Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week

exile, the
The time in Israel’s history when the Jews were taken into captivity, first the northern tribes to Assyria and later Judah to Babylon. 

  • From scripture:

    In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

    And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. (2 Kings 17:6-8 ESV).

  • From The Message of the Old Testament by Mark Dever

    As we read in chapter 17 [of 2 Kings], the northern kingdom reaches the nadir, the trough, the lowest point of their history as all ten northern tribes are swallowed up by the growing Assyrian Empire. The cities fall, and their populations are exiled, deported, and scattered, never to return and lost forever to history.

    Why did all of this happen? Chapter 17 tells us explicitly: “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.”


    I am occasionally asked whether God still judges nations today, and surely the answer must be yes. I don’t know much about this, and the Scripture does not directly address the question. But we do know that God causes the rise and fall of nations (e.g., Isa. 33:3). And we know through the prophets that God brought judgment upon the nations surrounding Israel and Judah. They are held accountable to God’s own universal standard of righteousness.  … Having noted this, however, we can not conversely assume that every nation that is prosperous is steadfastly following the Lord. For his own purposes, God sometimes allows unrighteous nations to temporarily prosper—as he clearly allowed both Assyria and Babylon to prosper for a season. Nor can we assume that every nation that falls, falls because of its unrighteousness. The story of Job, indeed, the life of our perfectly righteous Jesus, teach us otherwise. So we should be reminded that in this fallen world, a simple correlation between earthly prosperity and God’s approval does not always exist.

Learn more:

  1. Easton Bible Dictionary: Exile
  2. Holman Bible Dictionary: Exile
  3. R. C. Sproul: Seventy Years of Exile
  4. What was the Babylonian captivity/exile?
  5. David Howard Jr.: Exile and Restoration
  6. MacArthur Study Bible: Exile to Babylon
  7. NTS Library: Old Testament Survey Part 3: Exile & Return

Related terms:

Filed under Old Testament

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