To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The acceptable year of the Lord.—The primary reference was to the year of Jubilee, when land that had been mortgaged returned to its owner, and debts were forgiven, and Israelite slaves released (Leviticus 25:9-10). It was to our Lord, as it had been to Isaiah, the type of the “year” of the divine kingdom. A somewhat slavish literalism, which the study of St. John’s Gospel (Luke 2, 5, 6, 7, 12) would have dispelled in an hour, led some of the Fathers to infer from this that our Lord’s ministry lasted but for a single year.Leviticus 25:8-13. The phrase "the acceptable year" means the time when it would be acceptable to God to proclaim such a message, or agreeable to him - to wit, under the gospel. See Poole on "Luke 4:17" Isaiah 61:2 but is not in any of the copies, or other versions. Our Lord did not read through all the three verses in the prophet, as it might be thought he would, and which was agreeable to the Jewish canon (c):
"he that reads in the law may not read less than three verses, and he may not read to an interpreter more than one verse, and in a prophet three; and if those three are three sections, they read everyone; they skip in a prophet, but they do not skip in the law.''
This last our Lord did, though he did not strictly attend to the former. Indeed, their rule, as elsewhere (d) given, obliged to read one and twenty verses; but this was not always observed; for
"if on a sabbath day there was an interpreter, or a preacher, they read in a prophet three verses, or five, or seven, and were not solicitous about twenty and one (e)''To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. the acceptable year] The primary allusion is to the year of Jubilee, Leviticus 25:8-10; but this was only a type of the true Jubilee of Christ’s kingdom. Many of the Fathers, with most mistaken literalness, inferred from this verse that our Lord’s ministry only lasted a year, and the notion acquired more credence from the extraordinary brightness of His first, or Galilaean, year of ministry. This view has been powerfully supported by Mr Browne in his Ordo Saeclorum, but is quite untenable (John 2:13; John 6:4; John 11:55).
As on the first day of the year of Jubilee, when the priests went through the land proclaiming, with sound of trumpet, the blessings of the opening year (Leviticus 25:8-17). Note Leviticus 4:10, where liberty is to be proclaimed to all in that year. Wyc., the year of the Lord pleasant. A literal interpretation of the word year gave rise among some of the Christian fathers to the theory that our Lord's ministry lasted but a single year.
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