1 Chronicles 7 lists some of the descendants of six of the tribes of Israel during the reign of King David. Most of the descendants who are mentioned by name are sons. There is one man named Zelophehad who only had daughters, but their names are not given. Another man, Beriah, had a daughter named Sherah (also spelled Sheerah), who built three cities. Verse 24 says:
His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.
As we found out in a previous Women of the Word post regarding Shallum’s daughters, women in Biblical times worked. Sheerah was no different. She worked so hard that she built not one, not two – but three cities, of which the latter bore her name.
1. Sheerah was a city architect and designer. According to Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, the word “built” in this passage may mean that Sheerah rebuilt, or restored, or fortified the three cities. Whatever the case, it was no easy task. She had to determine how she wanted the cities to look, what tools and equipment would be needed to build the cities, how many people needed to be hired to do the work, how she would pay them, how she would get people to live in the cities and maintain them, etc. It is unlikely that Sheerah actually did the work of building the cities, but the cities are attributed to her because they were built or rebuilt by her design, ingenuity, and determination.
There are numerous women architects today (check here and here and here). Although their work is still often overlooked, Sheerah was an early trailblazer whose work back then helped pave the way for today’s women architects and city designers to do what they do.
And Sheerah shows us all that no career path is off-limits to us. Whether architecture or art or accounting, if we set our minds to do something, we can do it. Sheerah lived in a male-dominated society, but she still found a way to make her mark and let the world know that she was here.