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Friday, February 03, 2017

Sheerah: a female builder in ancient Israel

1 Chronicles 7:24 His daughter was Sheerah, who built Beth Horon the lower and the upper, and Uzzen Sheerah.

I'm not clear on who "His" represents. Perhaps Ephraim, the son of Joseph, who was founder, with his wife or wives, of one of the more important tribes of Israel. Perhaps a member of that tribe. A couple of commentaries consulted were not helpful on that point.

The remarkable thing is that there was a woman, Sheerah, who is given credit for building three cities in ancient Israel. I confess that I had never noticed this, as I usually whiz over the "begats" as quickly as my conscience will let me. But there are interesting things in those chapters of 1 Chronicles, and God knew and loved every person mentioned in them.

Did Sheerah physically build these cities, stone by stone? Or did she finance the building? Or did she cause her family (and maybe friends) to do the building? The Bible doesn't say. However, note Nehemiah 3:12 Next to him, Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, he and his daughters, made repairs. From the context, it appears that the daughters of Shallum, much later in Israel's history, physically worked on repairing the wall of Jerusalem. Perhaps Sheerah built some walls from scratch.

In any case, Sheerah was influential in the building of three towns in ancient Israel, in spite of the subservient role of women in that society at that time.

Thanks for reading.

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