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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - Acts 17:34


    CHAPTERS: Acts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28     

    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

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    King James Bible - Acts 17:34

    Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

    World English Bible

    But certain
    men joined with him, and believed, among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

    Douay-Rheims - Acts 17:34

    But certain
    men adhering to him, did believe; among whom was also Dionysius, the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

    Webster's Bible Translation

    But certain
    men adhered to him, and believed: among whom was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

    Greek Textus Receptus


    τινες
    5100 X-NPM δε 1161 CONJ ανδρες 435 N-NPM κολληθεντες 2853 5685 V-APP-NPM αυτω 846 P-DSM επιστευσαν 4100 5656 V-AAI-3P εν 1722 PREP οις 3739 R-DPM και 2532 CONJ διονυσιος 1354 N-NSM ο 3588 T-NSM αρεοπαγιτης 698 N-NSM και 2532 CONJ γυνη 1135 N-NSF ονοματι 3686 N-DSN δαμαρις 1152 N-NSF και 2532 CONJ ετεροι 2087 A-NPM συν 4862 PREP αυτοις 846 P-DPM

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (34) -
    :4; 13:48 Isa 55:10-11 Mt 20:16 Ro 11:5,6

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 17:34

    Mas algunos creyeron, juntndose con l; entre los cuales tambin fue Dionisio el del Arepago, y una mujer llamada Dmaris, y otros con ellos.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - Acts 17:34

    Verse 34. Certain
    men clave unto him] Became affectionately united to him, and believed the doctrines he had preached.

    Dionysius the Areopagite] There can be no doubt that this man was one of the judges of this great court, but whether the president or otherwise we cannot tell. Humanly speaking, his conversion must have been an acquisition of considerable importance to the Christian religion; for no person was a judge in the Areopagus who had not borne the office of archon, or chief governor of the city; and none bore the office of judge in this court who was not of the highest reputation among the people for his intelligence and exemplary conduct. In some of the popish writers we find a vast deal of groundless conjecture concerning Dionysius, who, they say, was first bishop of Athens, and raised to that dignity by Paul himself; that he was a martyr for the truth; that Damaris was his wife, &c., &c., concerning which the judicious Calmet says, Tout cela est de peu d' autorite. "All this has little foundation." 1. IN addition to what has been said in the notes on this subject, I may add, the original word deisidaimonesterov, from deidw, I fear, and daimwn, a demon, signifies, "greatly addicted to the worship of the invisible powers;" for, as the word daimwn signifies either a good or evil spirit, and deidw, I fear, signifies not only to fear in general, but also to pay religious reverence, the word must be here taken in its best sense; and so undoubtedly St. Paul intended it should; and so, doubtless, his audience understood him; for it would have been very imprudent to have charged them with superstition, which must have been extremely irritating, in the very commencement of a discourse in which he was to defend himself, and prove the truth of the Christian religion. He stated a fact, acknowledged by the best Greek writers; and he reasoned from that fact. The fact was that the Athenians were the most religious people in Greece, or, in other words, the most idolatrous: that there were in that city more altars, temples, sacrifices, and religious services, than in any other place. And independently of the authorities which may be quoted in support of this assertion, we may at once perceive the probability of it from the consideration that Athens was the grand university of Greece: that here philosophy and every thing relating to the worship of the gods was taught; and that religious services to the deities must be abundant. Look at our own universities of Oxford and Cambridge; here are more prayers, more religious acts and services, than in any other places in the nation, and very properly so. These were founded to be seminaries of learning and religion; and their very statutes suppose religion to be essential to learning; and their founders were in general religious characters, and endowed them for religious purposes. These, therefore, are not superstitious services; for, as superstition signifies "unnecessary fears or scruples in religion; observance of unnecessary and uncommanded rites or practices,"-JohnSON, it cannot be said of those services which are founded on the positive command of God, for the more effectual help to religious feelings, or as a preventive of immoral practices. I consider the Athenians, therefore, acting in conformity to their own laws and religious institutions; and Paul grants that they were much addicted to religious performances: this he pays as a compliment, and then takes occasion to show that their religion was defective: they had not a right object of devotion; they did not know the true God; the true God was to them the unknown God; and this an altar in their own city acknowledged. He therefore began to declare that glorious Being to them whom they ignorantly worshipped. As they were greatly addicted to religious services, and acknowledged that there was a Being to them unknown, and to whom they thought it necessary to erect an altar, they must, consistently with their character as a religious people, and with their own concession in the erection of this altar, hear quietly, patiently, and candidly, a discourse on that God whose being they acknowledged, but whose nature they did not know. Thus St. Paul, by acknowledging their religious disposition, and seizing the fact of the altar being inscribed to the unknown God, assumed a right which not a philosopher, orator, or judge in the Areopagus could dispute, of bringing the whole subject of Christianity before them, as he was now brought to his trial, and put on his defense.

    The whole of this fine advantage, this grand stroke of rhetorical prudence, is lost from the whole account, by our translation, ye are in all things too superstitious, thus causing the defendant to commence his discourse with a charge which would have roused the indignation of the Greeks, and precluded the possibility of their hearing any thing he had to say in defense of his conduct.

    2. That the original word, on the right interpretation of which I have laid so much stress, is taken in a good sense, and signifies religious worship and reverence, I shall show by several proofs; some of which may be seen in Mr. Parkhurst, under the word deisidaimonia, which Suidas explains by eulabeia peri to qeion, reverence towards the Deity. And Hesychius, by foboqeia, the fear of God. "In this good sense it is often used by Diodourus Siculus. Herodotus says of Orpheus, he led men, eiv deisidaimonian, to be religious; and exhorted them, epi to eusebein, to piety; where it is manifest that deisidaimonia must mean religion, and not superstition. But, what is more to the present purpose, the word is used by Josephus, not only where a heathen calls the pagan religion deisidaimoniav, (Antiq. lib. xix. cap. 5. s. 3,) or where the Jewish religion is spoken of by this name, in several edicts that were made in its favour by the Romans, (as in Antiq. lib. xiv. cap. 10, s. 13, 14, 16, 18, 19,) but also where the historian is expressing his own thoughts in his own words: thus, of King Manasseh, after his repentance and restoration, he says, espoudazen pash peri auton (qeon) th deisidaidaimonia crhsqai, he endeavoured to behave in the MOST RELIGIOUS manner towards God. Antiq. lib. x. cap. 3, s. 2. And, speaking of a riot that happened among the Jews on occasion of a Roman soldier's burning the book of the law, he observes that the Jews were drawn together on this occasion, th deisidaimonia, by their religion, as if it had been by an engine; organw tini.-De Bell. lib. ii. cap. 12, s. 2." It would be easy to multiply examples of this use of the word; but the reader may refer, if necessary, to Wetstein, Pearce, and others.

    3. That the Athenians were reputed, in this respect, a devout people, the following quotations may prove. Pausanias, in Attic. cap. xvii. p. 39, edit.

    Kuhn., says that the Athenians were not only more humane, alla kai ev qeouv eusebein, but more devout towards the gods; and again he says, dhla te enargwv, osoiv pleon ti eterwn eusebeiav metestin, it appears plainly how much they exceed others in the worship of the gods; and, in cap. xxiv. p. 56, he says, aqhnioiv perissoteron ti, h toiv alloiv, ev ta qeia esti spoudhv, that the Athenians are abundantly more solicitous about Divine matters than others. And Josephus seals this testimony by the assertion, contr. Apion, ii. 10: aqhnaiouv eusebestatouv twn ellhnwn pantev legousi; Every body says that the Athenians are the most religious people of all the Greeks.-See Bp.

    Pearce. From all these authorities it is palpable that St. Paul must have used the term in the sense for which I have contended.

    4. In the preceding notes, I have taken for granted that Paul was brought to the Areopagus to be tried on the charge of setting forth strange gods. Bp.

    Warburton denies that he was brought before the Areopagus on any charge whatever; and that he was taken there that the judges might hear him explain his doctrine, and not to defend himself against a charge which he does not once notice in the whole of his discourse. But there is one circumstance that the bishop has not noticed, viz. that St. Paul was not permitted to finish his discourse, and therefore could not come to those particular parts of the charge brought against him which the bishop thinks he must have taken up most pointedly, had he been accused, and brought there to make his defense. The truth is, we have little more than the apostle's exordium, as he was evidently interrupted in the prosecution of his defense. As to the supposition that he was brought by philosophers to the Areopagus, that they might the better hear him explain his doctrine, it appears to have little ground; for they might have heard him to as great advantage in any other place: nor does it appear that this court was ever used, except for the solemn purposes of justice. But the question, whether Paul was brought to the Areopagus that he might be tried by the judges of that court, Bishop Pearce answers with his usual judgment and discrimination. He observes: "We are told that one effect of his preaching was, that he converted Dionysius the Areopagite, ver. 34; and this seems to show that he, who was a judge of that court, was present, and, if so, probably other judges were present also. 2. If they who brought Paul to Areopagus wanted only to satisfy their curiosity, they had an opportunity of doing that in the market, mentioned ver. 17. Why then did they remove him to another place? 3. When it is said that they brought Paul to Areopagus, it is said that they took him, epilabomenoi autoi, or rather, they laid hold on him, as the Greek word is translated, Luke xxiii. 26; xx. 20, 26, and as it ought to have been here, in chap. xxi. 30, 33, and especially in this latter verse. 4. It is observable that Paul, in his whole discourse at the Areopagus, did not make the least attempt to move the passions of his audience, as he did when speaking to Felix, chap. xxiv. 25, and to Agrippa, chap. xxvi. 29; but he used plain and grave reasonings to convince his hearers of the soundness of his doctrine.

    "Now, we are told by Quinctilian, in Inst. Orat. ii. 16, that Athenis actor movere affectus vetabatur: the actor was forbidden to endeavour to excite the passions. And again, in vi. 1, that Athenis affectus movere etiam per praeconem prohibebatur orator: among the Athenians, the orator was prohibited by the public crier to move the passions of his auditory. And this is confirmed by Philostratus in procem. lib. i. de Vit. Sophist.; and by Athenaeus, in Deipnosoph. xiii. 6. If, therefore, it was strictly forbidden at Athens to move the affections of the courts of justice, especially in that of the Areopagus, we see a good reason why Paul made no attempt in that way; and, at the same time, we learn how improperly the painters have done all they could, when they represent Paul speaking at Athens, endeavouring both by his looks and gestures to raise those several passions in his hearers which their faces are meant to express." I have only to add here, that, though St. Paul did not endeavour to excite any passions in his address at the Areopagus, yet each sect of the philosophers would feel themselves powerfully affected by every thing in his discourse which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines; and, though he attempted to move no passions, yet, from these considerations, their passions would be strongly moved. And this is the idea which the inimitable Raphael took up in his celebrated cartoon on this subject, and which his best copier, Mr. Thomas Holloway, has not only engraved to the life, but has also described in language only inferior to the cartoon itself; and, as it affords no mean comment on the preceding discourse, my readers will be pleased to find it here.

    By the cartoons of Raphael, we are to understand certain Scripture pieces painted by Raphael d'Urbino, and now preserved in the palace at Hampton court. They are allowed to be the chefs d'oeuvre in their kind.

    They have been often engraved, but never so as to give an adequate representation of the matchless originals, till Mr. Thomas Holloway, who has completely seized the spirit of the artist, undertook this most labourious work, in which he has been wholly engaged for several years; and in which he has, for some time past, associated with himself Messrs. Slann and Webb, two excellent artists, who had formerly been his own pupils.

    The cartoon to which I have referred has been some time finished, and delivered to the subscribers; and with it that elegant description, from which the following is a copious extract: - "The eye no sooner glances on this celebrated cartoon than it is immediately struck with the commanding attitude of the speaker, and the various emotions excited in his hearers.

    "The interest which the first appearance of St. Paul at Athens had occasioned, was not calculated to subside on a sudden; his doctrines were too new, and his zeal too ardent. From the multitude it ascended to the philosophers. The Epicureans and Stoics particularly assailed him.

    Antecedently to the scene described in the picture, among the various characters already encountered by the apostle, many undoubtedly, in their speculations upon Divine subjects, had often imagined a sublimer religion than that commonly acknowledged: such, therefore, would make it their business to hear him again. Others, to whom truth was of less value than the idle amusement of vain disquisition, felt no other motive than curiosity. By far the greater part, however, obstinately bigoted to their particular tenets, and abhorring innovation, regarded him as impious, or a mere babbler: these also wished to hear him again, but with no other than the insidious view, that, by a more regular and explicit profession of his doctrines, he might expose his own absurdities, or render himself obnoxious to the state. The drapery accords with the majesty of the figure; and the light is so managed, especially on the arms and hands, as greatly to assist the energy of the action.

    "The painter has proceeded, from the warmth of full conviction, through various gradations, to the extremes of malignant prejudice, and invincible bigotry.

    "In the foreground, on the right, is Dionysius, who is recorded to have embraced the new religion. With the utmost fervour in his countenance, and with a kind of sympathetic action and unconscious eagerness, he advances a step nearer. His eye is fixed on the apostle: he longs to tell him his conversion, already perhaps preceded by conviction wrought in his mind by the reasonings of the sacred teacher on previous occasions, in the synagogue, and in the forum or marketplace. He appears not only touched with the doctrine he receives, but expresses an evident attachment to his instructer: he would become his host and protector.

    "This figure is altogether admirable. The gracefulness of the drapery and of the hair; the masculine beauty of the features; the perspective drawing of the arms; the life and sentiment of the hands, the right one especially, are inimitable.

    "Behind is Damaris, mentioned with him as a fellow believer. This is the only female in the composition; but the painter has fully availed himself of the character, in assisting his principle of contrast; an excellence found in all the works of Raphael. Her discreet distance, her modest deportment, her pious and diffident eye, discovering a degree of awe, the decorum and arrangement of her train, all interest the mind in her favour.

    "Next to these, but at come distance, is a Stoic. The first survey of this figure conveys the nature of his peculiar philosophy-dignity and austerity.

    Raphael has well understood what he meant in this instance to illustrate.

    His head is sunk in his breast; his arms are mechanically folded; his eyes, almost shut, glance towards the ground: he is absorbed in reflection. In spite of his stoicism, discomposure and perplexity invade his soul, mixed with a degree of haughty mortification.

    "Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed that 'the same idea is continued through the whole figure, even to the drapery, which is so closely muffled about him that even his hands are not seen;' and that, 'by this happy correspondence between the expression of the countenance and the disposition of the parts, the figure appears to think from head to foot.' "Behind the Stoic are two young men, well contrasted in expression: anger in the elder, and in the other, youthful pride, half abashed, are finely discriminated.

    "Beyond, in the same continued half circle with the Stoic, is perhaps exhibited the most astonishing contrast ever imagined; that of inexorable sternness, and complete placidity.

    "Of the two figures, the first is denominated a Cynic, who, disappointed in his expectation of the ridiculous appearance which he conceived the apostle, when confronted, would make among them, abandons his mind to rage. His formidable forehead concentrates its whole expression: with a fixed frown and threatening eye, he surveys the object of his indignation.

    He alone would engage to confute him, or punish his temerity. His eager impatience and irritation are not discovered in his features only; he raises his heel from the ground, and leans with a firmer pressure on his crutch, which seems to bend beneath him.

    "Pass from him to the more polished Epicurean. This figure exhibits perfect repose of body and mind: no passions agitate the one; no action discomposes the other. His hands, judiciously concealed beneath beautiful drapery, shows there can be no possible motion or employment for them.

    His feet seem to sleep upon the ground. His countenance, which is highly pleasing, and full of natural gentleness, expresses only a smile of pity at the fancied errors of the apostle, mingled with delight derived from his eloquence. He waits, with an inclined head, in passive and serene expectation. If a shrewd intelligence is discovered in his eyes, it is too gentle to disturb the general expression of tranquillity.

    "Behind are two other young men: the first discovers a degree of superciliousness with his vexation; his companion is more disgusted, and more morose.

    "These, and the two young figures previously described, are not introduced merely to fill up the group; they may be intended as pupils to the philosophers before them, though by some considered as young Romans, who have introduced themselves from ennui or curiosity.


    John Gill's Bible Commentary

    Ver. 34. Howbeit, certain men clave unto him, and believed , etc.] There were some who were ordained to eternal life, to whom the Gospel came in power, and they received the love of the truth, and their hearts and affections were knit unto the apostle; and they followed him, and kept to him, and privately conversed with him, and believed his doctrine, and in Jesus Christ, whom he preached unto them; to these the Gospel was the savour of life unto life, when to the scoffers and mockers it was the savour of death unto death: and this is the fruit and effect of the Gospel ministry, wherever it comes: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite ; a judge in the court of Areopagus: how many judges that court consisted of, is not certain, nor whether there was one who was superior to the rest; if there was such an one, Dionysius seems to have been he, since he is called the Areopagite.

    The business of this court was not only to try causes of murder, which seems to have been the original business of it; but by these judges the rights of the city were preserved and defended, war was proclaimed, and all law suits adjusted and decided; and they made it their business to look after idle and slothful persons, and inquire how they lived f895 : they always heard and judged causes in the night, in the dark, because they would only know facts, and not persons, lest they should be influenced by their afflictions, and be led wrong f896 ; they were very famous in other nations for their wisdom and skill, and for their gravity and strict justice. Dolabella, proconsul of Asia, having a woman brought before him for poisoning her husband and son, which she confessed, and gave reasons for doing it, referred the matter to a council, who refused to pass sentence; upon which he sent the case to Athens, to the Areopagites, as to judges more grave and more experienced f897 : and hence these words of Julian the emperor f898 , let an Areopagite be judge, and we will not be afraid of the judgment.

    This Dionysius the Areopagite is said, by another Dionysius, bishop of the Corinthians, a very ancient writer f899 , to be the first bishop of the Athenians, which is more likely than that he should be a bishop in France.

    It is reported of him, that being at Heliopolis in Egypt, along with Apollophanes, a philosopher, at the time of Christs sufferings, he should say concerning the unusual eclipse that then was, that a God unknown, and clothed with flesh, suffered, on whose account the whole world was darkened; or, as, others affirm, he said, either the God of nature suffers, or the frame of the world will be dissolved: it is also related of him that when he was converted by the apostle at Athens, he went to Clemens, bishop of Rome, and was sent by him with others into the west, to preach the Gospel; some of which went to Spain, and others to France, and that he steered his course to Paris, and there, with Rusticus and Eleutherius his colleagues, suffered martyrdom f900 . The books ascribed unto him concerning the divine names, and ecclesiastical hierarchy, are spurious things, stuffed with foolish, absurd, and impious notions, and seem to have been written in the fifth century. And a woman named Damaris ; some of the ancients, and also some modern writers, take this woman to be the wife of Dionysius; but had she been his wife, she would have been doubtless called so; however, by the particular mention of her name, she seems to have been a person of some note and figure: the name is a diminutive from damar , Damar, which signifies a wife. And others with them ; with these two, as the Arabic version renders it; that is, with Dionysius and Damaris. These laid the foundation of a Gospel church at Athens. Dionysius, as before observed, was the first bishop, or pastor of it; it is also said that Narcissus, one of the seventy disciples, was bishop of this place; (see Gill on Luke 10:1). In the second century Publius was bishop of the church at Athens, who suffered martyrdom for Christ in the time of Hadrian; and was succeeded by Quadratus f901 , who was famous for a writing he presented to the said emperor, in favour of the churches in common, and the success of it, about the year 128; at the same time, Aristides, a famous philosopher and Christian, flourished in the church at Athens, who wrote an apology for the Christian religion; and also Jovius, a presbyter and martyr, and a disciple of Dionysius; likewise Athenagoras, a man of great learning and piety, who wrote also an apology for the Christians, and a treatise concerning the resurrection of the dead, which are still extant; the former was written to the emperors Antoninus and Commodus: in the third century mention is made of the church at Athens; and Origen speaks very honourably of it, as meek and quiet, and desirous of approving itself to God. In the fourth century it appears that there were Christians there, since Maximus the emperor stirred up wicked men to molest and distress them; and there was a Christian school there, in which Bazil and Gregory Nazianzen were brought up. In the fifth century there was a church in this place; and in the sixth, a Christian school, in which Boethius Patricius learned the liberal arts; and in the seventh century mention is made of a bishop of Athens, who was in the sixth council at Constantinople f903 : thus far this church state is to be traced.


    Matthew Henry Commentary

    Verses 32-34 - The apostle was treated with more outward civility at Athens than in some other places; but none more despised his doctrine, or treated i with more indifference. Of all subjects, that which deserves the mos attention gains the least. But those who scorn, will have to bear the consequences, and the word will never be useless. Some will be found who cleave to the Lord, and listen to his faithful servants Considering the judgement to come, and Christ as our Judge, should urg all to repent of sin, and turn to Him. Whatever matter is used, all discourses must lead to Him, and show his authority; our salvation, an resurrection, come from and by Him __________________________________________________________________


    Greek Textus Receptus


    τινες
    5100 X-NPM δε 1161 CONJ ανδρες 435 N-NPM κολληθεντες 2853 5685 V-APP-NPM αυτω 846 P-DSM επιστευσαν 4100 5656 V-AAI-3P εν 1722 PREP οις 3739 R-DPM και 2532 CONJ διονυσιος 1354 N-NSM ο 3588 T-NSM αρεοπαγιτης 698 N-NSM και 2532 CONJ γυνη 1135 N-NSF ονοματι 3686 N-DSN δαμαρις 1152 N-NSF και 2532 CONJ ετεροι 2087 A-NPM συν 4862 PREP αυτοις 846 P-DPM

    Vincent's NT Word Studies

    34. Clave. See on
    Luke x. 11; xv. 15; Acts v. 13.

    The Areopagite. One of the judges of the court of Areopagus. Of this court Curtius remarks: "Here, instead of a single judge, a college of twelve men of proved integrity conducted the trial. If the accused had an equal number of votes for and against him, he was acquitted. The Court on the hill of Ares is one of the most ancient institutions of Athens, and none achieved for the city an earlier or more widely spread recognition. The Areopagitic penal code was adopted as a norm by all subsequent legislators" ("History of Greece," i., 307).


    Robertson's NT Word Studies

    17:34 {Clave unto him and believed} (kolleqentes autwi episteusan). First aorist passive of this strong word kollaw, to glue to, common in Acts (#5:13; 8:29; 9:26; 10:28) No sermon is a failure which leads a group of men (andres) to believe (ingressive aorist of pisteuw) in Jesus Christ. Many so-called great or grand sermons reap no such harvest. {Dionysius the Areopagite} (dionusios ho areopagites). One of the judges of the Court of the Areopagus. That of itself was no small victory. He was one of this college of twelve judges who had helped to make Athens famous. Eusebius says that he became afterwards bishop of the Church at Athens and died a martyr. {A woman named Damaris} (gune onomati Damaris). A woman by name Damaris. Not the wife of Dionysius as some have thought, but an aristocratic woman, not necessarily an educated courtezan as Furneaux holds. And there were "others" (heteroi) with them, a group strong enough to keep the fire burning in Athens. It is common to say that Paul in #1Co 2:1-5 alludes to his failure with philosophy in Athens when he failed to preach Christ crucified and he determined never to make that mistake again. On the other hand Paul determined to stick to the Cross of Christ in spite of the fact that the intellectual pride and superficial culture of Athens had prevented the largest success. As he faced Corinth with its veneer of culture and imitation of philosophy and sudden wealth he would go on with the same gospel of the Cross, the only gospel that Paul knew or preached. And it was a great thing to give the world a sermon like that preached in Athens.


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    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

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