse 7 joined with verse 6, rather than with verses 1 & 5.  Thus I propose a thought for consideration.  In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read the following, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."  In these two verses we encounter the word "word" once and the word "words" once, each referring unto the word(s) of our Lord.  However, in the Hebrew these two occasions are translated from two completely different Hebrew words that appear to be used interchangeably.  In Proverbs 30:5 the word "word" is translated from the feminine Hebrew noun "im-rah," just as in Psalm 12:6.  However, in Proverbs 30:6 the word "words" is translated from the MASCULINE Hebrew noun "dah-vahr."  In fact, the MASCULINE Hebrew noun "dah-vahr" is the significantly more common Hebrew word for "word(s)."  As such, I propose that in the poetry of Psalm 12 David assumed a recognition of this MASCULINE Hebrew noun for "word(s)," and thus used (under inspiration) a MASCULINE pronominal suffix in Psalm 12:7 interchangeably with the feminine noun of Psalm 12:6.

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9 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

The great controversy concerns the "gender" of the pronouns "them" in Psalm 12:7.  In Psalm 12:6 the English word "words" (used twice) is translated from the Hebrew word "im-rah."  Now, in the Hebrew "im-rah" is a feminine noun; and in Psalm 12:6 it is used as a plural, feminine noun.  However, in Psalm 12:7 the English pronouns "them" are translated from plural, MASCULINE pronominal suffixes in the Hebrew.  As such, the contenders claim that these plural, MASCULINE pronominal suffixes cannot grammatical reference back to the plural, FEMININE nouns of Psalm 12:6 as their antecedent.  Therefore, they look earlier in the Psalm for a "grammatically acceptable" antecedent.  This is what is found:

1.  In verse 1 the phrase "godly man" is translated from a singular adjective used as an absolute (noun).
2.  In verse 1 the phrase "the faithful" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
3.  In verse 5 the phrase "the poor" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
4.  In verse 5 the phrase "the needy" is translated from a plural, masculine adjective used as an absolute (noun).
5.  In verse 5 the pronoun "him" is translated from a singular, masculine pronominal suffix.

Thus they contend that the MASCULINES of the Psalm are not the "words of the Lord," but are the "godly, faithful, poor, and needy ones."  Thus they further contend that the MASCULINE pronominal suffixes of Psalm 12:7 must refer back to these "godly, faithful, poor, and needy ones" as their grammatical antecedent.

Yet to me this causes the flow of thought in the passage to become a bit disjointed.  The flow of though appears best to keep verse 7 joined with verse 6, rather than with verses 1 & 5.  Thus I propose a thought for consideration.  In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read the following, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."  In these two verses we encounter the word "word" once and the word "words" once, each referring unto the word(s) of our Lord.  However, in the Hebrew these two occasions are translated from two completely different Hebrew words that appear to be used interchangeably.  In Proverbs 30:5 the word "word" is translated from the feminine Hebrew noun "im-rah," just as in Psalm 12:6.  However, in Proverbs 30:6 the word "words" is translated from the MASCULINE Hebrew noun "dah-vahr."  In fact, the MASCULINE Hebrew noun "dah-vahr" is the significantly more common Hebrew word for "word(s)."  As such, I propose that in the poetry of Psalm 12 David assumed a recognition of this MASCULINE Hebrew noun for "word(s)," and thus used (under inspiration) a MASCULINE pronominal suffix in Psalm 12:7 interchangeably with the feminine noun of Psalm 12:6.

"The Biblical Phenomenon It is important for the careful exegete of the Hebrew Scriptures to recognize the biblical phenomenon wherein the biblical writers employed masculine pronouns in reference to feminine antecedent nouns when those feminine nouns were synonyms for the Words of God (cf. Ps. 119). Since the words of Jehovah are an extension of this strong patriarchal God, the OT writers occasionally seemed to use masculine pronouns for the following synonyms. The Hebrew words Law (torah hr'AT), Testimony (`eduth tWd[e), Commandment (mitzwah hw"c.mi), Statute (chuqqah hQ 'xu), and Word ('imrah) hr'm.ai ) are feminine in gender. The normal Hebrew grammatical pattern is that concordance occurs between the gender and number of the pronoun with its respective antecedent noun. For instance, a masculine singular (m.s.) noun would take a masculine singular pronoun, and a masculine plural (m.p.) noun would take a masculine plural pronoun. However, the biblical writers deviated from this "grammatical norm" for theological purposes, emphasizing specific truths. The inspired Scripture is the only authority for the biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), including their respective vocabulary and grammar. There are examples in all three divisions of the Tanak illustrating this Scriptural Hebrew phenomenon of gender discordance for theological purposes. The following are examples of the phenomenon: Law (torah) 1. "That thou mayest observe to do according to all the law (torah--f.s.)…turn not from it (mimmennu--WNM ,mi m.s.)," (Josh. 1:7). 2. "For he established a testimony (`eduth--f.s.) in Jacob, and appointed a law (torah-- f.s.) in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them (lehodiy`am- -~['ydIAhl . m.p. suffix) known to their children" (Ps. 78:5).

1. Ps. 78:5 (see above) 2. "Thy testimonies (`edoth--f.p.) have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they (hemmah--hM 'h e m.p.) are the rejoicing of my heart" (Ps. 119:111). 3. "Thy testimonies (`edoth--f.p.) are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them (netzaratham--~t;r 'c'n> m.p. suffix)" (Ps. 119:129). 4. "Concerning thy testimonies (`edoth), I have known of old that thou hast founded them (yesadtam--~T'd>s ;y > m.p. suffix) for ever" (Ps. 119:152). 5. "My soul hath kept thy testimonies (`edoth--f.p.), and I love them (wa'ohavem-- ~beh ]aow" m.p. suffix) exceedingly" (Ps. 119:167). Commandment (mitzwah) 1. "Therefore shall ye keep my commandments (mitzwoth--f.p.), and do them ('otham-- ~t'ao m.p.): I am the LORD (Lev. 22:31). 2. "If ye walk in my statutes (chuqqoth--f.p.), and keep my commandments (mitzwoth-- f.p.), and do them ('otham--~t'ao m.p.)" (Lev. 26:3). 3. "And remember all the commandments (mitzwoth--f.p.) of the LORD, and do them ('otham--~t'ao m.p.)" (Num. 15:39). 4. "If thou wilt walk in my statutes (chuqqoth-f.p.), and execute my judgments (mishpat-- m.p.), and keep all my commandments (mitzwoth--f.p.) to walk in them (bahem--~h ,B' m.p. suffix)," (I Ki. 6:12). Statute (chuqqah) 1. "And you shall keep my statutes (chuqqoth--f.p.), and do them ('otham--~t'ao m.p.)" (Lev. 20:8). 2. Lev. 26:3 (see above). 3. I Ki. 6:12 (see above). 4. "For they have refused my judgments (mishpat--m.p.) and my statutes (chuqqoth--f.p.), they have not walked in them (bahem--~h ,B' m.p. suffix)" (Ezk. 5:6). 5. "And hath kept all my statutes (chuqqoth--f.p.), and hath done them ('otham--~t'ao m.p.)" (Ezk. 18:19). 6. "They shall also walk in my judgments (mishpat--m.p.); and observe my statutes (chuqqoth--f.p.), and do them ('otham--~t'ao m.p.) " (Ezk. 37:24). Word ('imrah) 1. "The words ('imroth--f.p.) of the LORD are pure words ('amaroth--f.p.)…thou shalt keep them (tishmerem--~r em.v.Ti m.p. suffix), O LORD, thou shalt preserve them (titztzerennu--WNr ,C.T i m.p. suffix) from this generation for ever" (Ps. 12:6-7)."

http://bbc-cromwell.org/Seminary_Articles/Psalm-12-Expanded.pdf

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Jordan,

Thank you for the article by bbbcromell-org

After an exhaustive study on the Hebrew grammatical expressions, other passages dealing with the issue, the article concludes with this statement. 

Conclusion
The structure, context and exegesis, both preparatory and immediate, of the Masoretic Hebrew text of Psalm 12 all argue forcefully and irrefragably for the promise of everlasting preservation of the perfect Words of the LORD. This is one of several clear passages in which the Lord promised to preserve His canonical Words for every generation. Man's pervasive words are lies and are temporal; God's ever-present Words are Truth and are everlasting. This is the tangible help that the righteous man has in every generation--the perfectly preserved Words of the LORD.

The context, both in the English and in the Hebrew Masoretic text, are very clear. The "words" of the LORD are preserved. The modernists, the liberals, the vile translators of these new corrupt bibles, already know the both the Hebrew and English clearly state that the Psalmist is referring to the words being preserved. The problem is a spiritual problem and the greediness in making money, big money, off of all of these new (and corrupt), translations.

 

Edited by Alan
format quote better

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While I absolutely believe in the preservation of the Word of God (Matthew 5:18), I don’t believe Psalm 12:7 is the best verse to use in support of that doctrine.   The only commentators I find who use this verse as a proof text are using it to support the preservation of the KJV in opposition to the multitudinous newer translations that have flooded the English speaking nations since Westcott & Hort published their Greek New Testament in 1881. 

Whenever doctrinal questions come up that are directly related to modern Bible translation, I like to look at the historic commentaries that pre-date Westcott & Hort.  Many commentators since the early 1900’s have their interpretation colored by their Bible translation bias (either for good or bad).  Before Bible translation arguments became so prevalent in the English speaking world, commentaries seem to be much cleaner and more direct to the passage in question.

When you read commentators on Psalm 12 that were published PRE Westcott & Hort it is virtually universal that they believed the context is calling for the preservation of the saints.  It’s not until after the Bible translation battles began in English speaking nations do you find commentators (Pro-KJV) who teach that the verse is dealing with preservation of “The words of the LORD.”

Please take a look at this sampling of early commentators:

Agustine of Hippo (354-430) – “You, O Lord, shall preserve us, and keep us from this generation to eternity Psalm 11:7 [12:7]:  here as needy and poor, there as wealthy and rich.”  

John Calvin (1509-1564)– “Thou wilt keep them, namely, thy words; but this does not seem to me to be suitable. David, I have no doubt, returns to speak of the poor, of whom he had spoken in the preceding part of the psalm. With respect to his changing the number, (for, he says first, Thou wilt keep them, and, next, Thou wilt preserve him  - NOTE: Calvin is the only PRE Westcott & Hort commentators I found to even refer to the possibility of v.7 referring to preservation of the words of God.  But even he discounts that view.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) – “Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. This intimates that, as long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men in it, more or less, who will threaten by their wretched arts to ruin religion, by wearing out the saints of the Most High, Dan. 7:25 . But let God alone to maintain his own interest and to preserve his own people. He will keep them from this generation, (1.) From being debauched by them and drawn away from God, from mingling with them and learning their works. In times of general apostasy the Lord knows those that are his, and they shall be enabled to keep their integrity. (2.) From being destroyed and rooted out by them. The church is built upon a rock, and so well fortified that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In the worst of times God has his remnant, and in every age will reserve to himself a holy seed and preserve that to his heavenly kingdom. In singing this psalm, and praying it over, we must bewail the general corruption of manners, thank God that things are not worse than they are, but pray and hope that they will be better in God’s due time.

John Gill (1697-1771) – “that is, every one of the poor and needy, from the wicked generation of men in which they live, from being corrupted or intimidated by them:  and who are described in the beginning of the psalm.”

Keil & Delitzsch (Keil 1807-1888; Delitzsch 1813-1890) – “the suffix ennu in Psalm 12:8 (him, not: us, which would be pointed תצרנוּ, and more especially since it is not preceded by תשׁמרנוּ) refers back to the man who yearns for deliverance mentioned in the divine utterance, Psalm 12:6. The “preserving for ever” is so constant, that neither now nor at any future time will they succumb to this generation. The oppression shall not become a thorough depression, the trial shall not exceed their power of endurance.

Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910)  The last turn of the psalm builds hope on the pure words just heard from heaven. When God speaks a promise, faith repeats it as a certitude and prophesies in the line of the revelation. "Thou shalt" is man's answer to God's "I will." In the strength of the Divine word, the despondency of the opening strain is brightened. The godly and faithful shall not "cease from among the children of men," since God will keep them; and His keeping shall preserve them. "This generation" describes a class rather than an epoch. It means the vain talkers who have been sketched in such dark colours in the earlier part of the psalm. These are "the children of men" among whom the meek and needy are to live, not failing before them because God holds them up. This hope is for the militant Church, whose lot is to stand for God amidst wide-flowing evil, which may swell and rage against the band of faithful ones, but cannot sweep them away. Not of victory which annihilates opposition, but of charmed lives invulnerable in conflict, is the psalmist's confidence. There is no more lamenting of the extinction of good men and their goodness, neither is there triumphant anticipation of present extinction of bad men and their badness, but both are to grow together till the harvest.

So, while I agree in the preservation of God's Word, I don't think Psalm 12:7 is the best passage to use as a proof text for that doctrine.

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46 minutes ago, PreacherB said:

While I absolutely believe in the preservation of the Word of God (Matthew 5:18), I don’t believe Psalm 12:7 is the best verse to use in support of that doctrine.   The only commentators I find who use this verse as a proof text are using it to support the preservation of the KJV in opposition to the multitudinous newer translations that have flooded the English speaking nations since Westcott & Hort published their Greek New Testament in 1881. 

Whenever doctrinal questions come up that are directly related to modern Bible translation, I like to look at the historic commentaries that pre-date Westcott & Hort.  Many commentators since the early 1900’s have their interpretation colored by their Bible translation bias (either for good or bad).  Before Bible translation arguments became so prevalent in the English speaking world, commentaries seem to be much cleaner and more direct to the passage in question.

When you read commentators on Psalm 12 that were published PRE Westcott & Hort it is virtually universal that they believed the context is calling for the preservation of the saints.  It’s not until after the Bible translation battles began in English speaking nations do you find commentators (Pro-KJV) who teach that the verse is dealing with preservation of “The words of the LORD.”

Please take a look at this sampling of early commentators:

Agustine of Hippo (354-430) – “You, O Lord, shall preserve us, and keep us from this generation to eternity Psalm 11:7 [12:7]:  here as needy and poor, there as wealthy and rich.”  

John Calvin (1509-1564)– “Thou wilt keep them, namely, thy words; but this does not seem to me to be suitable. David, I have no doubt, returns to speak of the poor, of whom he had spoken in the preceding part of the psalm. With respect to his changing the number, (for, he says first, Thou wilt keep them, and, next, Thou wilt preserve him  - NOTE: Calvin is the only PRE Westcott & Hort commentators I found to even refer to the possibility of v.7 referring to preservation of the words of God.  But even he discounts that view.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) – “Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. This intimates that, as long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men in it, more or less, who will threaten by their wretched arts to ruin religion, by wearing out the saints of the Most High, Dan. 7:25 . But let God alone to maintain his own interest and to preserve his own people. He will keep them from this generation, (1.) From being debauched by them and drawn away from God, from mingling with them and learning their works. In times of general apostasy the Lord knows those that are his, and they shall be enabled to keep their integrity. (2.) From being destroyed and rooted out by them. The church is built upon a rock, and so well fortified that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In the worst of times God has his remnant, and in every age will reserve to himself a holy seed and preserve that to his heavenly kingdom. In singing this psalm, and praying it over, we must bewail the general corruption of manners, thank God that things are not worse than they are, but pray and hope that they will be better in God’s due time.

John Gill (1697-1771) – “that is, every one of the poor and needy, from the wicked generation of men in which they live, from being corrupted or intimidated by them:  and who are described in the beginning of the psalm.”

Keil & Delitzsch (Keil 1807-1888; Delitzsch 1813-1890) – “the suffix ennu in Psalm 12:8 (him, not: us, which would be pointed תצרנוּ, and more especially since it is not preceded by תשׁמרנוּ) refers back to the man who yearns for deliverance mentioned in the divine utterance, Psalm 12:6. The “preserving for ever” is so constant, that neither now nor at any future time will they succumb to this generation. The oppression shall not become a thorough depression, the trial shall not exceed their power of endurance.

Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910)  The last turn of the psalm builds hope on the pure words just heard from heaven. When God speaks a promise, faith repeats it as a certitude and prophesies in the line of the revelation. "Thou shalt" is man's answer to God's "I will." In the strength of the Divine word, the despondency of the opening strain is brightened. The godly and faithful shall not "cease from among the children of men," since God will keep them; and His keeping shall preserve them. "This generation" describes a class rather than an epoch. It means the vain talkers who have been sketched in such dark colours in the earlier part of the psalm. These are "the children of men" among whom the meek and needy are to live, not failing before them because God holds them up. This hope is for the militant Church, whose lot is to stand for God amidst wide-flowing evil, which may swell and rage against the band of faithful ones, but cannot sweep them away. Not of victory which annihilates opposition, but of charmed lives invulnerable in conflict, is the psalmist's confidence. There is no more lamenting of the extinction of good men and their goodness, neither is there triumphant anticipation of present extinction of bad men and their badness, but both are to grow together till the harvest.

So, while I agree in the preservation of God's Word, I don't think Psalm 12:7 is the best passage to use as a proof text for that doctrine.

John Wesley: 

"Thou shalt keep them - Thy words or promises: these thou wilt observe and keep, both now, and from this generation for ever."

Joseph Benson :

"Thou shalt keep them — Thy words or promises last mentioned. Hebrew, תשׁמרם, tishmerem, thou wilt observe them; and what thou hast promised shall surely be performed, since with thee is no variableness nor shadow of turning. Thou wilt preserve them &mdash Hebrew, תצרני, titzrennu thou wilt keep him, that is, thy poor and lowly servant, (spoken of Psa 12:5,) from the craft and malice of this crooked and perverse generation of men, so that he shall neither be circumvented by treachery, nor crushed by power; and thou wilt keep him undefiled amid a corrupt age; and all that trust in and cleave to thee from generation to generation."

 

 

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Verse 6

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

 

What "words" does it mean? Pretty much every ''word'' in the above verse can be and has been used to write things which are filthy, untrue, "impure" and corrupt.....every day of the week...right?. So what is "pure" about the above verse? What makes the Lord's "words" pure? The meaning is pure because of STRUCTURE and ARRANGEMENT of the specific words used in the sentence: So if you add a word or take one away, it is no longer pure. The MV's do that. . God says that if we disobey his Word, we will fry in Hell for all eternity. So, since He also says that He is "love" and "trustworthy" and "faithful", I'm just naive enough to believe that He is Mighty enough, and conscientious enough to make certain we got the right "words" in our language so we would know what He wants for our lives. "....as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." That's mighty pure: I'll just stick with the King James.

Edited by heartstrings

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On 5/3/2018 at 10:26 AM, Jordan Kurecki said:

John Wesley: 

"Thou shalt keep them - Thy words or promises: these thou wilt observe and keep, both now, and from this generation for ever."

Joseph Benson :

"Thou shalt keep them — Thy words or promises last mentioned. Hebrew, תשׁמרם, tishmerem, thou wilt observe them; and what thou hast promised shall surely be performed, since with thee is no variableness nor shadow of turning. Thou wilt preserve them &mdash Hebrew, תצרני, titzrennu thou wilt keep him, that is, thy poor and lowly servant, (spoken of Psa 12:5,) from the craft and malice of this crooked and perverse generation of men, so that he shall neither be circumvented by treachery, nor crushed by power; and thou wilt keep him undefiled amid a corrupt age; and all that trust in and cleave to thee from generation to generation."

 

 

I had not seen these two.  Thank you for sharing them.

I think it shows that perhaps we should not be dogmatic in interpretation of the passage simply because it might agree with our point of view.  Obviously, there are differences of thought as to the meaning of the verse in question from many Bible scholars.

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