Beginning Anew with Others

By Claudean Boatman

by Danielle Dolin

The Old Testament book of Nehemiah gives us a look at what happened when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after being exiled in Babylon. An entire people were starting over. Nehemiah, who served as the king’s cupbearer, was granted permission to help his kinsmen rebuild the walls and city. Nehemiah organized families and craftsmen to work on specific sections of the wall.

Nehemiah 3 lists each worker’s group and the section they rebuilt. Man after man is named, until Nehemiah 3:12, “Beside him Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs—he and his daughters.”

 We don’t know names or ages of these daughters, how many there were, orwhat led to them to work. We don’t know if they carried stones, made mortar, or put stones one upon another. What we do knowis their work was significant. Shallum’s daughters were the only women mentioned in a list where mostly leaders were acknowledged—during a time women generally weren’t highly regarded. Their efforts to help rebuild the city wall and protect the people were accepted and noted by generations after.

Challenge: Work so well your contributions are known even when your name is not.

Claudean Boatman enjoys January, not because of a new start but because January is one month closer to flower season! She earned a Master of Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary, Rocky Mountain Campus (Denver area), in 2023.

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