Flavius Josephus

The Antiquities of the Jews


Pillars made by the people of Seth
And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day.

Monument of Haran
Now Abram had two brethren, Nahor and Haran: of these Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his daughters; and died among the Chaldeans, in a city of the Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is shown to this day.

Pyramids (see footnote 17)
for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating, upon its running over its own banks: they set them also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them out; and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical arts, and to accustom themselves to hard labor.
(17) Of this building of the pyramids of Egypt by the Israelites, see Perizonius Orig. Aegyptiac, ch. 21. It is not impossible they might build one or more of the small ones; but the larger ones seem much later. Only, if they be all built of stone, this does not so well agree with the Israelites' labors, which are said to have been in brick, and not in stone, as Mr. Sandys observes in his Travels. p.127,128.

THE name of the Hebrews began already to be every where renowned, and rumors about them ran abroad. This made the inhabitants of those countries to be in no small fear. Accordingly they sent ambassadors to one another, and exhorted one another to defend themselves, and to endeavor to destroy these men. Those that induced the rest to do so, were such as inhabited Gobolitis and Petra. They were called Amalekites, and were the most warlike of the nations that lived thereabout; and whose kings exhorted one another, and their neighbors, to go to this war against the Hebrews;

Daniel builds a tower, it's still there in Josephus' day
Now when Daniel was become so illustrious and famous, on account of the opinion men had that he was beloved of God, he built a tower at Ecbatana, in Media: it was a most elegant building, and wonderfully made, and it is still remaining, and preserved to this day; and to such as see it, it appears to have been lately built, and to have been no older than that very day when any one looks upon it, it is so fresh flourishing, and beautiful, and no way grown old in so long time; for buildings suffer the same as men do, they grow old as well as they, and by numbers of years their strength is dissolved, and their beauty withered. Now they bury the kings of Media, of Persia, and Parthia in this tower to this day, and he who was entrusted with the care of it was a Jewish priest; which thing is also observed to this day.

Simon builds a monument at Modin to Jonathan, also builds 7 pyramids
However, Simon sent some to the city Basca to bring away his brother's bones, and buried them in their own city Modin; and all the people made great lamentation over him. Simon also erected a very large monument for his father and his brethren, of white and polished stone, and raised it a great height, and so as to be seen a long way off, and made cloisters about it, and set up pillars, which were of one stone apiece; a work it was wonderful to see. Moreover, he built seven pyramids also for his parents and his brethren, one for each of them, which were made very surprising, both for their largeness and beauty, and which have been preserved to this day; and we know that it was Simon who bestowed so much zeal about the burial of Jonathan, and the building of these monuments for his relations. Now Jonathan died when he had been high priest four years and had been also the governor of his nation. And these were the circumstances that concerned his death.

More on David's sepulcher
But Hyrcanus opened the sepulcher of David, who excelled all other kings in riches, and took out of it three thousand talents. He was also the first of the Jews that, relying on this wealth, maintained foreign troops.

for Malichus's brother had made many places to revolt, and kept garrisons in them, and particularly Masada, the strongest fortress of them all. In the mean time, Herod was recovered of his disease, and came and took from Felix all the places he bad gotten; and, upon certain conditions, dismissed him also.

Herod takes his Mother to Masada
So he was compelled to let that horrid attempt alone, partly out of shame at what they said to him, and partly out of regard to the great number of those that would not permit him to do what he intended. So he encouraged his mother, and took all the care of her the time would allow, and proceeded on the way he proposed to go with the utmost haste, and that was to the fortress of Masada. And as he had many skirmishes with such of the Parthians as attacked him and pursued him, he was conqueror in them all.

Herodís family at Masada
And when he was come to Idumea, at a place called Thressa, his brother Joseph met him, and he then held a council to take advice about all his affairs, and what was fit to be done in his circumstances, since he had a great multitude that followed him, besides his mercenary soldiers, and the place Masada, whither he proposed to fly, was too small to contain so great a multitude; so he sent away the greater part of his company, being above nine thousand, and bid them go, some one way, and some another, and so save themselves in Idumea, and gave them what would buy them provisions in their journey. But he took with him those that were the least encumbered, and were most intimate with him, and came to the fortress, and placed there his wives and his followers, being eight hundred in number, there being in the place a sufficient quantity of corn and water, and other necessaries, and went directly for Petra, in Arabia.

Herod goes into David's tomb
AS for Herod, he had spent vast sums about the cities, both without and within his own kingdom; and as he had before heard that Hyrcanus, who had been king before him, had opened David's sepulcher, and taken out of it three thousand talents of silver, and that there was a much greater number left behind, and indeed enough to suffice all his wants, he had a great while an intention to make the attempt; and at this time he opened that sepulcher by night, and went into it, and endeavored that it should not be at all known in the city, but took only his most faithful friends with him. As for any money, he found none, as Hyrcanus had done, but that furniture of gold, and those precious goods that were laid up there; all which he took away. However, he had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go farther in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; where two of his guards were slain, by a flame that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was. So he was terribly aftrighted, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulcher, and that at great expense also.

But Monobazus sent her bones, as well as those of Izates, his brother, to Jerusalem, and gave order that they should be buried at the pyramids which their mother had erected; they were three in number, and distant no more than three furlongs from the city Jerusalem. But for the actions of Monobazus the king, which he did during the rest of his life. we will relate them hereafter.

Part 2