Jodi Magness, a professor of Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her team found a stunning mosaic this summer depicting a group of elephants at the fifth-century synagogue in the Galilee village of Huqoq. The first section of the 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. In 2013 a panel was revealed showing Samson carrying off the gates of Gaza.
Based on the other Mosaics found at the same site, archaeologists postulated it represented the Maccabees facing off against the Seleucid Greeks, the wars commemorated in the Jewish holiday of Hannukah or possibly the panel telling the story of Alexander the Great’s legendary meeting with the Jewish high priest.
In Job 20:14 God calls the elephant “behemoth”. The mosaics appear to be scenes of the history of the area from the book of Judges (Samson) through the time of Alexander the Great.
1 Maccabees 6-7 Eleazar, one of Judah the Maccabee’s brothers sacrifices his own life to stop one of the war elephants of the Greeks. Many of the 5th and 6th century synagogues in the Galilee have post Biblical themes.
Read more about the stunning finds here.