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What Does Folly Mean in the Bible (2024)

The Bible has a lot to say about folly. In Proverbs, we are warned that "The way of the fool is right in his own eyes" (12:15) and that "Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end" (29:11). We are also told that "A fool shows his annoyance at once" (14:17), and that "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (18:2). As Christians, we are called to avoid folly and instead to wisdom. James tells us that "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him" (1:5). When we seek God's wisdom, He will graciously give it to us so that we can live according to His will and not our own.

What Does Folly Mean in the Bible , folly is often associated with wickedness and sin. It is used as a synonym for stupidity and senselessness. In the book of Proverbs, we read: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

The Bible also teaches that wisdom is better than folly because it leads to life and peace (see Proverbs 3:13-18). So what is folly? And why should we avoid it? It is the opposite of Wisdom full of foolish talk which a wise man avoids.

What Does Folly Mean in the Bible

The Bible often uses the term “folly” to describe someone who is acting in a way that is contrary to God’s will. In Proverbs, for example, we read that “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (12:15). This means that a fool is someone who doesn’t seek God’s guidance or wisdom, but instead relies on their own understanding.

This can lead to all sorts of problems, both for the individual and for those around them. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon warns that “the end of the matter; all has been heard.

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13). In other words, our ultimate goal should be to honor God with our lives. When we chasing after things that are contrary to His will, we are only foolish. As believers, then, we should be careful to seek God’s wisdom in all that we do.

It is also described as:

  • A Vile Person
  • A Wicked Person
  • Also Sexual immorality
  • Evil Character
  • a Foolish Person
  • As Unnatural Lewdness
  • Wisdom of the World
  • Evil Thoughts
  • As a Foolish man
  • As Silly Merriment
folly definition bible
The Bible is full of stories about the consequences of folly. In Proverbs, we read about a man who squandered his inheritance on wine and women, and ended up living in a pigsty. In the New Testament, we see the Apostle Paul warning Timothy against those who have "a form of godliness but deny its power." And in the book of Revelation, we see the apocalyptic visions that come to those who have rejected God's offer of salvation. Each of these stories serves as a warning against the dangers of foolishness. The Bible is clear that there is a price to be paid for rejecting God's wisdom, and that price is often steep. For those who choose to follow God, however, there is the promise of eternal life in His presence.

What does Folly Mean in Hebrew and Greek?

There are two Hebrew words that are often translated as “foolishness” in the Bible. The first is kesil, which is derived from a root meaning “to be dull or stupid.” This word is used to describe someone who is unwise or lacks understanding. The second word is ewald, which comes from a root meaning “to be perverse or wicked.” This word describes someone who deliberately chooses to do wrong, even though they know it is against God’s will.

In the New Testament, the Greek word that is most often translated as “foolishness” is moros. This word also has the sense of being unwise or lacking understanding. However, it can also refer to someone who is morally corrupt or depraved.

Ultimately, both Hebew and Greek words for “folly” carry the idea of acting in a way that is contrary to God’s will. Whether it is out of ignorance or rebellion, those who choose to follow their own ways instead of God’s are acting foolishly. Fortunately, God extends his grace even to those who have made foolish choices, and he invites them to repent and turn to him for forgiveness.

What does the Bible say about folly? 

The word “folly” is used over 111 times in the Bible. It is often used to describe people or actions that are unwise, foolish, or without common sense. In this blog post, we will take a look at seven different Bible verses that mention folly. We will also explore what these verses teach us about avoiding foolishness in our own lives. 

List of Folly Definition Synonyms

  • Foolishness
  • Recklessness
  • Madness
  • Silliness
  • Crazyness
  • Indiscretion
  • Stupidity
  • Lunacy
folly definition bible
The Bible has a lot to say about money, and one of the overarching themes is that chasing after money is folly. This is because money is an uncertain commodity - it can be lost or stolen, and it ultimately cannot buy happiness. In addition, the love of money is often the root of all kinds of evil. When people are driven by greed, they are more likely to engage in dishonest or even criminal behavior. Finally, the Bible teaches that our focus should be on God, not on earthly treasures. When we make God our priority, we will find true joy and contentment. Pursuing money will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

What is Prudence Definition Bible?

The New Testament book of Philippians instructs us to “let your moderation be known unto all men” (4:5). The word “moderation” here is the Greek term σωφροσύνη, from which we get our English word “prudence.” Other versions of the Bible translate this word as “discretion” or “wisdom.” So what does it mean to be prudent?

The dictionary defines prudence as “the quality of being careful, sensible, and acting with good judgment.” In other words, it is the ability to make wise decisions in both personal and public life. Scripture tells us that prudence is one of the seven cardinal virtues, along with justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and love. It is a virtue that enables us to live in harmony with others and with God.

Prudence is not simply a matter of knowing what is right or wrong; it also involves putting that knowledge into practice. It requires us to use our reason and experience to discern what is most likely to lead to a good outcome. And it calls on us to act with courage when faced with difficult choices.

In short, prudence is the virtue that helps us to live wisely and well. As we seek to follow Christ in every area of our lives, let us pray for the wisdom and courage to always act with prudence.

Wisdom as the opposite of Folly is described as:

  • Your Father’s Instruction
  • Crown of the Wise
  • The Fear of Yahweh
  • Wise Instruction
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Promised Land
  • Lady Wisdom
  • Essence of Life
  • Wisdom of God
  • True Wisdom
  • Mind of Christ
folly definition bible
When we chase folly, it is empty and meaningless. The bible tells us that fools rush in where angels fear to tread (Proverbs 14:15). What does that mean? It means that when we are chasing something that is not good for us, we are running headlong into danger. We are like a fool who doesn't know any better. We might think that we are getting something great, but in reality, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment and heartache. So why do we do it? Why do we chase after things that are empty and meaningless? I think it is because we are looking for something to fill the void in our lives. We are looking for something to make us feel complete and whole. But the only thing that can truly do that is God. When we chase after anything else, we will only be left with an empty hand.

King James Version Bible Verses on Folly

Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

This verse tells us that people who are considered fools by the world are often those who do not have a relationship with God. If we want to avoid being foolish, we need to start by getting to know God and His ways. 

Proverbs 14:9 – “Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.”

When we make light of sin or think that it’s no big deal, we are acting like fools. God is holy and He hates sin . As His children, we should also hate sin and strive to live lives that please Him. 

Proverbs 17:12 – “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

It is better to face danger than it is to be around someone who is acting foolishly. When we see people making bad choices, it’s best to stay away from them rather than getting caught up in their foolishness ourselves. 

Ecclesiastes 10:3 – “Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense and shows everyone that he is a fool.”

This verse teaches us that it is impossible to hide our foolishness from others. Sooner or later, our true colors will shine through for all to see. 

Matthew 5:22 – “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Jesus teaches us here that calling someone a fool is a serious offense. It is something that should never be done lightly or without thought. 

Galatians 3:1-5 – “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?”

In this passage, Paul rebukes the believers in Galatia for turning away from the gospel and trying to earn salvation through their own efforts. He calls them foolish for thinking that they could ever please God through their own strength. 

What are some Examples of Folly in the Bible?


There are many examples of folly in the Bible, but one of the most famous is the story of King Solomon. Despite being incredibly wise, Solomon made a foolish decision when he allowed his wives to worship false idols. As a result, God became angry with Solomon and took away his kingdom. This story serves as a warning against the dangers of allowing oneself to be led astray by foolishness.

Adam & Eve

Other examples of folly in the Bible include the stories of Adam and Eve, who were fooled by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit;

Adam and Eve were foolish in the Garden because they allowed themselves to be deceived by Satan. He convinced them that they would not die if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, even though God had clearly told them that they would.

As a result, they disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the world. In addition, their decision to eat from the tree showed a lack of trust in God. They did not believe that He would provide for them or protect them, so they took matters into their own hands.

The bottom line is that Adam and Eve were foolish because they allowed themselves to be misled by Satan and they acted against God’s instructions. As a result, they brought sin and death into the world.

Lot’s Wife

Lot’s wife, who looked back at Sodom despite being warned not to

We often wonder how Lot’s wife could have been so foolish as to look back at Sodom after being warned not to. But when we understand the culture she came from, her actions make a lot more sense. Lot’s wife was raised in a culture that glamorized violence and sexual promiscuity. In her world, Sodom was the epitome of success and wealth.

It was a place where people flaunted their riches and indulged in every kind of sin imaginable. So when Lot’s wife was told to flee from Sodom, she wasn’t just leaving behind her home and possessions – she was leaving behind everything she had ever known.

No wonder she hesitated! but ultimately, her decision to look back cost her dearly. Just like Sodom, she was turned into a pillar of salt. Let this be a warning to us not to get too attached to this world, or we may find ourselves in the same predicament as Lot’s wife.


Jonah, who ran from God’s call. Each of these stories demonstrates the consequences that can result from acts of folly.

Jonah was a prophet who was called by God to go to the city of Nineveh and preach to the people there. However, instead of following God’s instructions, Jonah ran away and got on a ship headed in the opposite direction.

As the ship was sailing away, a storm began to brew. The sailors on the ship were afraid that they would be lost in the storm, so they asked Jonah what they should do. Jonah told them to throw him overboard, and that is exactly what they did.

When they did, the storm stopped immediately. Jonah was then swallowed by a whale and kept alive inside it for three days before he was spit back up on dry land. At that point, Jonah finally went to Nineveh and preached to the people there as God had instructed him to do.

Although Jonah eventually followed God’s commands, his initial act of disobedience – running away from God – was foolish.

What are some Examples of Being Wise in the Bible?

Solomon | Folly in the Bible Proverbs

The Bible is full of examples of people who were wise. One of the most famous examples is Solomon , who was granted wisdom by God when he asked for it. He used his wisdom to become one of the greatest kings in history, and to write proverbs that are still quoted today.


Another example of a wise person in the Bible is Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers but rose to become the second most powerful man in Egypt. He used his wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and save the country from famine.


Wisdom is also evident in the life of Jesus Christ. He always knew what to say and do, even when His disciples didn’t understand Him. His teachings are still studied and followed today, two thousand years after His death.

These are just a few examples of people who were wise in the Bible. Their stories show us that wisdom is more than just knowledge; it’s also about using that knowledge in a way that benefits others.

7 Steps on How can we Avoid Folly in our Lives

The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom on how to avoid folly in our lives. Here are seven key principles we can glean from this book:

1) First, we need to be truly humble before God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). If we are proud and think we know it all, we will never learn from God’s Word and end up being fools.

2) Second, we need to timely listen to correction. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). It is not always easy to listen when we are being corrected, but it is essential if we want to avoid folly.

3) Third, we should avoid evil company. “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We are greatly influenced by the people we spend time with, so it is important to choose wisely who we allow into our lives.

4) Fourth, we must be careful about the things we say. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). Our words have great power and can either lead us towards life or death. Therefore, we need to use them carefully.

5) Fifth, we should make wise decisions. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). When we walk according to God’s ways, even our enemies will be at peace with us. This shows that our decisions have far-reaching consequences – both good and bad.

6) Sixth, we should heed godly counsel. “Without guidance a city becomes a house of cards” (Proverbs 11:14 NLT). Just as a city without walls is vulnerable to attack, so our lives can be easily destroyed if we do not seek godly counsel. We need wise people in our lives who can help us make decisions that will please God and lead us away from folly.

7) Last, but not least, we need to trust in the Lord. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). It is human nature to want approval from others, but if we put our trust in God instead of humans, He will keep us from being ensnared by foolishness.

These seven principles can help us avoid folly in our lives and live wisely according to God’s Word.

What is the Result of Folly in the Bible

Folly is defined as the lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight. The result of folly, according to the Bible, is destruction (Proverbs 1:32). Solomon, the author of Proverbs, uses strong language to describe how those who lack wisdom will be destroyed.

Their houses will be torn down (v. 26), their lives will be ruined (v. 31), and they will be trapped by their own sin (v. 33). In addition, Solomon says that folly leads to pain and sorrow (Proverbs 14:8; 17:12; 21:11).

This is because foolish decisions often have harmful consequences. For example, a person who indulges in alcohol or drugs may experience health problems, financial difficulties, and relationship problems.

A person who engages in premarital sex may contract a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant. Ultimately, the result of folly is destruction, pain, and sorrow.

How should we Respond when someone Commits Folly

Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” How then should we respond when someone commits folly? The answer is not always clear, but there are a few principles that can guide us.

First, we need to be careful not to stoop to the level of the fool.

Second, we need to be patient and gentle in our response.

And third, we need to be wise in our own eyes. By following these principles, we can help to turn a situation of foolishness into an opportunity for wisdom.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the matter of fools. A fool, according to Solomon, is someone who lacks understanding (Prov. 14:7, 19). They are also defined as those who despise wisdom and instruction (1:7). So how should we respond when someone commits folly? First, we need to be careful not to do the same thing.

That seems like common sense, but often when someone does something foolish, our first inclination is to one-up them by doing something even more foolish. Second, we should be patient and kind when correcting a fool. It’s possible that they don’t realize they are being foolish and simply need some help seeing the error of their ways.

Finally, we should be mindful of the company we keep. As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” If we associate ourselves with fools, there’s a good chance we will start to act like them as well. So let’s be careful not to commit folly ourselves and be patient and kind when correcting those who do.

 The Pros and Cons of Living a Life Free of Folly

The dictionary describes folly as “the lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight.” In other words, folly is making bad decisions that have negative consequences. We’ve all made foolish choices at one time or another, but what would it be like to live a life free of folly? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

 The Pros of Living a Life Free of Folly

The obvious pro of living a life free of folly is that you would avoid making bad decisions with negative consequences. This would lead to a life full of peace and happiness. Other pros include:

  1. You would save yourself a lot of money by not making foolish purchases.
  2. You would have more time because you wouldn’t be spending time fixing the mistakes you made. 
  3. You would have better relationships because you wouldn’t be constantly arguing with people or causing drama.
  4. You would be less stressed because you wouldn’t be worrying about the fallout from your poor choices.

The Cons of Living a Life Free of Folly

While there are some clear advantages to living a life free of folly, there are also some potential drawbacks. These include:

  1. You might miss out on some great experiences because you’re too afraid to take risks.
  2. You could become bored with your life if you’re not willing to try new things.
  3. You may come across as boring or dull to others because you’re not taking any chances.
  4. People might take advantage of your good nature if you’re always saying “yes” and never standing up for yourself.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to living a life free of folly. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. What do you think? Would you be willing to trade in some potential adventure for a life of peace and happiness? Or would you rather take your chances and live life to the fullest, even if it means making some mistakes along the way?

What Does Folly Mean in the Bible?

Definition of Folly


The Hebrew Bible uses several words to express the concept of folly, with the most common being “kesil” (כְּסִיל), meaning a fool or foolishness. This term is often used to describe a person who lacks wisdom or understanding and is drawn to reckless behavior. The implications of the term indicate a moral deficiency rather than mere intellectual limitations. The biblical writers used “kesil” to convey the disastrous consequences that can result from the absence of godly wisdom.


In the New Testament, written in Greek, the term “moria” (μωρία) is used to express the concept of folly. It is derived from the base word “moros,” which means foolish or lacking understanding. Just as in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek interpretation of folly aligns with moral and spiritual deficiency, rather than simply intellectual incompetence. Folly, in this context, often refers to a lack of understanding and reverence towards God’s wisdom and commandments.


In the Latin Vulgate, the Bible often uses the term “stultitia” to represent folly. This word encapsulates the idea of foolishness, recklessness, and irrationality. Similar to both the Hebrew and Greek connotations, the Latin interpretation of folly underscores a lack of wisdom, a disregard for moral and divine guidance, and the embrace of destructive behaviors.

Examples of Folly in the Bible

Bible Verses about Foolish Decisions

The Bible provides numerous examples of folly manifested in poor decisions and disobedience to God’s commandments. For example, the book of Genesis recounts the story of Adam and Eve, who made a foolish decision to disobey God’s command by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6). Another instance can be found in the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21), where a rich man’s obsession with his wealth leads him to neglect his spiritual life, symbolizing the folly of prioritizing material wealth over spiritual riches.

Characteristics of a Foolish Person in the Bible

According to the Bible, a foolish person is characterized by various traits, most significantly the lack of fear and reverence for God (Psalms 14:1). Other characteristics include quickness to anger (Ecclesiastes 7:9), delight in wrongdoing (Proverbs 10:23), and disdain for wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). Moreover, a fool’s speech is identified as false (Proverbs 14:5), full of careless words (Matthew 12:36), and causing quarrels (Proverbs 18:6). The Bible uses these characteristics not just as a warning, but also as guidance for how not to live one’s life.

Foolishness in Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs, in particular, offers extensive insight into the concept of folly. It is portrayed as a seductive yet destructive path, leading those who follow it towards ruin (Proverbs 9:13-18). It contrasts folly with wisdom, emphasizing the importance of choosing the latter. Those who reject wisdom and embrace folly are described as despising themselves (Proverbs 15:32), heading towards death (Proverbs 14:12), and bringing grief to their parents (Proverbs 17:25).

Folly Definition Synonym and Pronunciation

The term “folly” is synonymous with foolishness, imprudence, thoughtlessness, stupidity, and senselessness. In English, it is pronounced as “fah-lee.” While these synonyms provide a good linguistic understanding, they should be complemented by the richer spiritual and moral implications found in the Bible.

Spiritual Symbolism of Folly

Folly’s spiritual symbolism in the Bible aligns with disobedience to God’s wisdom and guidance. It signifies a spiritual blindness that leads individuals away from the path of righteousness and godliness. Folly is not just imprudent behavior but a state of heart and mind that disregards God’s law and pursues self-centered desires. The spiritual consequences of such behavior are starkly warned against throughout the Bible.

What Does Sluggard Mean in the Bible?


The term “sluggard” in the Bible refers to a lazy, slothful person who lacks diligence and initiative. It comes from the Hebrew word “atsel” (עָצֵל), which signifies sluggishness or idleness. It is used predominantly in the Book of Proverbs (e.g., Proverbs 6:6, 9, 12; 10:26; 13:4) to describe someone who fails to use their time wisely or engage in productive activities.


The word “sluggard” is often replaced by synonyms such as idle, lazy, slothful, or lethargic. These words, while capturing the essence of a sluggard’s behavior, may not fully convey the moral and spiritual implications associated with laziness in biblical terms.


The spirit of a sluggard, as depicted in the Bible, is one of apathy, procrastination, and negligence. This is not merely about physical laziness, but it also includes spiritual laziness — a lack of zeal for spiritual growth and service to God. Just as with folly, the Bible warns against adopting such a spirit and encourages diligence, industriousness, and fervor in both physical and spiritual matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Bible say about folly and wisdom?

The Bible consistently contrasts folly with wisdom, emphasizing the importance of acquiring wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). While folly leads to ruin and death, wisdom offers the path to life and God’s favor (Proverbs 8:35).

What are the consequences of folly according to the Bible?

The Bible warns that folly leads to various negative outcomes, such as disgrace (Proverbs 3:35), strife (Proverbs 18:6), and ultimately, death (Proverbs 14:12).

How does the Bible advise avoiding folly?

The Bible advises the pursuit of wisdom , understanding, and knowledge to avoid folly (Proverbs 23:23). It also encourages receiving correction (Proverbs 15:5) and honoring God’s commandments (Psalms 111:10).

What does the Bible say about a sluggard?

The Bible describes a sluggard as someone lazy and unproductive, both physically and spiritually. It warns against such a lifestyle and advises diligence and hard work (Proverbs 12:24).

Are folly and being a sluggard connected?

Yes, the Bible often associates folly with being a sluggard. Both involve disobedience to God’s wisdom — folly through imprudent actions and a sluggard through inaction and negligence.

What are the spiritual implications of being a sluggard according to the Bible?

Being a sluggard signifies not only physical laziness but also spiritual indifference and apathy. The Bible warns that a sluggard’s spiritual laziness leads to unfulfillment and ruin (Proverbs 13:4).

Final Thoughts – What Does Folly Mean in the Bible

The Bible has a lot to say about folly! These seven verses show us that fools are those who lack knowledge of God, mock sin, make light of danger, live without common sense, hide their true colors, insult others carelessly, and try to earn salvation on their own strength. As Christians, let us strive to avoid foolishness in our lives by staying close to God and living according to His ways.

God Bess Greg

How to be saved according to the Bible    In order to understand how to be saved, we first need to understand what salvation is. Salvation is when God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. It's a free gift from God that we can't earn on our own. So how do we receive this gift? The Bible tells us that there are six steps: hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, repenting again, and believers baptism. Let's break each one of these down.     Hearing - The first step is hearing the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again. This news must be heard in order for us to believe it.     Believing - Once we hear the gospel, we must believe it. This means that we trust that Jesus is who He says He is and that He can save us from our sins.     Repenting - Once we believe the gospel, we must repent of our sins. This means that we turn away from our sin and start living for God.     Confessing - After we repent of our sins, we need to confess them to God. This means that we tell God all of the sinful things we have done and ask Him for forgiveness.     Believers Baptism - The final step is believers baptism. This is when a person who has already believed and repented is baptized in water as an outward sign of their inward decision to follow Christ. Baptism doesn't save us, but it's an important step of obedience for every Christian.     Discipling others -  Finally, once we have received salvation through these steps, it's important that we continue to grow in our faith and share the gospel with others so they too can be saved.      These are the six steps required for salvation according to the Bible: hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, repenting again, and believers baptism. If you have never done these things or if you're not sure if you've done them correctly, I encourage you to talk to a pastor or other Christian friend who can help guide you through these steps. Salvation is a free gift from God, but it's one that we need to take intentional steps to receive. Don't wait another day - start your journey towards salvation today!


  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family https://jesusleadershiptraining.com/about-us/

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