Necho II (also known as Nekau II) was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt
(610 - 595 BC), and the son of Psammetichus I. He played a significant role
in the histories of the Assyrian Empire, Babylonia and the Kingdom of Judah.
In the spring of 609 BC, Necho personally led a sizable force to help the Assyrians.
Josiah of Judah sided with the Babylonians and attempted to block his advance
at Megiddo, where a fierce battle was
fought and Josiah was killed (2 Kings 23:29, 2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Necho continued
forward, joined forces with Ashur-uballit and together they crossed the Euphrates
and laid siege to Harran. Although Necho became the first pharaoh to cross the
Euphrates since Thutmose III, he failed to capture Harran, and retreated back
to northern Syria. At this point Ashur-uballit vanishes from history, and the
Assyrian Empire collapsed.
Bull and Mokattam Hills
Necho also undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. His
son and successor Psammetichus II afterwards removed Necho's name from almost
all of them for unknown reasons.
Necho is known to have been responsible for monuments honoring the Apris Bull
in Memphis. Inscriptional evidence of the king has also been found in the quarries
of the Mokattam Hills.
Historian Herodotus Names Necho
"The son of Psammetichos was Necos, and he became King of Egypt" -
Herodotus Histories Book II
2 Chronicles 35:20 After
all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king
of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish
by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
2 Chronicles 35:22 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
2 Chronicles 36:4 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