Daily Archives: July 2, 2012

Mosaic of Samson and the foxes discovered in Galilee synagogue

Excavations at Huqoq in Galilee have uncovered a mosaic floor depicting exploits of Samson. The photo below shows a female face and a partial Hebrew inscription referring to “rewards for those who perform good deeds .” No photo of the Samson portion of the mosaic has been provided.

Huqoq Galilee Synagogue Mosaic showing Samson. Photo by Jim Haberman.

Huquq Synagogue Mosaic with female face and inscription. Photo by Jim Haberman.

At the moment the most best information I have is from the Israel Antiquities Authority. Everything set off below, and the photo above, is from that source.


A monumental synagogue building dating to the Late Roman period (ca. 4th-5th centuries C.E.) has been discovered in archaeological excavations at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.

The excavations are being conducted by Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and David Amit and Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the sponsorship of UNC, Brigham Young University in Utah, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Toronto in Canada. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools are participating in the dig

Huqoq is an ancient Jewish village located approximately two to three miles west of Capernaum and Migdal (Magdala). This second season of excavations has revealed portions of a stunning mosaic floor decorating the interior of the synagogue building. The mosaic, which is made of tiny colored stone cubes of the highest quality, includes a scene depicting Samson placing torches between the tails of foxes (as related in the book of Judges 15). In another part of the mosaic, two human (apparently female) faces flank a circular medallion with a Hebrew inscription that refers to rewards for those who perform good deeds.

“This discovery is significant because only a small number of ancient (Late Roman) synagogue buildings are decorated with mosaics showing biblical scenes, and only two others have scenes with Samson (one is at another site just a couple of miles from Huqoq),” said Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the department of religious studies in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Our mosaics are also important because of their high artistic quality and the tiny size of the mosaic cubes. This, together with the monumental size of the stones used to construct the synagogue’s walls, suggest a high level of prosperity in this village, as the building clearly was very costly.”


The web site of Dr. Magness may be accessed here.

Several centuries before the synagogue at Huqoq was built, Jesus visited synagogues in Galilee.

Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 NET)

HT: Joseph Lauer