Deuteronomy 28:23
And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under you shall be iron.
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(23) Thy heaven . . . shall be brass, and the earth . . . iron.—Not only in respect of the drought, but of God’s refusal to remove it. See Jeremiah 14, 15 for a most pathetic intercession for Israel under this misery, answered by the order, “Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11). Only grief is permitted (Deuteronomy 28:17). Relief is not given (Deuteronomy 15:1).

28:15-44 If we do not keep God's commandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness. Observe the justice of this curse. It is not a curse causeless, or for some light cause. The extent and power of this curse. Wherever the sinner goes, the curse of God follows; wherever he is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a curse. All his enjoyments are made bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews, for their apostacy and disobedience. We may observe the fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To complete their misery, it is threatened that by these troubles they should be bereaved of all comfort and hope, and left to utter despair. Those who walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them looks frightful."Blasting" denotes (compare Genesis 41:23) the result of the scorching east wind; "mildew" that of an untimely blight falling on the green ear, withering it and marring its produce.23. heaven … brass … earth … iron—strong Oriental figures used to describe the effects of long-continued drought. This want of regular and seasonable rain is allowed by the most intelligent observers to be one great cause of the present sterility of Palestine. Be brass, i.e. like brass, hard and dry, and shut up from giving rain. See Leviticus 26:19.

Be iron, hard, and chapt, and barren. And the heaven that is over thy head shall be brass,.... Or like brass, not for its clearness, brightness, and splendour, or for its being spread out like a molten looking glass which was of brass, Job 37:18; but for its dryness and hardness, no moisture being in it, or passing through it; no showers of rain nor dew being let down from it:

and the earth that is under thee shall be iron; or like iron, hard and impenetrable, into which the plough and spade will not enter; nor anything spring out of it, for want of rain and dew to moisten and soften it. The same is said in Leviticus 26:19; only there is an inversion of the figures; there the heaven is said to be as iron, and the earth like brass, but signify the same thing.

And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be {k} brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

(k) It will give you no more moisture than if it were of brass.

23. Cp. Leviticus 26:19 : heaven as iron, earth as brass.Verses 23, 24. - Terrible drought is here threatened; no rain should fall (cf. Leviticus 26:19); but instead thereof dust, both light as powder and heavy as sand, should fall upon them. The allusion is probably to those clouds of dust and sand which often fill the air in Palestine, when the heat is intense and there has been no rain for a season; the wind then becomes a vehement sirocco, and the air is filled with sand and dust, and is like the glowing heat at the mouth of a furnace (Robinson, 'Bib. Res.,' 2:123; Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' 2:311). Deuteronomy 28:16-19 correspond precisely to Deuteronomy 28:3-6, so as to set forth the curse as the counterpart of the blessing, except that the basket and kneading-trough are mentioned before the fruit of the body.
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