To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
] The time which he willed and fixed for the redemption of his people, and in which he showed his goodwill and pleasure unto sinful men, in the gift of his Son to them, and for them; and which, as the Arabic and Syriac versions render it, was a time "acceptable to the Lord": the sufferings of Christ were according to his will; his sacrifice was of a sweet smelling savour to him; his righteousness he was well pleased with; and the satisfaction and atonement for sin he made was a plenary and complete one: all Christ did, and suffered, were grateful to God, because hereby his perfections were glorified, his purposes, counsel, and covenant were accomplished, and his people saved. The Persic version renders it, "to preach the law acceptable to God", neither agreeable to the original text, nor its sense; for Christ was sent to preach the Gospel, and not the law. In the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions is added, "and the day of vengeance", out of the prophecy in ( 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 F3:
``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 F4 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 F5''
F3 Misn. Megilia, c. 4. sect. 4. Massechet Sopherim, c. 11. sect. 1.
F4 Piske Harosh Megilla, c. 3. art. 6.
F5 Massechet Sopherim, c. 12. sect. 7.