It’s just one line from a single verse in the third chapter of Nehemiah, but it fascinates me:
Shallum, son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters (Nehemiah 3:12).
Shallum, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, rebuilt a section of the wall with the help of his daughters. His daughters. Really?
To understand the role of Shallum’s daughters in rebuilding the wall, we first have to understand why the wall was torn down. The Babylonians invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem in 587/586 B.C. The Jews were carried into exile. Seventy years later, the exile ended when King Cyrus began to allow the Jews to return home. But while the returning exiles began to rebuild the temple and restore their homes, the city’s broken wall left Jerusalem vulnerable and undefended. God eventually made a way for Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall with the king’s full permission and support. Upon arrival, Nehemiah quickly got to work surveying the damage, rallying the people, and organizing the work. Nehemiah 3 lists the names of all those who rebuilt a section of the wall, and right there in the middle of his list Nehemiah included Shallum and his daughters.