Necho II (pharaoh of Egypt from 610 BCE–595 BCE) was contemporaneous with Judean King Josiah. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (II, 158, 159; IV, 42), Nechos (Necho) was the son of Psammetichus (Psammetichos, Psamtik I) and succeeded his father as ruler of Egypt. Although beginning construction work on a canal linking the Nile with the Red Sea, he did not complete this project. However, he did send a Phoenician fleet on a voyage around Africa. This journey was successfully completed in three years.
Toward the close of Josiah’s 31-year reign (659 BCE-629 BCE), Pharaoh Necho was on his way to help the Assyrians at the river Euphrates. At that time Josiah disregarded “the words of Necho from the mouth of God” and was mortally wounded while attempting to turn the Egyptian forces back at Megiddo. About three months later, Pharaoh Necho took Jehoahaz, Josiah’s successor to the throne, captive and made 25-year-old Eliakim his vassal, changing the new ruler’s name to Jehoiakim. Necho also imposed a heavy fine on the kingdom of Judah (2Ch 35:20–36:4; 2Ki 23:29-35). At Carchemish, between three and four years later (625 BCE), Necho’s forces suffered defeat at the hands of the Babylonians under the command of Nebuchadnezzar II (Jer 46:2).