5.93 2 Kings -- Defeat of Judah
Josiah was killed in the midst of the conflict of empires. When the Egyptian Pharaoh marched north to assist the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal against the Babylonians, Josiah withstood him at Megiddo (609 BC). This site has significance in the events of the end-times (Rev 16:16). Josiah was killed in this battle, and his death effectively ended the autonomy of Judah. A younger son of Josiah, Jehoahaz, was made king, but ruled only three months before Pharaoh Neco deposed him and carried him captive to Egypt. Neco installed the older son of Josiah, Eliakim, as king, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Judah was now a puppet state of Egypt. Jehoiakim was an evil king, who opposed the word of the prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed the downfall of Judah.
But it was Babylon, not Egypt, that delivered the final blow to the independent kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar defeated Neco at Carchemish, which was located on the Euphrates River in what is now SE Turkey. This meant that the Egyptian-dominated lands of the Middle East became part of Babylon's sphere of influence. Jehoiakim paid tribute to Nebuchadnezzar for three years. But then, probably hoping that Egypt would come to his assistance, he rebelled.
The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets (2 Kings 24:2).
The next king of Judah was Jehoiachin, who ruled for only three months, during which time Jerusalem was under siege by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:10-11). When the city was conquered, the temple treasures were removed (such as remained after all the other attackers had gone through them), the king and his family were deported, and the skilled craftsmen and soldiers were exiled as well (2 Kings 24:13-16). This first deportation occurred in 597 BC.
Only the poorest people of the land were left (2 Kings 24:14).