Josephus Antiquities of the Jews — Book XVI
Containing the Interval of 12 Years.
From the finishing of the Temple by Herod, to the death of Alexander and Aristobulus.
How upon Herod’s going down into David’s sepulchre, the sedition in his family greatly increased.
1. 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 sepulchre, and taken out of it three thousand talents of silver; and that there was a much greater number left behind; and indeed enow to suffice all his wants; he had a great while an intention to make the attempt. And at this time he opened that sepulchre by night, and went into it; and endeavoured 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 affrighted, 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 sepulchre: and that at great expence also. And even Nicolaus his historiographer makes mention of this monument built by Herod: though he does not mention his going down into the sepulchre: as knowing that action to be of ill repute.