Necho II was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (610 - 595 BC), the son and successor of Psammetichus. He was the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. He proclaimed war against the king of Assyria, and led forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was met by the king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a passage through his territory. Here a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was slain (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have brought his army by sea to some port to the north of Dor (compare Joshua 11:2; 12:23), a Phoenician town at no great distance from Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish, where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus all the Syrian provinces, including Palestine, came under his dominion.
On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his father Josiah, and appointed as king Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son, whose name he changed to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz he carried down into Egypt, where he died (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chr. 36:1-4). Four years after this conquest Necho again marched to the Euphrates; but here he was met and his army routed by the Chaldeans (606 BC) under Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took from them all the territory they had conquered, from the Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" (Jeremiah 46:2; 2 Kings 24:7, 8). Soon after this victory Necho died, and was succeeded by his son, Psammetichus II.
The above uses text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897. This article is written from a nineteenth century Christian viewpoint, and may not reflect modern opinions or recent discoveries in Biblical scholarship. Please help the Wikipedia by bringing this article up to date.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the mouth of the Nile. Many current historians tend to believe Herodotus on this point, mostly because he stated with disbelief that the Phoenicians had the sun on their right hand all the time - in Herodotus's time it was not known that Africa extended south beyond the equator.