After spending a semester studying Psalms in a local women’s Bible study, I thought I would delve more into the time period during which nearly all of the psalms were written. The time of Israel as a kingdom under David and his successors. So, I started reading 1 Chronicles. Seeing that the first nine chapters were mostly names—genealogies of all the tribal families and especially of David’s family, I decided I would mark every woman mentioned and any significant details about them. You know what I found out? There are 53 women listed by name as distinctive mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. Now, in an agrarian society, and in genealogies spreading through several hundred years, to be mentioned specifically in the historical record meant you were someone or did something that was memorable. How many of us will be memorable after 4oo years?
One woman in particular named Sheerah has quite a tribute written about her. Her ancestor was Ephraim, Joseph’s son. “His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.” She built three towns, one of whom is named for her?! That just leaped off the page at me. How come I have never heard about Sheerah before?
The two Beth-horons (Joshua 10:10) were apparently Canaanite towns that the Israelites captured and destroyed in the conquest (Joshua 16:3 Joshua 16:5). “Built” may mean rebuilt, or restored, or fortified (Joshua 6:26; Psalms 102:16; 2 Chronicles 11:6). Two of the three cities, Lower Beth-Horon and Upper Beth-Horon were on a hillside, one high above the other. Somehow she is credited with rebuilding these towns on the edge of Ephraim’s allotted territory in Israel after it was conquered. Perhaps she received the land as an inheritance (like Caleb’s daughter Acsah did) and enlarged it for family reasons. Or, was it her descendants who rebuilt them? For some reason, Sheerah got the credit. The Holy Spirit made sure her name was in there. That made me smile.
Here’s what “Matthew Poole’s English Annotations of the Bible” said,
Who built Beth-horon, i.e. rebuilt or repaired, which possibly she did in Joshua’s time. And this work may be ascribed to her, because these works were done either by her design or contrivance, or by her instigation and influence upon her husband and brethren who did it.
Her design or contrivance. Or, her instigation and influence on others who did the building. Either way, Sheerah made an impact on her time and her community that was remembered hundreds of years later. All of us can do that in some small way. Whether by work we do or by influence that we have.
Looking forward to more discoveries in 1 Chronicles. Stay tuned…
Author: Melanie Newton
Melanie Newton helps women learn how to study the Bible for themselves through her Joyful Walk Bible Studies. She also teaches online courses for anyone to grow their Bible-teaching skills to help others—all with the goal of getting to know Jesus more along the way. She has lots of resources available on her website melanienewton.com for you to use in your life and ministry. Melanie believes that it’s always the right time for a Dr. Pepper, that her family is the greatest, and being outside for even a few minutes is a daily necessity. Woohoo!