Huqoq Mosaic Depicts Israelite Spies from Numbers 13

Biblical Archaeology Society | 7/12/2018 | Staff
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The 2018 season of excavation at a Late Roman synagogue at Huqoq revealed more fascinating mosaics, including this one referencing Numbers 13:23: two Israelite spies sent by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. Photo: Jim Haberman.

Season after season, excavations at the fifth-century C.E. synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Lower Eastern Galilee have revealed stunning mosaics portraying Biblical scenes and life in the ancient world, including what may be a depiction of Alexander the Great meeting the Jewish high priest.

Summer - Team - Mosaics - Aisle - Late

This summer, the archaeological team uncovered yet more fascinating mosaics. In the northern aisle of the Late Roman synagogue, the team revealed a mosaic panel portraying a Biblical scene from Numbers 13:23: two men—whom Moses had sent to spy out the land of Canaan—carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. A Hebrew inscription on the panel reads: “a pole between two.” A second panel exposed by the excavators depicts a young person leading an animal with a rope and features the inscription “a small child shall lead them”—alluding to Isaiah 11:6. At the north end of the synagogue’s east aisle, the archaeologists discovered a portion of a Hebrew inscription with the phrase “Amen selah,” or “Amen forever.”

“The mosaics decorating the floor of the Huqoq synagogue revolutionize our understanding of Judaism in this period,” said dig director Jodi Magness in a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill press release. “Ancient Jewish art is often thought to be aniconic, or lacking images. But these mosaics, colorful and filled with figured scenes, attest to a rich visual culture as well as to the dynamism and diversity of Judaism in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.”

Magness - UNC-Chapel - Hill - Assistance - Shua

Led by Magness of UNC-Chapel Hill with assistance by Shua Kisilevitz...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Biblical Archaeology Society
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