Did God really tell Pharoah Necho to conquer Assyria?

Necho tells Josiah that he was commanded to fight Assyria. Was he:

2 Chronicles (Divrei Hayamim II) 35:20-22

After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo.

  • 1
    Can you please bring sources? Nov 29, 2013 at 18:51
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin It's just pesukim
    – Double AA
    Nov 30, 2013 at 23:35
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    Just a comment: I believe I read that from a historical perspective Necho's intent was actually to aid Assyria
    – Baby Seal
    Apr 25, 2017 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


According to Taanit 22b, Necho is talking about his idols (specifically "Avoda Zara").

Source (pdf, need to scroll down to 22b)

Edit: Alternate source, Aramaic (no scrolling necessary).

But he sent ambassadors to him, saying : What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: and God hath given command to speed me; forbear thee from meddling1 with God, who is with me, that He destroyeth thee not. What is meant by ‘God who is with me’? — Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Idols. Josiah said [to himself], Since he [Pharaoh-Necho] puts his trust in his idols I will prevail over him.

  • What you quoted says that Josiah though Necho was speaking about his idols. It doesn't speak about whether Necho was talking about his idols. Aug 25, 2014 at 20:53
  • Actually, I believe it explicitly does say that Necho was talking about his idols. I boldfaced that part in my answer. The "Josiah interpretation" only comes after.
    – Nic
    Aug 26, 2014 at 2:11
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    Also see the Malbim who says that he was talking about his idols. Oct 26, 2014 at 15:25

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