Protecting the entry from the coastal plain into what could be considered the most important valley of Israel called HaEmeq; “the valley” or the valley of Jezreel, stands Megiddo. This was a natural choke point on the via maris that extended through the valley on its way to Damascus and beyond. This town then was always considered a strong strategic passage, and numerous attempts for fortification of the site were constructed. Across the floor of this valley marched numerous bodies of troops, including the troops of the combined Midianite hordes facing Gideon, and the rout of the forces of Sisera would get bogged down in the waters arising from around Megiddo.
[From Megiddo looking towards Acco, and the western end of the Jezreel] Megiddo, “the place of crowns” or modern el-Lejjun is around 12km from Carmel and around 20km from Nazareth. One of the Canaanite kings was here Josh 12:21. Solomon fortified Megiddo as an administrative centre for one of his divisions of the land. Ahab enlarged the considerable fortifications here with a water conduit. Much later it was at Megiddo that Pharaoh Necho on his way to encounter the Babylonians at Haran and Carchemish was blocked by king Josiah here. 2 Chron 35:20-27; 2 Kings 23:29.
Egypt looms large in the record of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel: Seven segments of judgment are given against the Egyptians in Ezekiel 29:1-32:21. Of all the nations listed by Jeremiah, Egypt is mentioned first in Jer 25:20. and again listed first in the nations (Jer 46-51) to which God would bring “evil on all flesh” Jer 45:5. Israel had broken covenant with God, and sought covenant strength with Egypt. But both Egypt’s and Israel’s fortunes were on the brink of significant change.
When Assur-Ubalit moved his capital from Nineveh to Korsabad, the Egyptians supplied mercenary troops for his security. They held the city for two years before falling to the rising force of Babylon. To bring adequate support Pharaoh Necho marched troops from Egypt through Israel 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chron 35:20 and joined the company of Assur-Ubalit to cross the Euphrates to engage the Babylonians at Haran, but failed to take the city. [Note the RSV of 2 Kings 24 should read went up to, not against in AV] The Euphrates became the new border under Nebopolasser until the following battle at Carchemish and rout to Hamath which turned the tide for Egyptian fortunes.
But Josiah had wanted to prevent the support of the Assyrians. It appears that he saw the rising Assyrian force as the destroyer of his people, and wanted time for the reform of a spiritual remnant within the nation. The remarkable issue is that Pharaoh Necho is described as being a prophet: “the mouth of Elohim” 2Chron 35:22 having said that God had commanded him to make haste, and that his war was not with the nation of Judah 2Chron 35;21!
A further battle happened here where General Allenby engaged with the Turks. His surprise engagement with troops being moved through wadi el Iraq led to the rout of the Turks in Northern Israel.