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Pharaoh Necho

Pharaoh Necho was the king of Egypt approximately 610-595 BC. He reigned at the same time as King Josiah of Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah) and was involved in the selection of Josiah's successor after Josiah was killed in an unnecessary battle against Egyptian forces. Necho had declared war on Assyria (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), and while Egyptian forces were merely passing through the land of Israel on the way to what is today Iraq, Josiah chose to engage them in battle at Megiddo (also known as Armageddon) where Josiah was mortally wounded.

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.

Pharaoh Necho

Pharaoh 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."

"Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo."

"And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah." (2 Chronicles 35:20-24 KJV)

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."

"Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of The Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon."

"Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead."

"Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord. And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of The Lord, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem." (2 Chronicles 36:1-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is Necho mentioned in the prophecies given to Jeremiah?
Jeremiah 46:1-2


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