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1 Samuel 18-20 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

18 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

And Saul took him that day and would let him go home no more to his father’s house.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword and to his bow and to his girdle.

And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely; and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

And it came to pass as they came, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with taborets, with joy, and with instruments of music.

And the women answered one another as they played, and said, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands. And what can he have more but the kingdom?”

And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

10 And it came to pass on the morrow that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house. And David played with his hand, as at other times. And there was a javelin in Saul’s hand;

11 and Saul cast the javelin, for he said, “I will smite David even to the wall with it.” And David escaped out of his presence twice.

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him and had departed from Saul.

13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.

15 Therefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.

16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

17 And Saul said to David, “Behold my elder daughter Merab; her will I give thee for a wife. Only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord’S battles.” For Saul said, “Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.”

18 And David said unto Saul, “Who am I? And what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?”

19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

20 And Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

21 And Saul said, “I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law through one of the two.”

22 And Saul commanded his servants, saying, “Commune with David secretly and say, ‘Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee. Now therefore be the king’s son-in-law.’”

23 And Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, “Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?”

24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, “In this manner spoke David.”

25 And Saul said, “Thus shall ye say to David: ‘The king desireth not any dowry but a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law; and the days were not expired.

27 Therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full measure to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.

28 And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him.

29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David, and Saul became David’s enemy continually.

30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth. And it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was much esteemed.

19 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David.

But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David; and Jonathan told David, saying, “Saul my father seeketh to kill thee. Now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place and hide thyself.

And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father about thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.”

And Jonathan spoke well of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he hath not sinned against thee and because his works have been toward thee very good.

For he put his life in his hands and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel. Thou sawest it and didst rejoice. Why then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?”

And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan; and Saul swore, “As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.”

And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.

And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter, and they fled from him.

And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand. And David played music with his hand.

10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

11 Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house to watch him and to slay him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If thou save not thy life tonight, tomorrow thou shalt be slain.”

12 So Michal let David down through a window; and he went and fled, and escaped.

13 And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for its head, and covered it with a cloth.

14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.”

15 And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.”

16 And when the messengers had come in, behold, there was an image in the bed with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster.

17 And Saul said unto Michal, “Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said unto me, ‘Let me go: Why should I kill thee?’”

18 So David fled and escaped, and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.

19 And it was told Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.”

20 And Saul sent messengers to take David; and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

21 And when it was told to Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.

22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.”

23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah.

24 And he stripped off his clothes also and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

20 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is mine iniquity? And what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?”

And he said unto him, “God forbid! Thou shalt not die. Behold, my father will do nothing either great or small but that he will show it to me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so.”

And David swore moreover and said, “Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes, and he saith, ‘Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly as the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”

Then said Jonathan unto David, “Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.”

And David said unto Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat; but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at evening.

If thy father at all miss me, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me, that he might run to Bethlehem, his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’

If he say thus, ‘It is well,’ thy servant shall have peace; but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.

Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant, for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee. Notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?”

And Jonathan said, “Far be it from thee; for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it to thee?”

10 Then said David to Jonathan, “Who shall tell me? Or what if thy father answer thee roughly?”

11 And Jonathan said unto David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” And they went out both of them into the field.

12 And Jonathan said unto David, “By the Lord the God of Israel, when I have sounded out my father about tomorrow any time, or the third day, and behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee and show it to thee,

13 the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will show it to thee and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace; and the Lord be with thee, as He hath been with my father.

14 And thou shalt not only show me the kindness of the Lord while yet I live, that I die not,

15 but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever — no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and thou shalt be missed because thy seat will be empty.

19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.

20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.

21 And behold, I will send a lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I expressly say unto the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee; take them,’ then come thou, for there is peace to thee and no hurt, as the Lord liveth.

22 But if I say thus unto the young man, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond thee,’ go thy way; for the Lord hath sent thee away.

23 And concerning the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord be witness between thee and me for ever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field; and when the new moon had come, the king sat down to eat meat.

25 And the king sat upon his seat as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall; and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty.

26 Nevertheless Saul spoke not any thing that day, for he thought, “Something hath befallen him. He is not clean, surely he is not clean.”

27 And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty. And Saul said unto Jonathan his son, “Why cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday nor today?”

28 And Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem.”

29 And he said, ‘Let me go, I pray thee, for our family hath a sacrifice in the city, and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there. And now, if I have found favor in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren.’ Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, “Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?

31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Therefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.”

32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father and said unto him, “Why shall he be slain? What hath he done?”

33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him, whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to slay David.

34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no meat the second day of the month; for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.

36 And he said unto his lad, “Run, find now the arrows which I shoot.” And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.

37 And when the lad had come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond thee?”

38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, “Make speed, haste, stay not.” And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows and came to his master.

39 But the lad knew not anything. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter.

40 And Jonathan gave his weapons unto his lad and said unto him, “Go, carry them to the city.”

41 And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground and bowed himself three times; and they kissed one another and wept one with another, but David more.

42 And Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.’” And he arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city.

1 Samuel 18-20 New International Version (NIV)

Saul’s Growing Fear of David

18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom? And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

10 The next day an evil[a] spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.

17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”

18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law? 19 So[b] when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’”

23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”

24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.

26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

Saul Tries to Kill David

19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”

Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”

Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.”

So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

But an evil[c] spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.

14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”

15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.

17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?”

Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’”

18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.

23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

David and Jonathan

20 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”

But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”

10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

11 “Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together.

12 Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account. 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan,[d] and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean. 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”

28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”

41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.

42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 18:10 Or a harmful
  2. 1 Samuel 18:19 Or However,
  3. 1 Samuel 19:9 Or But a harmful
  4. 1 Samuel 20:25 Septuagint; Hebrew wall. Jonathan arose
  5. 1 Samuel 20:42 In Hebrew texts this sentence (20:42b) is numbered 21:1.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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