A 1,500-Year-Old Mosaic in Canaan Shows Biblical “Spies”

The mosaic is an ancient depiction of Moses.

Archaeologists have been excavating the site Huqoq in Israel since 2012. (Wikipedia)

Since 2012, archaeologists have been excavating the elaborate mosaic floor of a 1,500-year-old synagogue in Israel’s Lower Galilee region. They have found scenes such as Noah’s ark and the splitting of the Red Sea. Their most recent discovery? Moses’ spies. The recently discovered mosaic scene shows two men carrying a pole laden with grapes. According to National Geographic, the inscription in Hebrew above the men reads “a pole between two,” which is a reference to the biblical passage Numbers 12:23. In the Book of Numbers, Moses sends scouts to Canaan and the Exodus from Egypt. The spies return with stories of an abundant land of milk and honey, and “bunches of grapes so large they required two men to carry.” However, most of the scouts didn’t think they could conquer Canaan, so instead, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

The find contradicts the idea that Jewish settlements in Galilee suffered when the influence of Christianity grew in their region. The artwork is of exceptional quality and highlights a visual culture during a time when Jewish art is believed to have shunned images, writes Nat Geo. 

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