Ancient Egyptian history: Necho's first campaign, 609 BCE; Nebuchadrezzar's conquest of Palestine, 605 BCE.
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Necho's first campaign

[Map: Necho's first campaign] An Egyptian attempt to support the Assyrians against Babylon was made in 609 BCE, when Necho set out for Karkamesh. On the way he was attacked by Josiah, king of Judah, at Megiddo in spite of Necho's warning
21   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.
2 Chronicles 35 [1]
29   In his days Pharao-necho king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates; and the king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo when he had seen him.
2 Kings 23 [1]
He continued north into Syria
...Necos engaged battle at Magdolos (Megiddo) with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after this he took Cadytis (Kadesh), which is a great city of Syria.
Herodotus, Histories 2.159 [2]
The reconquest of Haran failed, but the Euphrates became the frontier between Egypt and Babylon for a few years. On his way back Necho consolidated his hold on Syria and the kingdom of Judah where Jehoahaz, a son of Josiah, had been anointed
33   And Pharao-necho put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
34   And Pharao-necho made Eliakim, the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt and died there.
2 Kings 23 [1]
In 605 BCE, Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, defeated the Egyptians at Karkamesh and a second time at Hamath.
2   ...against the army of Pharao-necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
Jeremiah 46 [1]
The year after, he conquered the whole of Judah and reached the Sinai desert.
7   And the king of Egypt came not any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
2 Kings 24 [1]


[1] The bible is somewhat problematical as a historical reference. But unlike the myths of the second millennium bible stories referring to the 7th century are supported by independent evidence.
[2] Herodotus wrote his account a century and a half after the events.

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-“Jehoiakim Slept with his Fathers…” (II Kings 24:6) – Did He? by Oded Lipschits, The Department of Jewish History, Tel-Aviv University

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© January 2001