Once upon a time in a land far far away, there lived a strong daughter of Israel whose family and kin were oppressed by hard taskmasters, in a land that resembled a fiery furnace. Ruled by proud pharaoh’s whose arrogance and sun – worshipping debaucheries defiled the land and made its people appear all the more evil, this strong, beautiful warrior of Israel saddled up her congregation of camels and men and headed into Canaanite country. Believing by faith that this country would be given to her fathers, as it was promised to Abraham by the mouth of Elohim; she forced back the inhabitants of the land and began to boldly establish a city of Israelite warriors. She looked upon its walls and pastures and called it Beth – Horon. The people who left with her settled and established their village as a safe haven, while she built her own homestead, Uzzen Sheerah amongst her kin. Sheerah and her tribesmen settled, built and established a village which grew into an infamous town, whose heritage was founded and belong to a strong, Israelite woman who dared to go where others feared to tread, in a time where her countrymen lived in fear, bondage and death. Her legacy is often ignored – however it is time that we resurrect her legacy, because it can give us hope.
1 Chronicles 7:20 - 29
The descendants of Ephraim:
Shuthelah, Bered his son,
Tahath his son, Eleadah his son,
Tahath his son, Zabad his son
and Shuthelah his son.
Ezer and Elead were killed by the native-born men of Gath, when they went down to seize their livestock. Their father Ephraim mourned for them many days, and his relatives came to comfort him.
Then he made love to his wife again, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. He named him Beriah, because there had been misfortune in his family. His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.
Rephah was his son, Resheph his son,
Telah his son, Tahan his son,
Ladan his son, Ammihud his son,
Elishama his son, Nun his son
and Joshua his son. (NIV)
within the list of Ephraim’s descendants, is a daughter named Sheerah.
“His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon, as well as Uzzen Sheerah.”
Until now, Sheerah’s story has mostly gone untold but it should not be difficult for scholars of the word to accept that a strong, godly, Israelite woman built a city in perilous times. Not only did she build a city, but it is probable that building a city in the midst of bloodthirsty and godless people like the Hittites and Canaanites could definitely not have been an easy feat indeed!
Tracing the time frame of Sheerah’s life on earth is an equally hard task, as so little is known about her. However, what scholars can gather from her genealogy is that she lived before the exodus and most probably during the time of the Israelite enslavement in Egypt. This is remarkable, as the cities of Lower and Upper Beth Horon were located in the land of Canaan. Sheerah would have had to journey from the land of Egypt where her was father was born and presumably where she was born and journey into Canaan, taking and occupying the territories which would become the famous villages of Lower and upper Beth Horon and Uzzen – Sheerah.
Sheerah was a conqueror and biblical architect who was incredibly courageous, wise and strong, her situation as grand designer and establisher implies that her position was one of leadership and strength, noble characteristics.
Sheerah, whose name means “kinswoman” is a remarkable woman of encouragement to us, we can draw strength in the fact that Sheerah settled, conquered and built villages that became central places of holiness, as Levitical towns; as well as places of epic battles – where the Israelites won every time. She is a matriarch, a heroine of the battle and a kinswoman for all of us, who are grafted in to the faith; as daughters of the Most High. When we are faced with the challenge to reach our calling and fulfill seemingly impossible tasks that we feel called to do, the courage and bold strength of our matriarch Sheerah can help remind us that to follow purpose is not easy but when Yahweh our God is in it, it is always possible!