Necho II was a pharaoh of the 26th dynasty of Egypt, and he was used by God to play a crucial role in the crossroads of three kingdoms from the Middle East and Mesopotamian regions. The kingdoms of Assyria, Babylon, and Judah, were all influenced by the decisions of Neco II. He appears on the Old Testament Timeline during the sixth century BC
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Necho II name is described as meaning “carrying out the wishes of the heart” or “carrying out the heart”. He was the son of Psammetichus I. He became Pharaoh by marrying Psammetichus I daughter Mehtenweskhet. Though King Necho II spent most of his reign fighting battles he had tried to establish some civil building projects, and he tried to form an Egyptian navy to control the waterways that situated around the Delta area. He also tried to create a canal that extended from the Nile to the Red Sea. His efforts would later be used to lay the groundwork for the Suez Canal which would be built thousands of years later. He was also the father of Psamtik III, who would later become a next Pharaoh caught up in the never-ending Middle Eastern and Mesopotamian crises.
Around 610 B.C., the Assyrians were the most powerful empire in the Middle Eastern and Mesopotamian region. They had power over many of the kingdoms, tribes and cultures that resided in these two areas, and they used their power to collect tribute and slaves from various regions. The kingdom of Babylon was one group of people who were defeated by the Assyrians. They no longer wanted to be ruled by the Assyrians. They rebelled and were a led by a Babylonian general named Nebopolasser against Assyria. With the help of the Medes and the Scythians they were able to overthrow the chief Assyrian city of Nineveh.
The Assyrians were being defeated, and they were not going to hold out without some assistance from the Egyptians. Neco II decided to help the Assyrians, and they marched their armies toward the second Assyrian capital named Harran. While Neco II was crossing the desert near Judah to assist the Assyrians he was intercepted by King Josiah. Pharaoh Neco II told Josiah not to interfere with his plans to help Assyria, but Josiah didn’t listen and ended up losing his life. Judah had to pay tribute to Egypt after this event had occurred.
King Neco II then took his forces on to Assyria to help Asshur-Ubalitt II to hold the city, but it wasn’t any use. Harran had fallen, and Neco II had to flee and later regrouped to fight at Carchemish. The Egyptians would later meet Nebopolasser’s armies at the battle of Carchemish in which Nabopolasser’s forces would soundly defeat the Egyptians. The Egyptians had to leave the area and return home. On his way back to Egypt, Neco II dethroned a Judean king named Jehoiachin and forced him to become a prisoner back in Egypt. He then placed his brother Eliakim on the throne.
A few years had passed since these incidents, and when Neco II returned home, he realized that the Babylonians were right at his borders. King Nebopolasser of Babylon sent his son Nebuchadnezzar to lay siege to Egypt. Pharaoh Neco II could barely hold out against the Babylonians, and they were ultimately forced to pay Babylon tribute. King Neco II tried to find allies who would help him against Babylon, but he wasn’t able to find any. He died in 595 B.C.
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