Women in the Bible : Sheerah
Sheerah was the granddaughter of Ephraim, who was the son of Joseph. We know little about her except she built three towns: “His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah” (1 Chronicles 7:24).
Possibly the reason the Chronicler include this was because it would have been surprising thing for a woman to do. Perhaps it was also included because building programs often indicated God’s blessings. You could only undertake major building programs during times of peace.
Now, no one just builds a town with no planning or preparation and you can’t just build a town anywhere, you need water and, in that day, you needed to be able to defend the area. You need to clear the land, quarry the stone, and transport the stone. You don’t do these things on your own. Presumably Sheerah managed the projects, and gave instructions to the labourers, who were probably men. And although Sheerah is never mentioned again, the towns she built are.
Joshua 10 tells of the time during a battle when God made the sun stand still: “Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way … As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites” (Joshua 10:10-11).
The battle was heading towards Sheerah’s town, Beth Horon, but God protected the town. Two hundred fifty years later in Solomon’s time we read in 2 Chronicles 8:5 that Solomon turned Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon into fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars. The town was built on a firm foundation so Solomon only added the walls and gates. Solomon didn’t have to relay Sheerah’s foundation.
Sheerah’s towns endured through all the Old Testament period and into the time of the Maccabees, more than a thousand years after she built them. And today, more than 3000 years later, the foundations of these two towns still visible.
Sheerah teaches us the value of leaving a good foundation. A legacy of faith that will endure for generations.