Courtesy Uzi Leibner, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Photo: Gabi Laron

A similar Samson is partially preserved on a mosaic in the synagogue at Wadi Hamam, only 3 miles away from Huqoq. Here, too, the Israelite hero wears a tunic decorated with round orbicula, indicating his status as a warrior, while he smites the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15–17). Rabbinic literature and the writings of the Church Fathers indicate that Samson was a popular figure among both Jews and Christians during Late Antiquity (fourth–sixth centuries).