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.
Joseph A. Fitzmyer in his commentary cites two parallels for the proverb:
- Euripides, fragment 1086 Nauck: A physician for others, but himself teeming with sores.
- Genesis Rabbah 23 [15c]: Physician, heal your own lameness.
Here are some more parallels:
- Homer, Iliad 11.833-836 (tr. Samuel Butler): For of the physicians Podalirius and Machaon, I hear that the one is lying wounded in his tent and is himself in need of healing, while the other is fighting the Trojans upon the plain.
- Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 473-475 (tr. Paul Elmer More): Like a poor physician falling into sickness you despond and know not the remedies for your own disease.
- Servius Sulpicius, letter to Cicero (in Cicero, Letters to His Friends 4.5.5, tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey): And then, do not forget that you are Cicero, a man accustomed to give rules and advice to others. Do not be like a bad physician, who professes medical knowledge to his patients but does not know how to treat himself. (denique noli te oblivisci Ciceronem esse et eum, qui aliis consueris praecipere et dare consilium, neque imitari malos medicos, qui in alienis morbis profitentur tenere se medicinae scientiam, ipsi se curare non possunt.)
- Ovid, Cures for Love 314: And, I confess, despite being a physician I was shamefully sick. (et, fateor, medicus turpiter aeger eram.)