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King Necho II of Egypt

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by Midas, May 22, 2018.

  1. Midas

    Midas Newbie

    In 2Ch 35:20-22, an Egyptian King commonly thought to be King Necho II shows up with an army at Israel’s front door and tells King Josiah (one of the good Judea kings) to move aside because he was on a mission from God to conquer another king, and needed to pass through in a hurry. King Josiah quite realistically rolls his eyes at this and is promptly killed in the ensuing battle. Verse 22 appears to make it clear that Necho II’s words were indeed from God.

    What on Earth is going on here? Josiah is the King that tore down all of the impermissible alters, destroyed the pagan idols, teaches and enforces the laws of Moses, reconstituted temple worship, and reconstituted the Passover with one of the largest celebrations on record. God was so pleased he promised Josiah that he would forestall the kingdom’s destruction during Josiah’s lifetime. Josiah was a good king seemingly liked by God.

    King Necho II was basically Napoleon circa 800 b.c. To my knowledge he was a pagan Egyptian king (his regnal name having something to do with Ra), on a campaign to conquer the east and drive out the neo-Babylonians.

    How does a pagan king get word from “the Lord”, that he ought to embark on military campaign and will succeed? Why wasn’t Josiah informed by his own prophets and priests? What is going on here?
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  2. Kevin Snow

    Kevin Snow Well-Known Member

    United States
    An excellent question. Consider:

    Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whose right hand I have grasped,
    to subdue nations before him
    and to loose the belts of kings,
    to open doors before him
    that gates may not be closed:
    “I will go before you
    and level the exalted places,
    I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron

    For the sake of my servant Jacob,
    and Israel my chosen,
    I call you by your name,
    I name you, though you do not know me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God;
    I equip you, though you do not know me,
    that people may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is none besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.

    ~Isaiah 45:1-2 and 4-6

    God calls the name of a pagan king and declares before his birth how he will use him to set Israel free from captivity. Next, consider this:

    Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? ~Ezekiel 38:17

    God is in control of the whole earth. He is over all the earth and nothing can turn back his hand. So when we see Neco king of Egypt passing by the land of Judah for a mission from God, it is not surprising.

    But what we can learn from this, is that God is the one who matters in the moment. I use this example to show that while a pastor may be in the position of authority to teach God's word it doesn't mean he is the authority. That if anyone who is given a word of God in that moment is the one who is in the position of authority. Everyone can't get comfortable with the way things are and become conceited, thinking that because you are in such a position that it means no one can come and tell you where you are wrong.

    We all must put God first and God will reveal whether we are doing that in truth. Even if pagans should come with a word from the Lord, would you recognize it? For God can use anyone for his service at any time. He is God. But this is the very thing which Jesus says of Jerusalem:

    Look, your house is left to you desolate. And I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.' ~Luke 13:35

    This very principle is the test to see whether Jerusalem is ready for the return of its King. It is whether they recognize the truth in the moment, that he who comes bearing the message of God will be recognized as such. And this was the problem with the pharisees during his day, they could not tell whether John's baptism had come from man or from God.
  3. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

    United States
    I assume by "rolls his eyes at this" you mean, "shows up to fight in battle." Josiah seems to, correctly, surmise that Necho's plans probably weren't so innocent as just passing through as seems evident when Necho replaced Josiah's son on the throne with Jehoiakim.

    Nor was Josiah so innocent either. Josiah was siding with the Babylonians over and against Necho and his alliance with Assyria.

    I think we're seeing Judah being torn between rival superpowers of the day. It's Egypt and Assyria on one hand vs. Babylon and the Medes on the other, and Judah happens to hold territory right in the middle. Josiah, like Hezekiah and Ahaz (to some extent at the encouragement of Isaiah) before him, resisted Assyria and Egypt. By doing so though, he was helping the Babylonians.

    Then again, Josiah sided with the Babylonians, which is why Necho removed/replaced Josiah's son. I would venture a guess that many in Israel would have disagreed with Josiah's decision to confront Necho as it put Judah in an unfortunate alliance with Babylon, not to mention that I can't imagine Josiah's army would have been a match for Necho in terms of numbers and capability. I'm not sure the prophets would have spoken highly of Josiah's move either given that they don't seem to have high opinions of Babylon.

    And just because Josiah did some good things doesn't mean he can't therefore make bad decisions.
  4. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

    United States
    The land of contention is Charchemish which was not an Israelite state. God commands Necho to take it, and despite Nechos warning not to contend with God Josiah did so anyway, via a scheme, for reasons not declared in the text. He disobeyed God and set himself against Him, he might not of even consulted his prophets.

    Balaam received prophecies from God. It really shouldn't be surprising to see non Israelites who have apprehended the supreme God. They don't know him by name, but God knows them by name and confirms their righteousness like the Ugaritic "Danel" of Ezekiel 14.
  5. icxn

    icxn Bραδύγλωσσος αἰπόλος μαθητεύων κνίζειν συκάμινα

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Without denying the historical truth of this story, the tropological (or moral) interpretation of this passage explains why God send the Egyptians to war against the Assyrians (LXX).

    Egypt here stands for the body. In tropological interpretations when Egypt is fighting the Israelites it is understood as the will of the flesh waging war against the spirit. Captivity to Egypt represents a life dominated by bodily passions: gluttony, drunkenness and the like. In this case the body (Egypt) is not fighting the spirit (Israel), but marches against the Assyrians under the instruction of the Lord. The Assyrians are a symbol of pride and conceit. It is evident from the thorn in the flesh given to St. Paul, that nobody is immune to the passion of pride no matter how much grace he has received from the Lord. In fact, the opposite is true; the greater the spiritual progress we make the fiercer the war with this passion becomes. So divine providence sends a bodily affliction to humble us or to follow the story line, to fight the Assyrians. This is further supported by the name of the King leading the Egyptians; Necho when translated means lame. If we fail to accept the bodily affliction send to us by God with humility, but fight it with impatience or perhaps even blaming God for it, then just like Josiah, we are wounded and lose the grace given to us for the practice of the commandments. This is the primary chariot that Josiah was removed from and placed on another (LXX has secondary). The secondary chariot is the grace given to us for repentance.
  6. Erik Nelson

    Erik Nelson Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    The brief book Captivating History: Babylon seems to answer this question

    In 609 BC, Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt was on his way, with numerous Greek mercenaries, to aid the surviving elements of the Assyrian army against the (neo-)Babylonians, at the Battle of Megiddo, near Carchemish.

    The Assyrians were led by their last general-become-king who, having refused to surrender, had fought his way out of Nineveh, when it had been sacked in 613 BC by the (neo-)Babylonian and their Persian, Parthian & Median allies (from Iran) and Scythians & Cimmerians (from Turkey).

    The Assyrians regrouped (from Harran) & were assisted by their Egyptian vassals, under Necho.

    So, evidently, king Josiah was fighting against the Assyrian alliance, (as if) for the (neo-)Babylonian alliance. Josiah was fighting on the same side as the Babylonians and "great grandfather of Cyrus the Great", as advised by the Prophet Jeremiah.

    However, the Assyrian-Egyptian forces prevailed, and on his return through the region, Necho II deposed Josiah's son and successor Jehoahaz.