Luke 4:23

23 And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 1'Physician, heal yourself.' What we have heard you did 2at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well."

Luke 4:23 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 4:23

And he said unto them, ye will surely say unto me this
Or "parable"; for any pithy sentence, or proverbial expression, was, by the Jews, called a parable:

physician heal thyself;
and which was a proverb in use with the Jews; and which is sometimes expressed thus, (Kvpn yoa lyz) , "go heal thyself" F13; and sometimes in this form, (Ktrgx yoa ayoa) , "physician, heal thy lameness" F14: the meaning of which is, that a man ought to look at home, and take care of himself, and of those that belonged to him; and Christ was aware that his townsmen would object this to him, that if he was the person he was said to be, and could do the miracles and cures which were ascribed to him, he ought to do something of this kind at home, among them, who were his townsmen, neighbours, relations, and acquaintance; that is, heal their sick, lame, blind, leprous, deaf, and dumb: and that this is the sense of it, is manifest from what follows,

whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum:
a place where Christ often was, and where he cured the centurion's servant of the palsy, and Peter's wife's mother of a fever, and another man sick of a palsy, and the woman of her bloody issue, and a man that had a withered hand, and where he raised Jairus's daughter from the dead:

do also here in thy country;
or city, as the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions render it: hence it appears, that this was not the first of our Lord's ministry; he had preached elsewhere, and wrought miracles before he came to Nazareth, and of which his townsmen had heard; and therefore were desirous that he would do the like among them, if he was able, for they seem to be very incredulous, and to question the reports of him, and his ability to perform such things; however, if he could, they thought they had as good a right to his favours and benefits, as any, this being his native place.


F13 Zohar in Exod. fol. 31. 2.
F14 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 20. 4.

Luke 4:23 In-Context

21 And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"
23 And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself.' What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well."
24 And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,

Cross References 2

  • 1. [Luke 23:39; Matthew 27:42]
  • 2. Matthew 11:23; Mark 2:1-12; John 4:46-53
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.