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by Wayne Blank
Necho then continued his advance eastward until he encountered and defeated the Assyrian army, thereby making Necho the ruler of a swath of territory from Egypt to northern Iraq. Necho's time was one of transition however, the Assyrian empire, that had defeated and taken into exile the northern kingdom of Israel during the previous century (see The Galilee Captivity) was then declining anyway, while the Babylonian empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), centered in what is today central and southern Iraq was on the rise. Necho was defeated by the Chaldeans (see Chaldea) under the command of Nebuchadnezzar, thereby making Nebuchadnezzar the ruler from the Tigris and Euphrates (see Mesopotamia) to the northern Nile River.
It wasn't a war with Judah that Necho was seeking (at least immediately, hence his statement "I come not against thee this day"). King Josiah of Judah however refused the Egyptian forces passage through Israel on their way from Egypt to Assyria (northern Iraq). A fatal error for Josiah, since it was God's will that Egypt go to war against Assyria:
"After all this, when Josiah had prepared the Temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not."
After the death of Josiah, Necho was involved in the politics of Judah, before Necho himself was defeated by the Babylonians who installed their own "puppet" king of Judah, Zedekiah:
"Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt."
Fact Finder: Is Necho mentioned in the prophecies given to Jeremiah?