The Death Penalty in the Old Testament:

Sins Worthy of Death

Contents

Morally based laws. This section includes penalties for moral violations of laws which were given to Israel, but which are literally applicable to all mankind (against murder, illicit sex, etc.). It also includes penalties for prohibited practices which have culture specific aspects (like child sacrifice to Molech), but which were not primarily ceremonial/typological, and which prohibitions are literally and spiritually applicable by way of adaptation to all cultures, in accordance with the principal behind them, though the mandated literal penalties themselves may be seen as culture specific.

These deal with ceremonial laws. All laws have spiritual applications, but for ceremonial laws literal obedience is not enjoined under the New Covenant, (Col. 2:16,17; Heb. 9:10; Gal. 4:10) but faith and obedience according to their underlying spiritual principal is. (cf. 1Cor. 5:7,8)

There is some controversy for the those marked with an asterisk (*). Concerning which see here and here.

The term “put to death” or similar clear phrase is the most common phrase used for these type laws. “Cursed” in Dt. 27 usually is applied to capital offenses which have death mandated for them elsewhere, but it is possible that phrase may not always be mandating death in every case. The penalies as phrased are made distinctive for the reader

The phrase “cut off” is used most often for sins in this category, and in the most serious violations it is coupled with a more certain phrase. BUT, “cut off” may also mean to be cut off from a position, or fellowship, and the reader is to take note to the specifications.

1. Idolatry

10. Rebellion against parents

19. Marriage under the pretense of being a virgin: 

1. Sabbath breaking 

10. Eating sacred sacrifice while unlcean

2. Sacrificing to false gods

11. Disobedience to authority

20. Prostitution by daughter of priest

2. Unholy presumption

11. Eating the peace offering after the second day

3. Coveting and making a wicked thing one's possession

12. Murder

21. Man stealers

3. Consuming blood

12. Not purifying oneself

4. Enticement to idolatry

13. Negligent homicide

22. False Witnesses

4. Sexual relations during menstruation

13. Not bringing sacrificed animals to the tabernacle

5. False prophets

14. Homosexuality

23. Deliberate disobedience,

5. Not resting and humbling yourself on the Day of Atonement

 

6. Blasphemy

15. Bestiality

24. Removing neighbor's landmark(possible)

6. Not keeping the Passover if able

 

7. Witchcraft

16. Adultery

25. Making the blind to wander out of the way.

7. Imitating sacred incense, or anointing a stranger with it

 A word to the lost

8. Child sacrifice to idols

17. Incest

26. Perverting the judgment of the stranger,(possible)

8.Eating unleavened bread during Passover

A word to Christians

9. Revilers of parents

18. All sins of Leviticus 18

27. Afflicting any widow, or fatherless child (Divine execution)

9. Eating fat of any sacrificed beast 

 

Moral type laws

Idolatry

Deu 17:2-7 "If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, {3} And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; {4} And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: {5} Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. {6} At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. {7} The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you." (cf. Dt. 27:15 [Top]

Sacrificing to false gods:

Exodus 22:20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Num 25:2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor. (cf. 1 Cor. 10:20,21) [Top]

Coveting and making a wicked thing one's possession

Deu 7:26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

(Josh 7:15) And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. (Dt. 13:17)

Enticement to practice false religion; apostasy:

Dt. 13:6-10 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Dt. 13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.[Top]

False and perverse prophets:

Dt. 13:1,2,5: If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;... 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Dt 18:20 "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die."

Notice a false prophet is not only one who speaks in the name of other gods, but one who prophecies falsely in the name of the true and living God (cf. Jer. 20:1-6; 28:11-17). [Top]

Blasphemy:

Lv. 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death. (cf. 1 Ki. 21:10) [Top]

Witchcraft:

Lv. 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Ex. 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. [Top]

Child sacrifice to idols:

Lv. 20:2: Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech [a pagan god, and by extension, a false religion]; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. (cf. Lv. 18:21; Dt, 12:31; 18:10) [Top]

Revilers of parents:

Ex. 21:15, 17 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. .. And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. (cf. Lv, 20:9; Dt. 27:16) [Top]

Ongoing rebellion against parents:

Dt. 21:18-21 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (cf. Ex. 21:15, 17; Lv, 20:9; Dt. 27:16) [Top]

Disobedience to judgments by authority established God:

Dt. 17:9-13 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment: 10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, .. thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. (cf. Josh 1:18). [Top]

Murder:

Gen 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Ex. 21:12: He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

Lv. 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death; 21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

(cf. Nm. 35:16). [Top]

First degree murder defined:

Ex. 21:14: But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. [Top]

Negligent homicide:

Ex. 21:29: But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. [Top]

Homosexual practices:

Lv. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. [Top]

Bestiality:

Ex. 22:19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

Lv. 20:15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast. 16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. [Top]

Adultery:

(Deu 22:21-25) "Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. {22} If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. {23} If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; {24} Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. {25} But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:"

Lv. 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (cf. Ezek. 16:38; 23:43-47) [Top]

Incest:

Lev 18:6 "None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD." (details follow in rest of chapter) (See Lev. 20 for specific list with capital penalties) [Top]

All sins of Leviticus 18 (illicit sex to child sacrifice):

Lev 18:29 "For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people." [Top]

Marriage under the pretense of being a virgin:

Deu 22:20 if .. the tokens (physical proof) of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. [Top]

Prostitution by daughter in pastoral family:

Lv. 21:9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. (after she is stoned; cf. Josh. 7:15,25.) [Top]

Man Stealers:

Ex. 21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

False Witnesses:

Dt. 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. 16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (cf. Dt. 27:25) [Top]

Conditions necessary for true conviction. Quality of testimony and judging:

Dt. 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. [Top]

Deliberate disobedience, versus ignorance (cf. Num. 15:22; Heb. 10:26-39):

Num 15:30-31 "But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. {31} Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." [Top]

Removing neighbor's landmark:

Deu 27:17 "Cursed be he that removeth his. And all the people shall say, Amen." [Top]

Making the blind wander out of the way

Deu 27:18 "Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen." (cf. Mt. 15:14)

Perverting justice for the stranger, fatherless or widow:[Top]

Deu 27:19 "Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen." [Top]

Afflicting any widow, or fatherless child (Divine execution):

Exo 22:22-24 "Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. {23} If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; {24} And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." [Top]

Requirements for Judges:

2 Chr 19:6, 7 .. And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. (cf. Proverbs 27:3) [Top]

Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. [Top]

Ceremonial type laws

Sabbath breakers:

(Exo 31:14-15) "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. {15} Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."

Ex. 35:2: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. (cf. Num.16:32-36) [Top]

Unholy presumption:

Num. 1:51 And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. (cf. Ex. 19:12,13; 30:20,21; Num. 1:51; 3:10,38; 4:15,20; 18:3,7,22; 1Sam. 6:19; 1Chr. 13:9,10; 2Chr. 26:16-20). (Note: in the case of the tabernacle and the Ark, death most likely came by Divine, supernatural execution. cf. Acts 5:1-10) [Top]

Consuming blood:

Lev 7:27 "Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people."

(Lev 17:14) "For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off." [Top]

Sexual relations during menstruation (presumes knowingly)

Lev 20:18 "And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people." (cf. Lev 15; 18:19)

Not resting and humbling yourself the Day of Atonement (cf. Lev. 16)

Lev 23:29 "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people." [Top]

Not keeping the Passover though one is able:

Num 9:13 "But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin." [Top]

Imitating sacred anointing oil, or anointing a stranger with it:

Exo 30:33 "Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." [Top]

Eating unleavened bread in house during feast of unleavened bread:

Exo 12:15 "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel." (cf. v. 19; 1 Cor. 5:7,8) [Top]

Eating fat of any sacrificial beast :

Lev 7:25 "For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people." [Top]

Eating or approaching sacred things while unlcean:

Lev 7:20,21 "But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (21) Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (cf. 1 Cor. 11:28)

(Lev 22:3) "Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: [Top]

Eating the peace offering after the second day:

Lev 19:8 "Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people." (cf. Lv. 7:19) [Top]

Not purifying oneself:

Num 19:13 "Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him." (1Cor. 11:2-34)

(Num 19:20) "But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean." [Top]

Not bringing sacrificed animals to the tabernacle for the Levites to offer (context is against idolatry):

Lev 17:3-4 "What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, {4} And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:"

Lev 17:8-9 "And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, {9} And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people." [Top]

(It is most likely there are other other instances of prescribed Capital Punishment that I am not aware of.) [Top]



God is Holy,

Man is sinful,

Jesus Christ came to save sinners

If you ever hope to be with God in Heaven, then it is time you get honest with yourself - and with God!

You have seen only part of the Law of God, which is holy, just and good; and necessary for sinful man. Allhave sinned, and broken God's good laws in heart and deed, and nothing sinful will be allowed into God's Heavenly City (Rm. 3:23; Rv. 21:27); a real place of “fulness of joy” in the presence of Almighty God (Ps. 16:11; Rv. 21, 22).

If you die in your sins, you will not be allowed into Heaven but will end up in a place just the opposite of Heaven, the Lake of Fire, a place of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. A real place of real torment - forever (Mt. 25:41, 46; Rv. 20:10-15).

You have nothing to offer God by which you can gain Heaven nor escape Hell. Only by looking to the Son sent forth by the Father to be your Savior can you be saved. Only Jesus Christ lived sinless and then took your sins and paid for them with His own blood and rose again to be your present Savior and future Judge (Acts 10:34-43; 1Pet. 1:18-20; 2:24; 3:18-22).

To be saved (“born again”) you must decide you want the Lord Jesus Christ over sin - a new life in Christ rather than the old life of self and sin - and receive Him as your Savior, trusting Him to save you by His blood, not on your merit or works. You can and must know God's forgiveness and receive His Holy Spirit, and who will enable you to abide in Jesus. This decision is first shown by being baptized under water in identification with your Lord, and following Him with other Bible — believing souls. Saved souls are known by their obedience to their Lord and Savior. Jesus said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). He is definitely worth it all.

Praise the Lord!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A word to the redeemed

The saved are to live unto righteousness (Rm. 6). As this study helps evidence, God is infinitely holy and perfectly just, and though He is also supremely sacrificially merciful and gracious in Jesus Christ, this is not purposed to allow a lower standard of righteousness, rather so great salvation is both inspires and enables greater holiness (Rm. 8:4). To suppose that the spiritual kingdom of Christ, into which true believers are immediately translated upon being born again (Col. 2:13), is to be any less holy than the preceding physical, earthly Davidic kingdom, rather than exceeding it, is a great and deception. While we are not saved by our any merit of our own, but on Jesus blood and righteousness (Rm. 3-5), and literal obedience to the typological ceremonial law is not enjoined (Col. 2:16,17; Heb. 9:10), yet our faith is shown by our works (Ja. 2), and the principals behind all the laws call us to holiness in heart as well as deed. In which I come short. But as we have received grace, let us seek to both the kingdom of god and His righteousness, and apprehend that for which we are apprehended of Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12).

(Rom. 6:1,2) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

(2 Cor 7:1) "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

(Rom 12:1,2) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

(Rev. 2:5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

www.peacebyjesus.com

Email: saved2serve@gmail.com

"The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Ps. 145:17).

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Based on the world-wide mortality rate, it is estimated that

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