Many therefore of his disciples
Not of the twelve, nor of the seventy, but of the multitude of the disciples, who followed him from place to place, attended on his ministry, and might be baptized in his name; see ( John 4:1 ) ;
when they had heard [this];
that his flesh and blood were truly and really meat and drink, and that none had life in them, or should have eternal life, but such as eat and drink the same:
said, this is an hard saying;
or it is to be objected to; so (ayvq) , "an hard thing", the word here used in the Syriac version, and (yle) (awh hvq) , "it is to me a hard thing", are phrases used to express an objection in the Talmudic writings, where they are often met with: or it is difficult to be understood and received; so (hvqh rbdh) , "an hard saying", or "an hard cause", is a cause difficult to be tried and determined, ( Exodus 18:26 ) , and is used of that which seems incredible and absurd, and is surprising and unaccountable: so it is said F26, that
``it happened to a certain woman, that she came before R. Abika: she said to him, I have seen a spot; he said to her, perhaps there is a wound in thee; she answered him, yes, and it is healed; he replied, perhaps it may be opened, and the blood brought out; she answered him, yes; and he pronounced her clean. R. Abika saw his disciples look upon one another; and he said unto them, (hvq rbdh hm) , "is this an hard saying with you?"''is it a difficult thing with you? does it seem absurd to you? or are you surprised at it? anything difficult, or which seems irreconcilable, is so called: so the slaying the passover between the two evenings is called by Aben Ezra, in ( Exodus 12:6 ) , (hvq hlm) , "an hard saying". In like sense the phrase is used here; and the allusion may be to food that is hard of digestion, since Christ had been speaking of himself under the metaphors of bread and meat. As some of the doctrines of Christ are comparable to milk, which is easy of digestion; others are like to strong meat, which belongs to those of full age, and cannot be digested by children, by babes in Christ, and much less be received, ate, and digested, with ease and pleasure, by carnal minds; who therefore say, as these Capernaites did,
who can hear it?
this saying, or doctrine, concerning eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of Christ; or "him" Christ, who delivered this doctrine: such preaching, and such a preacher, are intolerable; there is no hearing, nor bearing them: hence we afterwards read, that these withdrew from the ministry of Christ, ( John 6:66 ) .
F26 Misn. Nidda, c. 8, sect. 3.