Verse 6. I removed his shoulder from the burden. Israel was the drudge and slave of Egypt, but God gave him liberty. It was by God alone that the nation was set free. Other peoples owe their liberties to their own efforts and courage, but Israel received its Magna Charta as a free gift of divine power. Truly may the Lord say of everyone of his freed men,
I removed his shoulder from the burden. His hands were delivered from the pots. He was no longer compelled to carry earth, and mould it, and bake it; the earth basket was no more imposed upon the people, nor the tale of bricks exacted, for they came out into the open country where none could exact upon them. How typical all this is of the believer's deliverance from legal bondage, when, through faith, the burden of sin glides into the Saviour's sepulchre, and the servile labours of self righteousness come to an end for ever.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Pots, or burden baskets. Compare Exodus 6:6-7 . Rosellini gives a drawing of these baskets from a picture discovered in a tomb at Thebes. "Of the labourers," says he, "some are employed in transporting the clay in vessels, some in intermingling it with straw; others are taking the bricks out of the form, and placing them in rows; still others with a piece of wood upon their backs, and ropes on each side, carry away the bricks already burned or dried. Their dissimilarity to the Egyptians appears at the first view: their complexion, physiognomy and beard permit us not to be mistaken in supposing them to be Hebrews." Frederic Fysh.
Verse 6. Pots. The bricklayer's baskets; hanging one at each end of a yoke laid across the shoulders. William Kay.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6. The emancipation of believers. Law work is burdensome, servile, never completed, unrewarded, more and more irksome. Only the Lord can deliver us from this slavish toil, and he does it by grace and by power. We do well to remember the time of our liberation, exhibit gratitude for it, and live consistently with it.