The "elephant mosaic" panel from the huqoq synagogue: Ehud ben gera in jewish-galilean traditions

Avraham Yoskovich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The so-called Elephant Mosaic panel from the Huqoq synagogue floor has sparked intense scholarly debate regarding its interpretation. This article proposes a biblical episode as its topic: The killing of the Moabite king Eglon by Ehud ben Gera (Judges 3). Reading the panels as a unified composition, the biblical-midrashic interpretation offered here combines biblical elements with their rabbinic interpretations. The importance of the latter inheres in their reflection of the Galilean milieu contemporary with the Huqoq community. The suggested interpretation also shares common motifs with another source, Megillat Antiochus, thus raising the question of whether, as interpreted here, the Byzantine artistic elements shed light on how the Huqoq community portrayed biblical themes and transmitted later traditions, especially those connected to divine deliverance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-278
Number of pages22
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Byzantine jewish art
  • Elephant mosaic
  • Galilean jewish communities
  • Late antique synagogues
  • Megillat antiochus
  • Pictorial and written traditions
  • Rabbinic sages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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