New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Lev 7:1 ‘This is the law of the trespass offering. It is most holy-
There’s a difference between the trespass offering ["guilt offering"] and the sin offering, which is hard to define; and the terms are at times used interchangeably. It seems that the trespass offering was made when a specific sin had been done more consciously, whereas the sin offering was required when sin had been committed less consciously, or when a more general recognition of the fact we are sinners was required.

Lev 7:2 In the place where they kill the burnt offering, he shall kill the trespass offering; and its blood he shall sprinkle around on the altar-
To sprinkle blood upon something didn't necessarily mean the object was forgiven. For an inanimate altar didn't need forgiving. The blood of the covenant was sprinkled (s.w.) upon the people as a sign of their involvement with the covenant process of salvation, rather than as a statement of their forgiveness (Ex. 24:8). Likewise with the sprinkling of the blood of the Passover lamb (2 Chron. 35:11). This was an act of identification rather than forgiveness of sin. The function of the altar was valid before God, or efficacious, because of its association with the blood of Christ; for the blood of the animals slain upon it couldn't bring salvation of itself, but only through God's way of looking at that blood is looking ahead to that of His Son (Heb. 10:4). And so the altar was associated with the blood which represented His blood.     

Lev 7:3 He shall offer all of its fat: the fat tail, and the fat that covers the inward parts-
There is special emphasis upon the fat, which was perceived as the best part of the animal, and the most covered inward parts. After recognizing our sin, we must be prepared to offer these to God. David understood the spirit of the trespass offering when after his sin with Bathsheba he offered to God his inward parts (Ps. 51:6).

The idea is as in LXX "the fact [even] the fat tail" (as Lev. 3:9). There were species of sheep with a large fatty tail, which was considered in their culture to be a great delicacy. We see here how the law of Moses was limited in application to an immediate context, and was simply not intended to be a global law for all time. But the take away lesson is that we are to give to God whatever is for us, in our culture and worldview, the best and most desirous.

Lev 7:4 and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the cover on the liver, with the kidneys, shall he take away-
"Take away" is the word usually used for declining, refusing etc. The idea may be that these internal organs were not to be eaten by the priests, but were to be wholly offered to God. For our inner things are to be wholly His. David came to understand that all the Mosaic emphasis upon the "kidneys" was because they represented the inner heart or mind. He often uses the word to describe his innermost thoughts (Ps. 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 73:21; 139:13). Jeremiah likewise (Jer. 11:20; 12:2; 17:10; 20:12). The Hebrew for "kidneys" is a form of the word for "jewel"; for the innermost core thoughts of a person are so precious to God.  Likewise the Hebrew for "liver" is literally 'that which he heaviest / most valuable'. For the innermost thoughts are the weighty things to God. We see here the supreme importance of being spiritually minded.

Lev 7:5 and the priest shall burn them on the altar for an offering made by fire to Yahweh: it is a trespass offering-
"Burn" is literally 'to smoke'. The idea is that the offering of the inward parts went up to God; see on :4.

Lev 7:6 Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place. It is most holy-
The priests had no inheritance amongst Israel, they survived by eating parts of the offerings. Their eating of them represented God’s ‘eating’ of the sacrifices, the altar being described as His table (Mal. 1:7,12), His acceptance of the offerer and fellowship with them- for eating what had been brought to you was a sign of acceptance and religious fellowship with the donor.

Lev 7:7 As is the sin offering, so is the trespass offering; there is one law for them. The priest who makes atonement with them shall have it-
It is commonly stated in the Mosaic law that the priest made atonement. Any thoughtful person would have soon concluded that indeed the blood of bulls and goats could not of itself atone for sin (Heb. 10:4). The role of the priest in bringing about the atonement was therefore critical. And yet they too were flawed. So this invited the spiritually minded to look forward to the coming of an ideal priest, the Lord Jesus.  

Lev 7:8 The priest who offers any man’s burnt offering, even the priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has offered-
This skin could be eaten, or used to make clothes or other items from the hide. "Skin" is s.w. "leather". But it had been burnt, so we wonder whether there was any practical benefit from having it. Perhaps it was solely in order to teach the priests that they were themselves sinful, like Adam, who was given the skin of the first offering. 

Lev 7:9 Every grain offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the pan, and on the griddle, shall be the priest’s who offers it-
We wonder whether these methods of preparing the grain offering refer to the usage of the fire on the altar in order to prepare it, either by frying or baking. The "pan" would therefore be one of the "pans" which are descried as utensils for use in the sanctuary. For not all visitors to the sanctuary would have a home nearby where there was an oven for them to prepare it before they arrived.

Lev 7:10 Every grain offering, mixed with oil or dry, belongs to all the sons of Aaron, one as well as another-
God has "tempered" the whole body together (1 Cor. 12:24). This is alluding to the way in which the unleavened cakes of flour were "mixed" or "tempered" with the oil (cp. the Spirit) in order to be an acceptable offering (Lev. 2:4,5; 7:10; 9:4 etc.). Paul has already likened his Corinthian ecclesia to a lump of unleavened flour (1 Cor. 5:7); he is now saying that they have been "tempered" together by the oil of God's Spirit. If we break apart from our brethren, we are breaking apart, or denying, that "tempering" of the body which God has made.

Lev 7:11 This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which one shall offer to Yahweh-
Peace offerings were voluntary, but they were still regulated. Our desire to serve God on our own initiative doesn't mean that we can ignore His principles and totally do our own thing.

Lev 7:12 If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened loaves mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mixed with oil-
The idea is, "for a thanksgiving offering".
Continually we should offer this sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15), the thankfulness that wells up from knowing we are forgiven, the joy born of regular, meaningful repentance. And we do this "by" or 'on account of' the sacrifice of Jesus for us, which enables this forgiveness and thereby repentance (Heb. 13:12,15). This "sacrifice of praise" is alluded to in Jer. 33:11, which describes our offering "the sacrifice of praise... for his mercy" at the beginning of the Kingdom. Praise will [and does] bring forth sacrifice / action. Yet "praise" here is the same Hebrew word translated "thanksgiving"; and the sacrifice of thanksgiving was the peace offering, a commemoration of our free conscience and the peace of sin forgiven (Lev. 7:12-15). If we seriously confess our sins and believe in forgiveness, we should be experiencing a foretaste of the praise we will be offering at the start of the Kingdom, as we embark upon eternity.

The Hebrew for “thanksgiving" is rendered "confession" (of sin) in Ezra 10:11. We see that the peace offering was linked with confession of sin. It is significant that after Manasseh's marvellous confession of sin (is there any greater encouragement as to the possibility of repentance than his case?), he then offered peace offerings (2 Chron. 29:31). In Hezekiah's time, all those who were of a "free heart" offered "thank offerings", i.e. peace offerings (2 Chron. 29:31 cp. Lev. 7:12), after they had consecrated themselves. The free conscience that comes from realistic re- dedication was reflected in making the peace offering. Coming to the breaking of bread should have a like motivation.

David rejoiced in God's mercy to him, perhaps in the context of his sin with Bathsheba. He asks: "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his (spiritual) benefits toward me?" . He decides that he will offer a peace offering: "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving (the peace offering; Lev. 7:12)... I will take the cup of salvation... I will pay my vows... in the presence of all his people... in the courts of the Lord's house". As we sit "before the Lord" at the memorial meeting, beholding the cross of Christ and the blood of Calvary, we should be intensely aware of God's great benefits towards us: our salvation assured, sin forgiven, peace with God. Our response should be to renew our vows joyfully, in the ecclesia, God's house, in the presence of His people, as we eat the peace offering, the sacrifice of thanksgiving. As the peace offering was to be offered publicly, "before the tabernacle of the congregation" (Lev. 3:13), so in the sight of each other we too renew our vows and express our peace with God. And if we are all at peace with God, we should therefore be at peace with each other.

Lev 7:13 With loaves of leavened bread he shall offer his offering with the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving-
Even though leaven was prohibited in offerings (Lev. 2:11), God was willing to accept a peace offering with leaven in it (Lev. 7:13). And for a freewill offering, He would accept a deformed animal (Lev. 22:23), even though this was against His preferred principle of absolute perfection in offerings. There was no atonement without the shedding of blood; and yet for the very poor, God would accept a non-blood sacrifice. This all reflected the zeal of God to accept fallen men. Or perhaps the idea was that despite the presence of our flesh and moral weakness, represented by the leaven, man can still be at peace with God. For none of us reach perfect sinlessness, but we can still find peace with God.

Lev 7:14 Of it he shall offer one loaf out of each offering for a gift offering to Yahweh. It shall be the priest’s who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings-
LXX "And he shall bring one of all his gifts, a separate offering to the Lord: it shall belong to the priest who pours forth the blood of the peace-offering". GNB "You shall present one part of each kind of bread as a special contribution to the LORD". The reference is to the three kinds of bread listed in :12.

Lev 7:15 The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning-
The law of the peace offerings was designed so as to encourage the person who decided to make such a freewill offering to execute immediately- they were to eat it the same day they offered it, and the sacrifice would be totally unacceptable if it was killed but left for some days (Lev. 19:5-7). If we have an impulse to respond to the Lord, we should respond to it immediately. This isn’t mere impetuosity. It’s a spirit of always having an immediacy of response, which empowers us to overcome the procrastination which holds us back so much.

Lev 7:16 But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow, or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice; and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten-
The Hebrew word here for "freewill" carries the idea of spontaneity. This is the clear implication of its usage in places like Ex. 35:27; 36:3; Jud. 5:2,9; 1 Chron. 29:5,9; 2 Chron. 35:8; Ps. 54:6. There is a strong sense of immediate emotion attached to the word (Hos. 14:4). And there was a major emphasis in the law of Moses upon freewill offerings (Lev. 7:16; 22:18,21,23; 23:38; Num. 15:3; 29:39; Dt. 12:6,17; 16:10; 23:23). The other legal codes of the nations around Israel were all about rituals; whereas Yahweh's law encouraged spontaneous giving as part of the way of Yahweh. For He is not a God of rituals, but of relationship. The way of the Spirit is the same today; spontaneous, emotional, personal response to God's grace, responding to Him on our own initiative and in our own way, in addition to obeying His specific requirements.        

Lev 7:17 but what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned with fire-
As noted on :15,16, the spontaneous desire to offer a peace offering was not to be spun out over a period of days. The condemnation for doing so was severe (:18). This chapter will go on to warn against various ways of using the peace offering for the benefit of the offerer. One such idea may have been to kill meat and eat it over three days, and then claim this was a peace offering- when actually it involved eating meat which the offerer wanted to eat anyway. So the warning is against using voluntary offerings [in whatever way] as a front for doing our own thing, offering what cost us very little, and only appearing to others to have a great religious devotion.

Lev 7:18 If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings is eaten on the third day, it will not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed to him who offers it. It will be an abomination, and the soul who eats any of it will bear his iniquity’-
The Septuagint uses the word translated “imputed” in the NT with regard to sacrifices [symbolic of Christ’s death on the cross] being “reckoned” to a person (Lev. 7:18; Num. 18:27,30); and of Shimei asking David not to “reckon” his guilt to him, to judge him not according to the obvious facts of the case (2 Sam. 19:20). The Old Testament is at pains to stress that Yahweh will not justify the guilty (Ex. 23:7; Is. 5:23; Prov. 17:15). This is where the unique significance of Jesus comes in. Because of Him, His death and our faith in it, our being in Him, God can justify the wicked in that they have died with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:3-5), they are no longer, they are only “in Christ”, for them “to live is Christ”. They are counted as in Him, and in this way sinners end up justified.

Lev 7:19 ‘The flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned with fire. As for the flesh, everyone who is clean may eat it-
The fact someone had made the freewill decision to offer a peace offering didn't mean they could eat it unclean, or that they could allow the meat of the offering to be unclean. This ancient regulation is strikingly relevant to the modern mindset, to the effect that if I make a voluntary donation to my church, I am somehow justified to live and carry on as I wish, regardless of God's basic moral demands.

Lev 7:20 but the soul who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings that belongs to Yahweh, having his uncleanness on him, that soul shall be cut off from his people-
See on :19.
Being "cut off from Israel" may not mean that the person must be slain. For then the phrase "cut off from the earth" would have been used (as in Prov. 2:22 and often). The idea is that the person who ate leaven (Ex. 12:15) or was not circumcised (Gen. 17:14) was excluded from the community of God's people because they had broken or despised the covenant which made them His people. But there is no record of Israel keeping a list of 'cut off from Israel' Israelites and excluding them from keeping the feasts. So we conclude this means that God would consider such persons as cut off from His people. He would do the cutting off, and not men. In His book, they were "cut off". But there was no legal nor practical mechanism provided to Israel to manage the 'cutting off from Israel' of those who despised the covenant. The cutting off was done in God's eyes, in Heaven's record, and the Israelites were intended to continue to fellowship with such persons at the feasts. This is a strong argument for an open table, and for not seeking to make church excommunication the equivalent of this cutting off of the disobedient from the people of Israel. This explains why being "cut off from Israel" is the punishment stated for doing things which man could not see and judge- secretly breaking the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14), eating peace offerings whilst being unclean (Lev. 7:20- for how were others to know whether someone had touched the unclean, or was experiencing an unclean bodily emission), eating meat with blood still in it (Lev. 17:10,14), not adequately humbling the soul (Lev. 23:29), not keeping Passover (Num. 9:13), being presumptuous (Num. 15:30,31- only God can judge that), not washing after touching a dead body (Num. 19:13,20). This is why Lev. 20:6 makes it explicit that "I [Yahweh personally] will set My face against that person, and will cut him off from among his people". It is Yahweh who does the cutting off and not men (also 1 Sam. 2:33).

The peace offering was a voluntary sacrifice. But this didn’t mean that the offerer could be careless, or think that having made a special sacrifice to God somehow made his uncleanness of no significance. Taking the initiative in serving God is good, but it shouldn’t make us think that we are somehow above God’s principles and can be unclean in other aspects of our lives.

It was not allowed for unclean offerers to eat peace offerings (Lev. 7:20), nor could Levites or priests approach to the sacrifices whilst unclean (Lev. 22:3). But there is no statement that the offerer had to be clean, indeed Dt. 12:22 says that some sacrifices could be eaten by the offerer whilst unclean. We see here God's willingness to by all means accept the offerer of sacrifice.

Lev 7:21 When anyone touches any unclean thing, the uncleanness of man, or an unclean animal, or any unclean abomination, and eats some of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which belong to Yahweh, that soul shall be cut off from his people’-
The peace offering was one of the many antecedents of the memorial meeting. Once the offerer had dedicated himself to making it, he was condemned if he didn't then do it, and yet also condemned if he ate it unclean (Lev. 7:18,20). So a man had to either cleanse himself, or be condemned. There was no get out, no third road. The man who ate the holy things in a state of uncleanness had to die; his eating would load him with the condemnation of his sins (Lev. 22:3,16 AV mg.). This is surely the source for our possibility of “eating... condemnation" to ourselves by partaking of the breaking of bread in an unworthy manner. And so it is with us as we face the emblems. We must do it, or we deny our covenant relationship. And yet if we do it in our uncleanness, we also deny that relationship. And thus the breaking of bread brings us up before the cross and throne of the Lord Jesus- even now. It brings us to a realistic self-examination. If we cannot examine ourselves and know that Christ is really in us, then we are reprobate; we "have failed" (2 Cor. 13:5 G.N.B.). Self-examination is therefore one of those barriers across our path in life which makes us turn to the Kingdom or to the flesh. If we can't examine ourselves and see that Christ is in us and that we have therefore that great salvation in Him; we've failed.

Lev 7:22 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying-
This section in :23-27 about not eating fat or blood is sandwiched between other legislation about peace offerings. So the idea may be that the peace offering was not to be used as an excuse to feast oneself on otherwise prohibited parts of the animal. Again, as noted on :19, the warning is against thinking that freewill, voluntary religious devotion can be used for our own personal pleasuring.

Lev 7:23 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘You shall eat no fat, of bull, or sheep, or goat-
These animals are those referred to in :25, animals "of which men offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh". This confirms the suggestion in :23 that we are reading of specific warnings about misusing the peace offering, the idea of voluntary devotion, in order to get around the need to give God the best.

Lev 7:24 The fat of that which dies of itself, and the fat of that which is torn of animals, may be used for any other service, but you shall in no way eat of it-
As noted on :23,24, the context is warning against misusing the spirit of the peace offering. The temptation was to use the fat of the bodies of animals which had died natural deaths, and eat this as a peace offering. This was a specific denial of the vital principle that we are not to offer sacrifice of that which costs us nothing (2 Sam. 24:24).

Lev 7:25 For whoever eats the fat of the animal, of which men offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh, even the soul who eats it shall be cut off from his people-
The fat and blood represented the best parts of life, and were to be given to God completely. The making of a voluntary sacrifice like the peace offering didn't mean that basic Divine principles could be bypassed, or His moral demands reversed. And we must beware of this mentality in our money oriented age, thinking that financial generosity to the church frees us from other basic moral obligations.  

Lev 7:26 You shall not eat any blood, whether it is of bird or of animal, in any of your dwellings-
The blood was understood as representing life (Dt. 12:23; Lev. 17:11). We are not to take life to ourselves; not merely in that we aren’t to murder, but we also aren’t to assume that our lives, or any life, is in fact ours to use or dominate for ourselves. Our lives and those of others are God’s, and we cannot take any life to ourselves. This principle cannot be gotten around by making a one time act of voluntary devotion to God, such as the peace offering was. The command not to eat of blood or fat was specifically in the context of the legislation about peace offerings; this entire section is about the peace offering (:37).

Lev 7:27 Whoever it is who eats any blood, that soul shall be cut off from his people’-
The blood represented the life (Lev. 17:11). The lesson was that life- both our own and that of others- is God’s, and we shouldn’t assume that we are our own masters. It is not for us to do what we wish with life- it is God’s. Paradoxically, the person who thought they could eat blood, who thought that life was theirs, would lose their life. The only way to live eternally is to give our life back to God who gave it to us. In baptism, we die with Christ, giving our lives to God as He did, but this must be an ongoing principle in our daily living, as we live not to ourselves but to Him (2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Pet. 4:2).

Lev 7:28 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying-
These regulations continue the Divine warning against using the voluntary peace offering as a front for giving an appearance of sacrifice, when in fact the offerer was offering what cost them very little. Such spiritual pride, seen in Ananias and Sapphira, is so obnoxious to God.  

Lev 7:29 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to Yahweh shall bring his offering to Yahweh out of the sacrifice of his peace offerings-
I suggest in the context of :30 that we are to read this as meaning he must bring the sacrifice of his own  peace offerings. There was to be no fictive offering through paying someone else to do it. Relationship with God is personal and can only be celebrated between God and the individual. Yet the way of religion [not spirituality] is to get someone else to do our religious stuff for us.

Lev 7:30 With his own hands-
We cannot get others to do our worship and devotion to God for us. In this lies the grave error of the orthodox idea of a human priesthood who as it were do everything for us. We are to have a deeply personal relationship with God, with Christ as our only mediator (1 Tim. 2:5).

He shall bring the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before Yahweh-
The Hebrew word for "waved" means to lift up, to shake, to move to and fro. This style of offering meant that the offerer lifted up the sacrifice to God. The wave offerings were typically eaten by the priests, but first they had to be lifted up to God in recognition that they were being given ultimately to Him and not to the priests personally. The physical lifting up of the sacrifice through the air towards God could represent the ascension of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God. See on :32.

Lev 7:31 The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be Aaron’s and his sons’-
In addition, as for all offerings, "the front leg, the two jaw-bones, and the rough stomach of ruminants, in which the digestion is completed" was to be given to the priest (Dt. 18:3). These were thought to be the best parts of an animal; and additionally a leg (Lev. 7:32) and the breast (Lev. 7:31) of the offering were also to be given to the priest if it was a peace offering (Num. 18:11).

Lev 7:32 The right thigh you shall give to the priest for a heave offering out of the sacrifices of your peace offerings-
The portion to be waved was placed on the priests hands (Ex. 29:25), and then 'waved' or 'swung' towards the altar and then back- not from right to left. The idea was that the offerings were first given to God, recognizing they should be consumed on the altar to God; but then given back to the priest by God. So they ate them having first recognized that their food was really God's, all was of Him, and He had given it back to them to eat. This should be our spirit in partaking of any food, as we are the new priesthood. Our prayers of thanks for daily food should include this feature. All things are God's and anything we 'offer' to Him is only giving Him what He has given to us (1 Chron. 29:14,16). See on :30.

Lev 7:33 He among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right thigh for a portion-
This could be a repetition of :33, but the Hebrew for "right thigh" is s.w. "leg" and "shoulder", so there may be a reference to two parts of the body.

Lev 7:34 For the waved breast and the heaved thigh I have taken from the children of Israel out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their portion forever from the children of Israel-
"Their portion" was the food, and not land on which food could be grown. The land was the portion Yahweh gave to the other tribes. Clearly the more peace offerings offered meant the more food for the Levites; for they took a significant proportion of the meat offered. But peace offerings were voluntary, and the number of them offered reflected the overall spirituality of the people, which in turn was a function of the work of the Levites in teaching them to be spiritually devoted to Yahweh.

Lev 7:35 This is the anointing portion of Aaron, and the anointing portion of his sons, out of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister to Yahweh in the priest’s office-
GNB "This is the part of the food offered to the LORD that was given to Aaron and his sons on the day they were ordained as priests". Whilst the commandments about offerings in this chapter are all true in a general sense, they are mentioned in the book of Leviticus because the entire book was about the various offerings associated with the specific consecration of Aaron; see on Lev. 1:1. And that included peace offerings.

Lev 7:36 which Yahweh commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that He anointed them. It is their portion forever throughout their generations’-
See on :35. Yahweh anointed the priests (Lev. 7:36) - but in practice Moses did.
Moses is one of greatest types of the Lord Jesus, in whom the Father was supremely manifested. Because of this, it is fitting that we should see a very high level of God manifestation in Moses. Indeed it seems that God was manifest in Moses to a greater degree than in any other Old Testament character.

Lev 7:37 This is the law of the burnt offering, of the grain offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecration, and of the sacrifice of peace offerings-
This whole chapter, therefore, has concerned the sacrifices. The apparent interjection in :23-27 about not eating blood or fat, especially of animals which were found dead after dying from natural causes, is therefore also in the context of the offerings. Much of the legislation is therefore aimed at stopping attempts at only appearing to offer sacrifice, when in fact the intention was to please themselves.

Lev 7:38 which Yahweh commanded Moses in Mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their offerings to Yahweh, in the wilderness of Sinai-
This indicates Moses' obedience to the commandment to teach Israel God's law. In the day that he received the commandments in Mount Sinai, he taught them to Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. It means that the very day he returned from the mountain to the wilderness, he immediately shared with them the commandments which he had been given. Those who truly sense the bear God's words will be urgent in sharing them with others.