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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 4:23

And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, `Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.' "

Adam Clarke Commentary

Physician, heal thyself - That is, heal the broken-hearted in thy own country, as the latter clause of the verse explains it; but they were far from being in a proper spirit to receive the salvation which he was ready to communicate; and therefore they were not healed.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Physician, heal thyself - This proverb was probably in common use at that time. The meaning is this: Suppose that a man should attempt to heal another when he was himself diseased in the same manner; it would be natural to ask him first to cure himself, and thus to render it manifest that he was worthy of confidence. The connection of this proverb, here, is this: “You profess to be the Messiah. You have performed miracles at Capernaum. You profess to be able to deliver us from our maladies, our sins, our afflictions. Show that you have the power, that you are worthy of our confidence, by working miracles here, as you profess to have done at Capernaum.” It does not refer, therefore, to any purification of his own, or imply any reflection on him for setting up to teach them. It was only a demand that he would show the proper evidence “by miracles” why they should trust in him, and he proceeds to show them why he would not give them this evidence.

Whatsoever we have heard done - Whatsoever we have heard that thou hast done. It would seem, from this, that Christ had before this performed miracles in Capernaum, though the evangelist has not recorded them.

In Capernaum - Capernaum was on the northwest corner of the Sea of Tiberias, and was not far from Nazareth. It is not improbable that some of those who then heard him might have been present and witnessed some of his miracles at Capernaum. See the notes at Matthew 4:13.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-4.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself, whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thine own country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country.

These remarks of Jesus were his response to unfavorable murmurings that developed in the audience as the meaning of his declaration began to take effect. Until this day, audiences in Jewish synagogues talk freely out loud during the services. Besides this, Christ freely read the thoughts of his hearers.

Physician, heal thyself ... This slander by the people of the Saviour never diminished throughout his ministry, reverberating against the cross itself, his enemies saying, "He saved others; himself he cannot save" (Matthew 27:42).

We have heard it done at Capernaum ... This is a reference to wonders wrought in that city which were not recorded, but were alluded to in Matthew 11:23.

No prophet is acceptable in his own country ... Plutarch said, "You will find that few of the most prudent and wisest of mankind have been appreciated in their own country."[18] Familiarity breeds contempt for that which is commonplace or well known, the same being a most unfortunate characteristic of men. This writer lived awhile in Washington, D.C.; and during the cherry blossom festival made a trip through Arkansas, the peach orchards in that state being in full flower at the time. He stopped at a lone filling station surrounded on both sides of the road a mile in both directions by one of the largest orchards in Arkansas, then blazing with one of the most fantastic color displays to be seen anywhere on earth; but the station operator had just been reading an account of the cherry blossom spectacle in Washington; and he said, after a glance at the license plates, "Oh, I would give anything to see the cherry blossoms in Washington." What a pity it is that a man living in the very midst of 10,000 acres of magnificent bloom probably spent the rest of the morning dreaming about the far-off cherry blossoms in the tidal basin of the Capitol City. What a far greater shame it was for the citizens of Nazareth to despise the Christ of the ages because they were familiar with the surroundings where he grew up.

But there was more to Nazareth's rejection than a mere failure to appreciate Jesus; there was also a jealous hostility deriving from his working wonders in Capernaum instead of their town. Were not its citizens, at least some of them, the Israel of God? Thus, it was that here in microcosm the racial conceit of the chosen people erupted against Jesus. God indeed loved Israel, but he also loved Gentiles; and Jesus promptly cited two examples from the sacred Scriptures of Israel to demonstrate a truth they should have already known. For a sermon on the unbelief at Nazareth, see my Commentary on Matthew, Matthew 13:56.

ENDNOTE:

[18] Ibid., p. 746.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said unto them, ye will surely say unto me this proverb,.... 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, זיל אסי נפשך, "go heal thyself"F13Zohar in Exod. fol. 31. 2. ; and sometimes in this form, אסיא אסי חגרתך, "physician, heal thy lameness"F14Bereshit Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 20. 4. : 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.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-4.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

this proverb — like our “Charity begins at home.”

whatsoever, etc. — “Strange rumors have reached our ears of Thy doings at Capernaum; but if such power resides in Thee to cure the ills of humanity, why has none of it yet come nearer home, and why is all this alleged power reserved for strangers?” His choice of Capernaum as a place of residence since entering on public life was, it seems, already well known at Nazareth; and when He did come thither, to give no displays of His power when distant places were ringing with His fame, wounded their pride. He had indeed “laid his hands on a few sick folk and healed them” (Mark 6:5); but this seems to have been done quite privately the general unbelief precluding anything more open.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-4.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Doubtless (παντωςpantōs). Adverb. Literally, at any rate, certainly, assuredly. Cf. Acts 21:22; Acts 28:4.

This parable (την παραβολην ταυτηνtēn parabolēn tautēn). See discussion on Matthew 13. Here the word has a special application to a crisp proverb which involves a comparison. The word physician is the point of comparison. Luke the physician alone gives this saying of Jesus. The proverb means that the physician was expected to take his own medicine and to heal himself. The word παραβοληparabolē in the N.T. is confined to the Synoptic Gospels except Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. This use for a proverb occurs also in Luke 5:36; Luke 6:39. This proverb in various forms appears not only among the Jews, but in Euripides and Aeschylus among the Greeks, and in Cicero‘s Letters. Hobart quotes the same idea from Galen, and the Chinese used to demand it of their physicians. The point of the parable seems to be that the people were expecting him to make good his claim to the Messiahship by doing here in Nazareth what they had heard of his doing in Capernaum and elsewhere. “Establish your claims by direct evidence” (Easton). This same appeal (Vincent) was addressed to Christ on the Cross (Matthew 27:40, Matthew 27:42). There is a tone of sarcasm towards Jesus in both cases.

Heard done (ηκουσαμεν γενομεναēkousamen genomena). The use of this second aorist middle participle γενομεναgenomena after ηκουσαμενēkousamen is a neat Greek idiom. It is punctiliar action in indirect discourse after this verb of sensation or emotion (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040-42, 1122-24).

Do also here (ποιησον και ωδεpoiēson kai hōde). Ingressive aorist active imperative. Do it here in thy own country and town and do it now. Jesus applies the proverb to himself as an interpretation of their real attitude towards himself.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Surely ( πάντως )

Lit., by all means. Rev., doubtless,

Proverb ( παραβολὴν )

Rev., parable. See on Matthew 13:3. Wyc., likeness.

Physician, heal thyself

A saying which Luke alone recordsand which would forcibly appeal to him as a physician. Galen speaks of a physician who should have cured himself before he attempted to attend patients. The same appeal was addressed to Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:40, Matthew 27:42).


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

Ye will surely say — That is, your approbation now outweighs your prejudices. But it will not be so long. You will soon ask, why my love does not begin at home? Why I do not work miracles here, rather than at Capernaum? It is because of your unbelief. Nor is it any new thing for me to be despised in my own country. So were both Elijah and Elisha, and thereby driven to work miracles among heathens, rather than in Israel.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-4.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

23.Physician, heal thyself From the words of Christ it may be easily inferred, that he was treated with contempt by the inhabitants of Nazareth: for he states publicly those thoughts, which he knew to exist in their minds. He afterwards imputes to them the blame of his declining to work miracles among them, and charges them with malice, in bestowing no honor on a prophet of God. The objection, which he anticipates, is this: “There is no reason to wonder, if his countrymen hold him in little estimation, since he does not dignify his own country, as he does other places, by working miracles; and, consequently, it is but a just revenge, if his own countrymen, whom he treats with less respect than all others, are found to reject him.” Such is the meaning of the common proverb, that a physician ought to begin with himself, and those immediately connected with him, before he exhibits his skill in healing others. The amount of the objection is, that Christ acts improperly, in paying no respect to his own country, while he renders other cities of Galilee illustrious by his miracles. And this was regarded by the inhabitants of Nazareth as a fair excuse for rejecting him in their turn.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-4.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

Ver. 23. Physician, heal thyself] That is, thy country. So that for a man to cure his country is to cure himself.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-4.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

23. θερ. σ.] Not, ‘raise thyself from thy obscure station,’ but, exert thy powers of healing in thine own country, as presently interpreted; the Physician being represented as an inhabitant of Nazareth, and σεαυτόν including His own citizens in it. Stier remarks, that the reproach was repeated under the Cross. Then, with a strictly individual application. On the miracles previously wrought in Capernaum, see note on Luke 4:14. That in John 4:47-53 was one such.

εἰς τὴν κ.] Whether we read ἐν or εἰς, the preposition is equally local in its signification, in Capernaum, not ‘in the case of Capernaum,’ or ‘to Capernaum.’


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-4.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1486

PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF

Luke 4:23. And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself.

WE are told that “Solomon spake three thousand proverbs [Note: 1 Kings 4:32.].” To condense the results of general observation in some brief sentence, was a mode of communication which wise and learned men of old greatly affected: and to search out what was so communicated, was a study in which the young were deeply employed [Note: Proverbs 1:5-6.]. By proverbs every species of instruction was imparted. By them, also, were reproof and encouragement conveyed with peculiar force and emphasis. Nor was there any one so wise, but he might be addressed in this manner without offence. Even our blessed Lord, after having represented himself as the great Healer of the world, conceived that his hearers would apply to him this proverb, “Physician, heal thyself.” This, doubtless, was a common proverb at that time, as it is also amongst us at the present day: and it shall be my endeavour to shew,

I. What is its import—

It may be understood,

1. As a sarcastic reflection—

[This is the precise view in which it was understood by our blessed Lord. He had wrought many miracles at Capernaum: and now at Nazareth, where he had lived from his earliest years, the people hoped to see similar exertions of his almighty power: and, because he did not see fit to gratify their unreasonable expectations, they doubted the truth of the reports which they had heard concerning him. Hence “our Lord said to them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself.’ Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thine own country.” But they had no right to dictate to him thus. The report of what he had done in Capernaum was authenticated beyond all reasonable doubt; and the people of Nazareth ought to have believed in him. But, being offended at him on account of his low parentage and connexions, they could not endure to regard him as their promised Messiah: and it was to punish this unbelief, that our Lord withheld from them any further evidence at that time. This is the account given both by St. Matthew and St Luke [Note: ver. 22–24. with Matthew 13:54-58.]: and this shews the precise meaning of the proverb, as applied to him by his countrymen at that time. Its meaning was, ‘You profess yourself the Messiah; and, if you do not give us all the proofs of it which you have given to others, we will not receive you. We shall take it for granted that you are incompetent to the task; and that you decline all efforts for our conviction, because you are not able to impose on us, who know you, in the way that you have imposed on others, to whom you were not so well known.’ Thus was the proverb used by them as a sarcastic reflection; intimating, that he could not do in his own country what he pretended to have done at a distance from it.]

2. As a salutary admonition—

[Certainly, a person seeking to reform others should, so to speak, begin at home; and, if he do not, he will provoke others to retaliate with this advice, “Physician, heal thyself.” It is in this sense that the proverb is more generally used amongst ourselves. And in this sense it exactly accords with the instruction given by our Lord, in his Sermon on the Mount: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, and perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either, how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye [Note: Luke 6:41-42.].” In this view it is a salutary admonition, for which all must be prepared who would do good to others: and to cut off all just occasion for it must be the one labour of their lives.]

When we see our blessed Lord supposing it applied to himself, it will be desirable to ascertain,

II. To whom it may with propriety be addressed—

You will bear in mind, that our Lord was supposed to possess and exercise such powers as fully attested his divine mission. These powers the people of Nazareth, therefore, called upon him to display amongst them: and on his compliance with these terms, they suspended their acceptance of him as their promised Messiah. Had he never given sufficient proof of his divine mission, they would have been justified in demanding more convincing evidence of it. But what he had done at Capernaum was abundantly sufficient to shew that God was with him of a truth; and therefore their demand was unreasonable, and the refusal of it was a just punishment for their incredulity. But we may well apply the proverb,

1. To the proud moralist, who pours contempt upon the Gospel—

[Many, like the Pharisees of old, adhere to the law of works, and regard the Gospel as foolishness. Their principles, they judge, are quite sufficient for the effecting of every thing that is necessary for their salvation. Then, I say, ‘Prove it to us. You profess that you have satisfied others: but, before we can acquiesce in your high pretensions, we call upon you to satisfy us. ‘Physician, whoever thou art, heal thyself,” and let us see in thee a proof of the efficacy of those principles of which thou boastest. That they will suffice to “cleanse the outside of the cup and platter,” we readily admit: but that they will operate effectually to the cleansing of the inside, we greatly doubt. We will admit the truth of all that was alleged by thy great prototype in the Temple: “I thank thee, O God, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican: I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess [Note: Luke 18:11-12.].” But, in our view of religion, humility, and faith, and love, are very primary and essential parts: and we beg leave to ask, What evidence thou givest us of these? we see not of these any proof whatever: and, till we see them visibly wrought into the frame and constitution of thy soul, we must call in question all thy high pretensions; and must consider thy rejection of the Gospel as a proof of thine own pride, and ignorance, and unbelief’ — — —]

2. To the censorious professor, who dishonours the Gospel—

[Almost all classes of Christians are ready to censure and condemn those who differ from them: and, even in their own society, there are but too many who cast on each other unkind and censorious reflections: and, in fact, those who are the most faulty themselves are the foremost in finding fault with others. This disposition greatly prevailed amongst the Pharisaic Jews; who, boasting of their high privileges, were forward to condemn others, whilst they themselves were guilty of the very same or worse enormities than those which they censured in others. Hence St. Paul, in the true spirit of this proverb, reproved them; saying, “Thou who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest, a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest, a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege [Note: Romans 2:21-22.]?” Now, in this, must I reply to multitudes of professing Christians: do you complain of others as carnal and worldly and covetous, and are ye yourselves faulty in these respects? Do ye complain of pride, anger, and un-charitableness in others, and yet indulge them in yourselves? Do ye censure others for bigotry and intolerance, and yet betray the same unhallowed spirit towards those who differ from you? In a word, look at home; and let your severity be directed rather against your own defects, than the defects of others; and, instead of prescribing remedies so profusely to others, apply them first for the healing of the disorders of of your own souls.]

3. To true believers, who desire to adorn and recommend the Gospel—

[Be sure that those to whom you recommend the Gospel will first mark its operation upon your minds: and, if they see that it has done little or nothing for you, they will not be disposed to expect any great benefits from it to themselves. On the contrary, if they see that it has wrought a valuable change on you, they will be ready to receive it, in order that they themselves may be made partakers of the same benefits. Hence, your first care must be to experience all its sanctifying and saving operations in your own souls; that, when you commend it to others, you may be able to say, “What my eyes have seen, my ears have heard, and my hands have handled, of the word of life, that same declare I unto you [Note: 1 John 1:1-3.].” St. Paul could appeal to his hearers, “how holily, justly, and unblameably he had behaved himself among them [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:10.]:” and could boldly say, “Whatsoever ye have heard and seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you [Note: Philippians 4:9.].” This rendered his word incomparably more powerful than it would have been under other circumstances; and no doubt, if you also can make a similar appeal, whether you be ministers or private Christians, it will give ten-fold effect to your instructions. To all, then, I would say, labour first to improve the Gospel for the sanctification and comfort of your own souls; and then will those who behold the brightness of your light, acknowledge that God is with you of a truth; and that the Gospel, which has wrought such things for you, is worthy of universal acceptation.]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/luke-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 4:23. πάντως, by all means) Jesus is not caught or attracted by every kind of assent to His word: but presently subjoins remarks of such a kind, as that the hearers may be tested and proved by them. So John 8:32, where see the note.— ἐρεῖτε, ye will say) that is to say, this feeling, whereby ye say, Is not this Joseph’s son? will wax strong with you, when ye shall hear concerning my miracles. Comp. Matthew 13:54-55.(52) This is a metonymy of the consequent [for the antecedent], i.e. your unbelief [the antecedent] which ye now betray will prevent me, so that I shall not exhibit many miracles among you, as among others: then it shall be that you will be able to say [the consequent], Physician, heal thyself.— παραβολὴν) משל, a proverb.— σεαυτὸν, thyself) that is to say, what you have made good (performed) abroad, make good (perform) also at home, and in your own country.— καπερναοὺ΄, Capernaum) the city to which Jesus was shortly about to set out, and where He was about to perform miracles, Luke 4:31 ; Luke 4:33, etc. Even previously He had been there: John 2:12. But we do not read of His having at that time either stayed long or wrought miracles. [Nevertheless He is recorded (John 4:47) as having healed the son of the nobleman (courtier) who was afflicted with sickness in Capernaum: and this occurrence seems to be referred to in this passage no less than in those deeds which He afterwards wrought: namely, in the same way as already in the age of David, Psalms 85:2 (Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of the people, Thou hast covered all their sins), the conclusion is drawn from the deliverance out of the Babylonish captivity to ulterior instances of grace reserved for more remote times. Moreover, when Jesus, already in this passage, predicts these things of the city of Capernaum, it is hereby intimated that the violent usage offered to our Lord by the people of Nazareth, was not the cause, and the only cause in particular, for Jesus having departed to Capernaum to take up His abode there.—Harm., p. 189.]


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 23,24. Christ here tells those of Nazareth what was in their hearts, viz. that they in their hearts contemned him, because of the meanness of his parentage, and challenged him to confirm his doctrine by miracles, urging that Nazareth was his own country, and physicians in the first place ought to cure themselves, and their friends, and those of their own families; they therefore challenge him to work some such miracles as he had before wrought in Capernaum, as they had heard. He gives them the reason why he did no miracles amongst them, viz. because he discerned that they contemned them, as is very usual for persons, according to that common saying:

No prophet is accepted in his own country. The reference here to some things done before this time in Capernaum, would incline us to think that after Christ’s temptations he first went to Cana of Galilee, where he wrought his first miracle, John 2:1, turning the water into wine, then to Capernaum, where he staid not many days, John 2:12, then to Nazareth; but hearing that John was cast into prison, he removed from Nazareth to Capernaum, out of the jurisdiction of Herod, under the milder government of Philip his brother.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 4:23". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-4.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Heal thyself; this was a proverb, the meaning of which here was, What you are said to have done among strangers, do here among your acquaintance.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

23. τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην. Παραβολὴ represents the Hebrew mashal, and had a wider meaning than its English equivalent. Thus it is also used for a proverb (Beispiel), 1 Samuel 10:12; 1 Samuel 24:13; Ezekiel 12:22; or a type, Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. See on Luke 8:5.

ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν. The same taunt was addressed to our Lord on the Cross. Here it seems to have more than one application,—meaning, ‘If you are the Messiah why are you so poor and humble?’ or, ‘Why do you not do something for us, here in your own home?’ (So Theophylact, Euthymius, &c.) It implies radical distrust, like Hic Rhodos, hic salta. There seems to be no exact Hebrew equivalent of the proverb; but something like it (a physician who needs healing) is found in Plut. De Discern. Adul. 32, ἰατρὸς ἄλλων, αὐτὸς ἔλκεσιν βρύων.

ὅσα ἠκούσαμεν γενόμενα εἰς τὴν Καφαρναούμ. All the things we hear of as done at (or to) Capernaum. The ἐν of some MSS. is a correction to an easier construction. See Winer, p. 518. The εἰς can hardly be here explained as a constructio praegnans. St Luke has not before mentioned Capernaum, and this is one of the many indications found in his writings that silence respecting any event is no proof that he was unaware of it. Nor has any other Evangelist mentioned any previous miracle at Capernaum, unless we suppose that the healing of the courtier’s son (John 4:46-54) had preceded this visit to Nazareth. Jesus had, however, performed the first miracle at Cana, and may well have wrought others during the stay of “not many days” mentioned in John 2:12. Capernaum was so completely the head-quarters of His ministry as to be known as “His own city.” (Matthew 4:12-16; Matthew 11:23.) Perhaps, as Meyer says, the Nazarenes here betray the petty jealousy felt by small towns against Capernaum. But there was at Nazareth a moral obstacle also. (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5. Comp. Luke 11:16; Luke 11:29; Luke 23:35.)


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-4.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he said to them, “Doubtless you will say to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself’, whatever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in your own country.” ’

Thus Jesus chides them because of their attitude, and puts into their mouths the words that they wanted to say, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ In other words ‘get yourself sorted out’. These words probably mean that as He has not performed any miracles in Nazareth He needs to heal Himself so that He could perform in Nazareth what He had performed in Capernaum. They did not pause to consider that the reason why nothing had happened in Nazareth was because no one had brought their sick to Him (contrast the people of Capernaum in Luke 4:40). And this was because they found it difficult to believe that the local carpenter could be a healer.

Others have read ‘Physician, heal yourself’ as meaning, ‘Physician heal your own townspeople as well.’ That healing is certainly what they wanted, for they wanted Him to do in Nazareth what He had done in Capernaum. Indeed what follows suggests that there was a great deal of antagonism because He had not done so.

Some have suggested that it meant that He should remember that He came from a poor family and better Himself before He sought to lecture others. What could He know of helping the poor when He was poor Himself? But that would not connect with the next phrase.

‘Whatever we have heard done at Capernaum.’ Note the note of doubt. They had heard it, but they were not convinced that it was true. (Nazareth was a little cut off from the mainstream of life).


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-4.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

23. Physician, heal thyself—You who paint our misery as so deep, and yourself as our physician, first remedy your own case. If we are miserable Nazarenes, you are as Nazarene as we, and a mere mechanic’s son at that. And there is this difference against you, that you are under charge of an imposture from which you can redeem yourself only by miracle.

Do also here—You may ground your assumed exaltation on miracles claimed by you as having been performed at Capernaum and elsewhere. Let us see the like. Perhaps miracles that would pass current at Capernaum might not stand before us sharp men of Nazareth!


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-4.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently Jesus had been ministering in Capernaum before this incident (cf. Luke 4:14-15). The accounts of Jesus in Nazareth in Matthew 13:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6 also follow instances of His doing miracles in Capernaum ( Matthew 4:13; Mark 1:21-28). This has encouraged some interpreters to regard this passage in Luke as parallel to the others in Matthew and Mark , but this is probably incorrect. Jesus" decision to refrain from doing miracles in Nazareth apparently led some of the Nazarenes to question His ability to do them at all. This cast further doubt on His messiahship in their minds. They thought that if He was the Messiah He should bring blessing to Nazareth and do signs there too.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-4.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 4:23. Doubtless ye will say. This reply is based upon something deeper than the question of Luke 4:22. The tone throughout is that of reproof.

This parable. A proverb, according to our use of terms, but a proverb is usually a condensed parable, see p. 117.

Physician. Luke, the physician, presents Christ as the Physician; our Lord implies that this is His office.

Heal thyself. Help thine own countrymen, who are naturally nearest to thee. Others paraphrase it: If thou wilt be a helper of others (physician), help thyself from the want of respect and esteem among us, by working miracles here as thou hast done in Capernaum. The former seems the more natural explanation. Comp, the similar reproach at the crucifixion (‘Himself He cannot save’) the one is the natural development of the other, envy ripening into malice.

Done at Capernaum. On Capernaum, see Matthew 4:13. The correct reading may mean ‘done for Capernaum.’ He had certainly been already active there. The inhabitants of Nazareth would naturally be jealous of the larger place, and might hope that He would make His early home the centre of miraculous displays. Local pride was involved, and the material advantage was the only motive of any wish they had for His presence among them. Evil men may boast of a distinguished Christian townsman.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-4.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 4:23. πάντως, doubtless, of course— παραβολὴν = Hebrew mashal, including proverbs as well as what we call “parables”. A proverb in this case.— ἰατρέ, etc.: the verbal meaning is plain, the point of the parable not so plain, though what follows seems to indicate it distinctly enough = do here, among us, what you have, as we hear, done in Capernaum. This would not exactly amount to a physician healing himself. We must be content with the general idea: every sensible benefactor begins in his immediate surroundings. There is probably a touch of scepticism in the words = we will not believe the reports of your great deeds, unless you do such things here (Hahn). For similar proverbs in other tongues, vide Grotius and Wetstein. The reference to things done in Capernaum implies an antecedent ministry there.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-4.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

see you will object to me this similitude, (Greek: parabolen) or trite saying, applied to such as attended to the concerns of others, and neglected their own. (Menochius)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-4.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

surely = doubtless.

proverb = parable. Figure of speech

Paroemia. App-6.

Physician, &c. Peculiar to Luke. See Colossians 4:14

done = being done.

Capernaum. See App-169. First occurance in Luke. Silence there is no proof of ignorance.

also here = here also.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

And he said unto them, Ye will surely, [ pantoos (G3843), 'Ye will no doubt'] say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself - not unlike our proverb, 'Charity begins at home.'

Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 'Strange rumours have reached our ears of thy doings at Capernaum; but if such power resides in thee to cure the ills of humanity, why has none of it yet come nearer home, and why is all this alleged power reserved for strangers?' His choice of Capernaum as a place of residence since entering on public life was, it seems, already well known at Nazareth; and when He did come there, that he should give no displays of his power when distant places were ringing with His fame wounded their pride. He had indeed "laid His hands on a few sick folk, and healed them" (Mark 6:5); but this, as we have said, seems to have been done quite privately-the general unbelief precluding anything more open.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-4.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) Physician, heal thyself.—There is something interesting in our finding this proverb in the Gospel of the beloved physician. May we think of him as hearing the proverb casually, tracking out its application, and so coming on this history? It was, probably, so far as is known, a common Jewish proverb; but there is no trace of it in Greek writers, and it was therefore likely to attract his notice.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
Physician
6:42; Romans 2:21,22
whatsoever
Matthew 4:13,23; 11:23,24; John 4:48
do
John 2:3,4; 4:28; 7:3,4; Romans 11:34,35; 2 Corinthians 5:16
thy country
Matthew 13:54; Mark 6:1

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 4:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-4.html.

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