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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
JOSIAH SLAIN IN BATTLE AGAINST NECHO KING OF EGYPT (2Chronicles 35:20-27. Comp. 2Kings 23:29-30; 3 Ezra 1:23-30).

(20) After all this.—Comp. the similar, “after these matters, and this faithfulness” (2Chronicles 32:1). The phrase calls attention to the difference between the event and what might naturally have been expected. In spite of Josiah’s fidelity to Jehovah, this was his end.

Necho king of Egypt came up.—Kings, “In his days came up Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt.” So LXX. here. Syriac, “Pharaoh the Lame, king of Egypt.” Pharaoh is simply “the king;” Coptic Pouro, or Perro (pi “the,” ouro or r̄ro, “king”). The Hebrew spelling Pa’rōh appears to be due to an assimilation of the Egyptian word to the Hebrew pĕrā’ôth, “leaders” (Judges 5:1). An inscription of Assurbanipal gives a list of twenty subject kings appointed by Esarhaddon his father to bear rule in Egypt, the first name in the list being that of “Nikû sar ali Mimpi u ali Sâa,” i.e., “Necho, king of the city of Memphis, and the city of Sais.” Assurbanipal twice reinstated this Necho (Necho I., circ. 664 B.C. ) after vanquishing Tirhakah.

The Necho of our text is Necho II., who reigned circ. 610 B.C. (See the Note on 2Kings 23:29.)

Against Charchemish.At Charchemish. Syriac and Arabic, “to assault Mabûg,” i.e., Hierapolis. Necho’s enemy was “the king of Assyria” (2Kings 23:29; so LXX. here), i.e., Esarhaddon II. (Saracus), the last of the rulers of Nineveh; not Nabopalassar, king of Babylon, for the Assyrian empire had not yet fallen before the united assault of the Medes and the Babylonians. Charchemish has been identified with the modern Jirbâs, on the western bank of the middle Euphrates. Its situation, as Schrader observes, suits an intended expedition against Nineveh and Assyria, rather than against Babylon. It was one of the great Hittite capitals, and inscriptions in hieroglyphics, similar to those of Hamath, have recently been disinterred on the site, and brought thence to the British Museum. The name means, “Fortress of Mîsh.” Comp. “Mesha” (Genesis 10:30), the Assyrian Masu, i.e., the part of the Syrian desert which ran along the right bank of the Euphrates. The place was also called Tel-Mîsh, “mound of Mîsh;” Greek, Τελμησσός. (Thenius thinks the phrase, “against Charchemish,” was originally a marginal gloss, noting the place of the final and decisive encounter between Necho and the Babylonians).

Josiah went out against him.—To this statement Kings only adds that Necho “slew him at Me-giddo, when he saw him,” i.e., at the outset of the encounter. The chronicler, therefore, has derived the details of the following verses from another source (2Chronicles 35:21-25).

2 Chronicles 35:20. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple — When he and his people hoped that God was reconciled, and the foundation of a lasting happiness laid, their hopes were quickly blasted. So much are men often mistaken in their judgments about the designs of God’s providence. To fight against Charchemish — Which the Assyrian had lately taken from the king of Egypt, of which he boasts, Isaiah 10:9.

35:20-27 The Scripture does not condemn Josiah's conduct in opposing Pharaoh. Yet Josiah seems to deserve blame for not inquiring of the Lord after he was warned; his death might be a rebuke for his rashness, but it was a judgment on a hypocritical and wicked people. He that lives a life of repentance, faith, and obedience, cannot be affected by the sudden manner in which he is removed. The people lamented him. Many mourn over sufferings, who will not forsake the sins that caused God to send them. Yet this alone can turn away judgments. If we blame Josiah's conduct, we should be watchful, lest we be cut down in a way dishonourable to our profession.After all this - i. e. 13 years after, 608 B.C. See the 2 Kings 23:28-29 notes. 2Ch 35:20-27. His Death.

20. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple—He most probably calculated that the restoration of the divine worship, with the revival of vital religion in the land, would lead, according to God's promise and the uniform experience of the Hebrew people, to a period of settled peace and increased prosperity. His hopes were disappointed. The bright interval of tranquillity that followed his re-establishment of the true religion was brief. But it must be observed that this interruption did not proceed from any unfaithfulness in the divine promise, but from the state into which the kingdom of Judah had brought itself by the national apostasy, which was drawing down upon it the long threatened but long deferred judgments of God.

Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates—Necho, son of Psammetichus, succeeded to the throne of Egypt in the twentieth year of Josiah. He was a bold and enterprising king, who entered with all his heart into the struggle which the two great powers of Egypt and Assyria had long carried on for the political ascendency. Each, jealous of the aggressive movements of its rival, was desirous to maintain Palestine as a frontier barrier. After the overthrow of Israel, the kingdom of Judah became in that respect doubly important. Although the king and people had a strong bias for alliance with Egypt, yet from the time of Manasseh it had become a vassal of Assyria. Josiah, true to his political no less than his religious engagements, thought himself bound to support the interests of his Assyrian liege lord. Hence, when "Necho king of Egypt came up to fight Carchemish, Josiah went out against him." Carchemish, on the eastern side of the Euphrates, was the key of Assyria on the west, and in going thither the king of Egypt would transport his troops by sea along the coast of Palestine, northwards. Josiah, as a faithful vassal, resolved to oppose Necho's march across the northern parts of that country. They met in the "valley of Megiddo," that is, the valley or plain of Esdraelon. The Egyptian king had come either by water or through the plains of Philistia, keeping constantly along the coast, round the northwest corner of Carmel, and so to the great plain of Megiddo. This was not only his direct way to the Euphrates, but the only route fit for his chariots, while thereby also he left Judah and Jerusalem quite to his right. In this valley, however, the Egyptian army had necessarily to strike across the country, and it was on that occasion that Josiah could most conveniently intercept his passage. To avoid the difficulty of passing the river Kishon, Necho kept to the south of it, and must, therefore, have come past Megiddo. Josiah, in following with his chariots and horsemen from Jerusalem, had to march northwards along the highway through Samaria by Kefr-Kud (the ancient Caper-Cotia) to Megiddo [Van De Velde].

When Josiah had prepared the temple; when he and his people hoped that God was reconciled, and the foundation of a solid and lasting happiness was laid, their hopes were quickly blasted. So much are men oft mistaken in their judgments about the designs of God’s counsel and providence.

Charchemish; which the Assyrian had lately taken from the king of Egypt; of which he boasts, Isaiah 10:9.

After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple,.... Purified it, and cleansed it from the filth in it, and from all idolatry, and had repaired it, and put the service of it in good order, and on a good footing, after which great prosperity in church and state might have been expected:

Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates; now called Querquisia, supposed by some to be the same with the Cadytis of Herodotus, which that historian calls a great city of Syria, whither he says Necho went after the battle with the Syrians (x); of which See Gill on Isaiah 10:9 and of this king of Egypt; see Gill on 2 Kings 23:29, Jeremiah 46:2.

and Josiah went out against him; or to meet him, and stop him from going through his land, which lay between Egypt and Syria; Egypt being on the south of Israel, and Euphrates on the north of it, as Jarchi observes.

(x) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 159. & Galei not. in ib.

After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against {k} Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.

(k) Which was a city of the Assyrians and Josiah fearing lest in passing through Judah he would have taken his kingdom, made war against him and did not consult the Lord.

20. Necho] R.V. Neco. This was Neco II. (reigned 611–595 b.c., Maspero, Histoire Ancienne, p. 545, note), who according to Herodotus (II. 159) conquered the “Syrians” (Jews or Assyrians?) at “Magdol” (Megiddo or Magdol near the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile?) and then captured Cadytis (Kadesh on the Orontes or Gaza?), an important city of Syria. The account of Herodotus is obscure, ambiguous and defective, but a comparison of 2 Kings with an inscription of Nabu-na’id king of Babylon (555–538 b.c.) sets Neco’s action in a clearer light. The campaign (which took place about 608 b.c.) was directed “against the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 23:29), i.e. against the last king Sin-šar-iškun (Saracos) who was at war with Nabopolassar (father of Nebuchadnezzar), king of Babylon. Nabopolassar, hard pressed, called in to his help the Umman-manda (Scythians), who destroyed Nineveh circ. 608 b.c.; cp. Messerschmidt, die Inschrift der Stele Nabu-na’id’s (pp. 5–13). Neco advanced to the Euphrates to secure some of the spoils of the Assyrian overthrow, but the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over Neco at Carchemish (circ. 605 b.c.) finally excluded Egypt from any share.

against Carchemish] Cp. Jeremiah 46:2. It was a city situated near the junction of the Habor and Euphrates. In 2 Kin., “against the king of Assyria.”

20–24 (= 1Es 1:25-31; cp. 2 Kings 23:29-30). The Death of Josiah

The account of Josiah’s death is very much fuller in Chron. than in Kings. The features which are peculiar to the Chronicler are, (1) Neco’s message to dissuade Josiah from war, (2) Josiah’s disguising himself and coming to fight in the valley of Megiddo, (3) the wounding of Josiah by archers, (4) the transfer of the wounded king from a war chariot to another chariot. In other words all the details which represent the meeting at Megiddo as a battle are peculiar to Chron.

The account given in Kings is simply:—“King Josiah went to meet him (Necho), and he put him to death at Megiddo when he saw him. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem.” The Hebrew expression for “went to meet” in this passage is the same as in 1 Kings 18:16; 2 Kings 16:10; it does not suggest a hostile meeting, though it can be used in a suitable context to describe one. The phrase “when he saw him” suggests an interview rather than a battle. Thus we have two traditions of Josiah’s death: according to Chron. he was mortally wounded in battle, according to Kings he sought an interview with Neco and was assassinated by him at the town of Megiddo.

Verse 20. - After all this. A period of about thirteen years of happy retrospect is now the portion of the good king. This period brings itself to an unhappy and even fatal termination in the year B.C. 608; when, as it would appear by the result, King Josiah did wrong, and went out of his way, in opposing the march of Pharaoh-Necho (who reigned B.C. 611-595), successor of Psammetichus King of Egypt, against Cyaxares (the monarch who, with Nabo-polassar, had taken Nineveh, B.C. 625) King of Assyria (2 Kings 23:29), or King of Babylon at Circesium on the River Phrat, the head-quarters now of the united Assyrian and Babylonian power. Where the fault or sin of Josiah lay - whether he ran before he was sent, or whether, according to our following two verses, he set out against the Divine word by Necho - is certainly a question left in obscurity. Nothing is said in our history or its parallel to accredit the tale of Necho, or to discredit the heart and motive of Josiah - nothing except what silence and the result seem to say. One other clement of interest and of difficulty may be added to the question; for of the thirteen years' interval, which we have described above as one presumably of happy retrospect in certain aspects for Josiah, we know nothing from Scripture, but have every reason to suppose that during it Josiah and his kingdom had become subject, if only nominally, to Nabopolassar; so that, in offering to resist Necho of Egypt, he was offering to strengthen so far forth the royal line which did dishonour to his own country and his country's God. Upon this supposition, however, we can lay no stress. 2 Chronicles 35:20The end of Josiah's reign; his death in battle against Pharaoh Necho. Cf. 2 Kings 23:25-30. - The catastrophe in which the pious king found his death is in 2 Kings troduced by the remark, that although Josiah returned unto the Lord with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength, and walked altogether according to the law, so that there was no king before him, and none arose after him, who was like him, yet the Lord did not turn away from the fierceness of His great wrath against Judah, and resolved to remove Judah also out of His sight, because of the sins of Manasseh. This didactic connecting of the tragical end of the pious king with the task of his reign, which he followed out so zealously, viz., to lead his people back to the Lord, and so turn away the threatened destruction, is not found in the Chronicle. Here the war with Necho, in which Josiah fell, is introduced by the simple formula: After all this, that Josiah had prepared the house, i.e., had restored and ordered the temple worship, Necho the king of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him. For further information as to Necho and his campaign, see on 2 Kings 23:29.
2 Chronicles 35:20 Interlinear
2 Chronicles 35:20 Parallel Texts

2 Chronicles 35:20 NIV
2 Chronicles 35:20 NLT
2 Chronicles 35:20 ESV
2 Chronicles 35:20 NASB
2 Chronicles 35:20 KJV

2 Chronicles 35:20 Bible Apps
2 Chronicles 35:20 Parallel
2 Chronicles 35:20 Biblia Paralela
2 Chronicles 35:20 Chinese Bible
2 Chronicles 35:20 French Bible
2 Chronicles 35:20 German Bible

Bible Hub

2 Chronicles 35:19
Top of Page
Top of Page