A War Elephant Found at the Huqoq Synagogue

Elephant in Galilee Synagogue

Image: A war elephant found at the Huqoq Synagogue

Photo Credit: Jim Haberman




In a recent post I mentioned the discovery of a mosaic depicting elephants found in an ancient synagogue in Galilee.

According to an article published in The Times of Israel, the mosaic also has a depiction of Samson carrying the gate of Gaza. The following is an excerpt from the article:

The eastern wall of the synagogue was found the first season; the first section of its mosaic floor was found in the summer of 2012, revealing depictions of Samson setting the Philistine’s fields ablaze with the aid of unfortunate foxes; and in 2013 a panel was revealed showing Samson carrying off the gates of Gaza.

Samson alone would have been a remarkable find; he’s not a popular character in ancient synagogues (only one other example exists, found at Wadi Hamam, five miles south of Huqoq). But that was before Magness’s team found the first bit containing the elephants, and only in summer 2014 did they uncover the full extent of the section’s “really remarkable” decoration, as she put it.

The photo above (photo credit: Jim Haberman) shows a war elephant found at the Huqoq synagogue in Galilee. The article also has a photo of a mosaic showing Samson carrying the gate of Gaza, an event narrated in Judges 16.

You can see the photos by visiting The Times of Israel online.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary



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