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Paul entertained by Philip.

tarried there seven days: these spoke to Paul by the Spirit, not to go up to Jerusalem, if he 5 regarded his own liberty. And when we had completed those days, we departing, proceeded; and they all, with their wives and children, conducted us until we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 6 And when we had taken leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home.

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ACTS XXI.

And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and remained with them one day, 8 And the next day we departed, and came unto Cesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven; and 9 remained with him. And this man had four 10 daughters, virgins, who prophesied. And as

we continued there many days, a certain prophet, named Agabus, came down from Judea. 11 And when he had come to us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and will deliver him into the hands 12 of the Gentiles." And when we heard these

things, both we, and those of that place, be13 sought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "What mean ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the 14 name of the Lord Jesus." And when he would

not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The 15 will of the Lord be done." And after those And after those days we took up our 'baggage", and went up to 16 Jerusalem. Some disciples also of Cesarea went

CHAP. XXI. 8. That were of Paul's company. Griesb.

plete the sense; for if Paul had been absolutely forbid by the Spirit, we may be sure he would not have gone up.

He arrives at Jerusalem.

with us; bringing us to one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we might lodge. And when we had come to Jerusalem, the 17 brethren received us gladly. And the day fol- 18 lowing Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. And when he had 19 saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they 20 glorified the Lord, and said to him, "Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they have been informed con- 21 cerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses; saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, nor to walk according to our customs. What therefore should be done? The multi- 22 tude must needs assemble: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we 23 say to thee: We have four men who have a vow on them; Take them, and purify thyself with 24 them, and be at expense for them, that they may shave their heads, and all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we 25 have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, but only that they keep themselves from what is offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." Then Paul took the 26 men, and the next day purified himself with them and entered into the temple, to signify

7—11. Ptolemais. This was a sea-port town between Tyre and Cesarea. Here it seemed Philip dwelt, one of the seven deacons, happy in the piety and gifts of his daughters. See Ch. vi. 5.; viii. 40.—————Agabus. See Ch. xi. 28. He foretold what the result of Paul's visit to Jerusalem would be. The Jews would be the occasion of his being bound and given up to the Romans. 12-14. And when we heard, &c. Neither Paul nor any of these brethren seem to have had it as yet revealed to them, what would be the consequence of his being bound and given up to the Gentiles, or they would not have intreated him not to go Jerusalem. See Ch. xx. 22. Paul's reply shows his love to Jesus and his manly spirit.

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15. We took up, &c. I consider novac the true reading; and without any violence to the usual sense, the version given arises.

16. Bringing us to one. With Dr. H. Owen and Bishop Pearce, I prefer this reading and version to the common one.

18. Unto James, &c. Called the Less, and the Lord's brother or cousin. He was the resident pastor, and probably, from his age, might preside among the elders at Jerusalem.

20-26. Thou seest, &c. Many Jews, both in Judea and abroad, had embraced the gospel; and the former had been informed, that Paul taught the latter to neglect circumcision, and other Mosaic ordinances. This information was not true, but invented and propagated by unbelievers to prevent the success of the gospel. The advice they gave to Paul seemed most likely to

Paul's life in danger.

the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

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Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews that were of Asia, when they saw Paul in the temple, stirred up all the multitude, and 28 laid hands on him, Crying out, "Men of Israel, help: This is the man, who teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and, further, hath brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted 29 this holy place." (For they had before seen with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought 30 into the temple.) And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they seized Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and 31 immediately the doors were shut. And as they sought to kill him, a report came to the commander of the band,' that all Jerusalem was in

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ACTS XXII.

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REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXI. I. We are again called to admire the courage, constancy, and perseverance of the great apostle. Although the Spirit testified, that in every city, bonds and afflictions awaited him; and although kind friends urged and intreated him, either by silence for a season to endeavour to escape the danger, or by going to some other place than Jerusalem, yet he abode stedfast. No one knew how to value life and freedom more than he did; nor could any man feel more the strength of brotherly love, manifested to himself in tears and by earnest intreaties, yet he thought duty called him to adhere to his purpose. A sacred and holy passion ruled in his heart, stronger than the love of friends, of liberty, and even of life, The love of Christ constrained him;' and made him willing, not only to be bound for his sake, but even to die at Jerusalem' for his cause, who had so lately died there for his salvation. O that every minister, every Christian, may feel the love of the Saviour in this powerful, constraining manner.

2. We are taught by the conduct of Paul's friends, to bow to the will of God, whenever the determination of it is made known. They seeing his holy resolution to go to Jerusalem, said, "The will of the Lord be done;' and however opposed that will might be to their desires, they well knew it was their duty not only to submit, but to acquiesce in it. It is pleasing to consider that those very bonds which awaited the apostle, and which his friends dreaded as so fatal

prove the report false; yet it became the occasion of disturbance, and of Paul's imprisonment and journey to Rome.

27. Seven days, &c. The vow ended in seven days; but the people were not discharged from it until the sacrifices had been offered.

28. Greeks. Whether they were Gentile idolaters, or proselytes to Judaism, they were not permitted to enter into the court of Israel, as Pearce has observed from Josephus.

VOL. III. PART XXII.

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Lysias rescues him.

confusion: confusion: Who immediately took soldiers and 32 centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they ceased beating Paul. Then the commander 33 came near, and seized him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. And some cried 34 one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he ordered him to be carried into the castle. And when he came upon the steps, 35 it happened that he was carried by the soldiers, for the violence of the people. For the multi- 36 “ Detude of the people followed after, crying, stroy him."

CHAPTER XXII.

A. D. 60. Paul being allowed to speak, declares how he was converted to the faith, and called to the apostleship; on mentioning the Gentiles the Jews exclaimed against him; when about to be scourged he claims the privilege of a Roman citizen.

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an obstruction to the spread and holy triumph of the gospel, tended, under the direction of an all-wise providence, to secure these very ends. And what they apprehended would prevent their seeing him, or hearing him any more, occasioned his returning to them, and, though a prisoner, abiding among them, and they baving free liberty of com versing with him, for a long period. Let us then calmly submit to Him who does all things well; and who will one day make it appear so, to the admiration of angels and men.

3. We again see what dreadful confusion prejudice and blind zeal can effect. While Paul fulfilled the ministry which he had received, and with the consent of the whole church at Jerusalem, and all the apostles maintained the freedom of Gentile converts from the yoke of Jewish ceremonies; he was falsely charged with speaking against Moses, and designing to pollute the holy temple. What good may not be evil spoken of, and abused as a cloak of mischief, when men indulge malice and hatred under the disguise of religion? The charges made against Paul, though altogether false, were credited by the Jewish rabble; and if the Roman commander had not rescued him from their outrageous violence, this light of Israel would have been immediately quenched. Let us adore the wisdom of God in thus interposing and saving his servant from his enemies, that by his future labours, and especially his writings, he might be made a blessing to all generations.

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32. They ceased beating, &c. But for the appearance of the troops they would soon have killed the apostle, as they had before killed Stephen. 34. Into the castle. Antonia. This was built on higher ground than the temple, and had the command of it. Josephus informs us, that it had four towers, one of which was joined to the porticoes of the temple, and had a double pair of stairs from it, by which the soldiers were accustomed to come down with their arms, and ou festival days, keep guard before the porticoes. 241

Paul permitted to speak,

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37 AND as Paul was about to be taken into the castle, he said to the commander, "May I speak unto thee?" Who said, "Canst thou speak 38 Greek? Art thou not that Egyptian, who formerly madest a disturbance, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were 39 assassins?" But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city and I beseech thee, suffer me to speak to 40 the people." And when the commander had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps, and waved his hand to the people. And when a great silence, was made, he spoke to them in 1 the Hebrew tongue, saying," Brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence, which I now make 2 unto you. (And when they heard that he spoke in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the greater silence: and he saith,) I indeed am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, instructed at the feet of Gamaliel, according to the exactness of the law of our fathers, and was zealous towards God, as ye all 4 are this day. And I persecuted this doctrine unto death, binding and delivering into prisons both 5 men and women. As the high priest also can bear me witness, and the whole body of the elders: from whom I received letters also unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring bound unto Jerusalem, those also that were there that they 6 might be punished. But it came to pass that, as I I journeyed and came near to Damascus, about noon, a great light from heaven suddenly shone

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CHAP XXII.

ACTS XXII.

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relates his conversion. round about me. And I fell" to the ground, and 7 heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?' And I answered, Who 8 art thou, Lord?' And he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.' And 9 those that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the words of him that spoke to me. And I said, What 10 shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee concerning all things which are appointed for thee to do.' And when I could not II see because of the glory of that light; being led by the hand of those that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout 12 man according to the law, having a good report

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of all the Jews who dwelt there, Came to me, 13 and stood, and said to me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And at that very time I looked upon him, And he said, 'The God of 14 our fathers hath appointed thee, to know his will, and to see that Just One, and to hear the words of his mouth. For thou shalt be witness 15 unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why delayest thou? arise, and be 16 baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And it came to pass, 17 when I returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, that I was in a trance; And saw Jesus, who said to me, Make haste, 18 and go quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.' And 19

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36. Destroy him. That this was their meaning cannot be doubted: We might render, 'take him off;' but I think it better to give the sense clearly. 38. That Egyptian, &c. The Alexandrian Jews spoke Greek, and Lyias finding Paul could speak that language, supposed him to be an Egyptian Jew, and probably that rebel and impostor, who pretended to be a prophet, and assured his deluded followers, that the walls of Jerusalem would fall down on their approach. Felix attacked them, killed four hundred, and put the rest to flight; and among these the impostor himself made his escape, and was never afterwards heard of. See Jos. Antiq. xx. 1. c. 7. s. 6.

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CHAP. XXII. 3. At the feet of Gamaliel. It was usual for the teacher to sit on an elevated chair, while the scholar sat on one lower, and of course beneath him.Exactness. The Gamaliel here spoken of is most probably the <ame with him, mentioned Ch. v. 34, who was a Pharisee, to which sect Paul also belonged. They observed the traditions with the greatest exactness; and to this Paul alludes, Ch. xxvi. 5.

4. Doctrine unto death, &c. Unto death, as to many who professed it.

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they fell, &c. Griesb.

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We read of Stephen as stoned; and doubtless many suffered so under their imprisonment as to occasion their death. See Ch. ix 1, &c.

8. Jesus of Nazareth. While he lived this was mentioned as his reproach, and as evidence against his being a prophet. John vii. 52. But as he was best known from the place where he had resided, our Lord mentioned this that Saul might be under no mistake.

9. Heard the words, &c. See Ch. ix. 7, where we are informed that the men who were with him 'heard a sound,' but saw no man. They might hear a sound, yet not hear the words which Jesus addressed to Paul. John xii. 28, 29.

12. Ananias, &c. He was probably a Jew, and being serious before his conversion to Christ, enjoyed the good opinion of the Jews at Damascus after.

14. Just One. He is so called, Ch. iii. 14.; vii. 52, and James v. 6. The apostles, by giving him this character, virtually condemned the proceedings against him.

16. Be baptized, &c. Paul was baptized by a divine appointment, as appears from comparing verse 10th with this. Wash away, &c. Baptism, ia adults, was a token of humiliation for sin, and of a desire to be cleansed

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And they heard him unto this word, and then raised their voices, and said,"Destroy. such a man from the earth: for it is not fit that 23 he should live." And as they cried out, and. cast off their mantles, and threw dust into the 21 air, The commander ordered that he should be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know for what cause they cried so against 25 him. And as they prepared him for scourging, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge one who is a Roman 26 citizen, and uncondemned?" When the centurion heard this, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take heed what thou doest: 27 for this man is a Roman citizen." Then the

XXII.

Paul a Roman citizen. commander came, and said to him, "Tell me, art thou a Roman citizen ?” He said, "Yes." And the commander answered, "With a great 28 sum obtained: I this citizenship." And Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." Then they 29 who should have examined him by scourging, immediately left him: and the commander also was afraid, when he knew that he was a Roman citizen, and because he had bound him.

CHAPTER XXIII.

A. D. 60. Paul pleadeth his cause; dissension among his accusers; God encourageth him; some Jews laying wait for him he is sent to Felix the governor.

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXII. 1. As we should be ever ready to give a reason of the hope that is in us, we should do it, with meekness and fear. On many occasions it may be necessasy, and even highly useful to review for our own encouragement, and to relate for the profit and edification of others, the manner in which it pleased God to bring us to repentance, and to the saving knowledge of Christ. And if there has been something unusual in it, occasion will be afforded for magnifying the riches of divine grace and love; and it may encourage the timid, and strengthen the weak, among the disciples of One would have thought that the open and candid statement of Paul, would have subdued the malice of his enemies, and produced conviction, that the cause which he had espoused was divine, and agreeable to what their prophets had foretold. But alas! pride, unbelief, and hardness of heart, rendered all ordinary means of instruction and grace ineffectual. Wrapped up in their own supposed righteousness, and secure in the fancied holiness of their persons, they could not bear the thought that mercy should be extended to the Gentiles,

Jesus.

from it; nor did God ordinarily give any person evidence of pardon, by bestowing extraordinary gifts, until he had submitted to that ordinance. It can only be said 'to wash away sin,' or 'to save' (1 Pet. iii. 21.) as it was to penitents, the seal of pardon and salvation.

17-21. In a trance, &c. See Ch. x. 10, and note. — That I imprisoned, kc. Some suppose that the apostle thought these well-known facts would add credibility to his testimony, and that his desire to turn his countrymen induced him thus to speak. The reply of Jesus supports the above view.

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On the morrow, desiring to know the certain-, 30 ty of what he was accused by the Jews, he loosed him from his chain, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to assemble, and brought. Paul down, and set him before them.

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And when Paul had earnestly looked on the. 1 council, he said, "Brethren, I have conducted myself in all good conscience before God until this day." And the high priest Ananias com- 2

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2. We learn, that though our Lord is now to us invisible, he is present while his gospel is preached, and knows with what temper it is heard, and sends it to whom and where he pleaseth. He knew that those of Jerusalem would not receive Paul's testimony concerning him; notwithstanding his own singular conversion, from being a zealot to the law, and a persecutor of the church of Christ, to a believer in Christ, a preacher of his doctrine and an apostle of his grace. Hence Jesus sent him to the Gentiles. Thus when one people reject the gospel, it is sent to another; and in the course of an all-wise providence, those who sat in the region and shadow of death, are blessed with' the light of life. The fall of the Jews was the riches of the Gentiles; and what shall their fulness be but as life from the dead? Blessed Jesus, who by thy power and grace didst subdue the strong prejudices of a Saul, and made him thy messenger of mercy to thousands, rend the veil from the hearts of thy kindred, according to the flesh, that they may look on thee, whom they pierced, and mourn; and let thy' saving health be known among all nations.

22. They heard him, &c. Paul displayed great courage in declaring his mission to the Gentiles; as be well knew that this was the chief cause of their hatred. Comp. Ch. x. 28, and xi. 3. At the mention of the Gentiles they were inflamed, and cried out, &c.

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24-29. Examined by scourging. This was done to no Roman citizen, but only to slaves, or those conquered people who were not submissive to their yoke. On this occasion Paul's privilege as a citizen secured him from this treatment.

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The Jewish council divided.

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manded those that stood by him, to smite him 3 on the mouth. Then said Paul to him, "God will smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me according to the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the 4 law?" And those who stood by said, "Revi5 lest thou God's high priest?" Then said Paul, "I knew not, brethren, that he was the high priest for it is written, Thou shalt not speak 6 evil of the ruler of thy people." But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: concerning the hope, and the resurrection of the dead, I am now judged." 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and 8 the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, or 9 spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. And there was a great cry: and the scribes that were on the part of the Pharisees arose, and strove, saying, "We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, it is well: 10 [let us not fight against God.]" And when there was a great disturbance, the commander, fearing lest Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to 11 bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, “Be

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ACTS XXIII.

CHAP. XXIII. 1. When Paul had, &c. Paul began his address with a solemn declaration of his innocence as to any crime against the law or his nation.

2. Ananias—to smite, &c. This command proceeded, doubtless, from rancour against Paul for preaching to the Gentiles, and was very improper and unjust,

3.. God will smite thee, &c. This Ananias had been raised to the high priesthood by Herod, king of Chalcis; and about five years after this, he was dragged from an acqueduct, in which he had concealed himself from a tumult, and put to death by assassins. Joseph. Bell. ii. xvii. 5.—Whited wall. Comp. Matt. xxiii. 27.

5. I knew not, &c. Ananias had been dispossessed of his office, and Jonathan raised to that dignity. On the death of Jonathan, the office continued for some time vacant; and it was in this interval that Ananias undertook to fill it, but without any proper authority; so that though he had been, he was not now, in reality, the high priest. Paul might justly say, I knew not that he was, &c.

6. Brethren, I am a Pharisee, &c. Paul was so by his education, and by holding on many points the same opinions, Many good mss. read, 'the son of Pharisees," that is the discip of Pharisees.Concerning the hope, &c. If we have not here an hendyodis, meaning the hope of a resurrection of

Conspiracy against Paul.

of good courage, Paul: for as thou hast testified the things concerning me in Jerusalem, so must thou testify at Rome also."

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And when it was day, some Jews combined 12 together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. And they were 13 more than forty who had made this conspiracy. And they went to the chief priests and elders, 14 and said, "We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will taste nothing until we have killed Paul. Now therefore ye with the 15 council signify to the commander that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire more exactly concerning him: and we, before he come near, will be ready to kill him."

And when the son of Paul's sister heard of 16 their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. Then Paul called one 17 of the centurions to him, and said, "Bring this young man to the commander: for he hath a certain thing to tell him." So he took him, 18 and brought him to the commander, and said, "Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and desired me to bring this young man to thee, who hath something to say unto thee." Then the 19 commander took him by the hand, and went aside with him privately, and asked him, “ What is it which thou hast to tell me?" And he said, 20 "The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou

the dead, as the Syriac, Arabie, and Ethiopic versions render, we must regard "the hope' as respecting a future state of the separated spirit.

7. A dissension arose, &c. This arose, most probably, respecting the sentence which should be pronounced against him, the Sadducees wishing to condemn him, and the Pharisees to discharge him.

8. Or spirit. That is, of men, that the spirit does not exist after death was their opinion; while the other Jews admitted both the resurrection and the existence of spiritual beings,

10. The commander, &c. How turbulent were these people; and on every occasion they displayed a fury, which indicated they were growing ripe for destruction.

12-15. Some Jews combined, &c. These were probably of the sect of the Sadducees. Their design was approved by the chief priests and elders as laudable.

16. Heard of their lying, &c. It should seem that their intention was not kept very secret, when Paul's nephew heard of it, and very properly in

formed him of it.

17. Then Paul called one, &c. Though Paul had been assured of his safety, by what Jesus had revealed to him, verse 11; yet he did not neglect any proper means to secure it, well knowing that these are necessary in their place.

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