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Let us begin with Jehoiakim who was the king of Judah when the conflicts between Judah and Babylon began. At that time Egypt was the dominant force over the Syro-Palestine area; in fact, Pharaoh Necho had placed Jehoiakim on the throne (see 2 Kgs , 2 Chr. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the prophets began to predict captivity and destruction unless the people repented.
601 BC was severe enough that, as stated in the above quotation, it was said to have fulfilled the words of the prophets that Jerusalem would be destroyed.
He then returned to Babylon, taking with him some 3,000 more captives from the upper class, including Ezekiel.
After arriving in Babylon, his advisers convinced him that it was too dangerous to let Jehoiakim's son reign, so he returned to Jerusalem and demanded Jehoiachin's surrender.
601 BC, Nebuchadnezzar fought a great war with Egypt, which he barely won, with both sides suffering heavy casualties.
"the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets." (2 Kings 24:1-2) Thus, while Nebuchadnezzar was personally at war in Egypt, his vassal kingdoms of Syro-Palestine were punishing Jerusalem for Jehoiakim's rebellion.
Jeremiah's life was finally spared, but when Urijah fled to Egypt, Jehoiakim had him brought back and executed (Jer. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Babylon's spreading dominion met Egypt head on at the Battle of Carchemish, an Egyptian stronghold north of Jerusalem in Syria (Jer. There, in May-June of 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar, the crown prince of Babylon, defeated Necho.