Unprecedented depictions of the biblical Jonah and the whale have been found at a fifth-century Roman synagogue in Israel’s lower Galilee. In the recently discovered mosaic, Jonah’s legs are shown dangling from the mouth of a large fish, which is being swallowed by a larger fish, which is being consumed by a third, even larger fish.
According to the team of specialists and students led by University of North Carolina, this is the first known depiction of the story of Jonah in an ancient synagogue in Israel.
This is the team’s seventh season at the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq. Beginning in 2012, a series of other prominent biblical scenes, including Noah’s ark and the splitting of the Red Sea, in which Pharaoh’s soldiers are swallowed by large fish similar to the fish swallowing Jonah in the mosaic uncovered this summer, were previously found at the archaeological dig.
In addition to the Roman synagogue, the site also houses remains of what is possibly a Medieval synagogue as well.