2 Kings 23:29 Index
"In his days Pharaoh–nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him."
Research Material

" . . . Pharaoh-nechoh . . . "

  • The well-known Necho II of Egypt's Twenty-sixth Dynasty, who reigned from 610 to 595 B.C. (2BC 980)

" . . . went up . . . "

  • Assyria and Egypt were at this time in alliance against Babylon. Under Nabopolassar (626-505 B.C.), Babylon had taken the place of Assyria as the great military power of the world. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C., and a small remnant of Assyrians now held out several years longer in Haran. They had the assistance of Egypt against the rising power of Babylon, which was swiftly carrying all the world before it. (2BC 980)

" . . . against the king of Assyria . . . "

  • Actually, Necho marched northward to assist the Assyrians against Babylon (2 Chronicles 35:20).
  • Either:
    • (1) the Hebrew word 'al, "against." is to be read 'el, "towards" or "for the sake of," as is frequently done in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or
    • (2) the term "Assyria" is used to designate Babylon as the power now ruling most of the territory formerly belonging to the Assyrian Empire. The classical writers often used Assyria in this sense (Herodotus 1. 178). (2BC 980)

" . . . to the river Euphrates . . . "

  • It was evidently en route to Mesopotamia to help the Assyrians attack Haran that Necho went against Carchemish (2 Chronicles 35:20). This city became an Egyptian stronghold for several years, until Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho there in 605 B.C., as is now known from the Babylonian Chronicle. (2BC 980)

" . . . Josiah went against him . . . "

  • Necho at this time had no quarrel with Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:21), but wished to get to the Euphrates to engage the forces of Babylon. (2BC 980)

" . . . slew him at Megiddo . . . " (2 Kings 23:30;

  • The important fortress in the southern part of the plain of Esdraelon, on the caravan route from Egypt to northern Syria. Josiah presumably took up his position at a point where the road emerges onto the plain, in order to strike as the Egyptians issued from the pass. (2BC 980)
  • Josiah's Mistake
    • Those who will not take God's Word as assurance, need not hope that human wisdom can help them; for human wisdom, aside from God, is like the waves of the sea, driven with the wind, and tossed. The word of Christ is, “He shall guide you into all truth.” Reject not the light given.
    • Read the history of Josiah. He had done a good work. During his reign idolatry was put down, and apparently successfully uprooted. The temple was reopened and the sacrificial offerings re-established. His work was done well. (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:26-33; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24)
    • But at the last he died in battle. Why?—Because he did not heed the warnings given.... (2 Chronicles 34:26-332 Chronicles 35:20-24)
    • Because Josiah died in battle, who will charge God with denying His word that Josiah should go to his grave in peace? The Lord did not give orders for Josiah to make war on the king of Egypt. When the Lord gave the king of Egypt orders that the time had come to serve Him by warfare, and the ambassadors told Josiah not to make war on Necho, no doubt Josiah congratulated himself that no word from the Lord had come directly to him. To turn back with his army would have been humiliating, so he went on. And because of this, he was killed in battle, a battle that he should not have had anything to do with. The man who had been so greatly honored by the Lord, did not honor the word of God. The Lord had spoken in his favor, predicted good things for him; and Josiah became self-confident, and failed to heed the warning. He went against the word of God, choosing to follow his own way, and God could not shield him from the consequences of his act.
    • In this our day men choose to follow their own desires and their own will. (2BC 1039)