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EVIL-MERODACH (ē'vil-mĕ-rō'dăk). A king of Babylon who reigned two years (561-560 b.c.). His name (Amelu-Marduk is the Babylonian form) means “Man of Marduk.” This is a theophorous name, Marduk being the chief god of Babylon (cf. Ish-Bosheth, Ish-Baal). The son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach was murdered by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar (the Nergal-Sharezer of Jer.39.3), a prince who usurped the throne. References to him as lawless and indecent indicate the probable reasons for the coup that cut short his reign.

Evil-Merodach released Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from his thirty-seven-year Babylonian imprisonment and gave him a position of prominence among the captive kings and a daily allowance of food for the rest of his life (2Kgs.25.27-2Kgs.25.30; Jer.52.31-Jer.52.34); but he was not permitted to return home to Judah. Cuneiform tablets recovered from Babylon and assigned a date in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, refer to provisions supplied to Jehoiachin and other royal prisoners. The latest of these tablets is at least eight years earlier than the date of Jehoiachin’s release referred to in Scripture. Evil-Merodach may have increased the king’s allowance from the small amount mentioned in these tablets.——JBG

EVIL-MERODACH ē vəl mĕr’ ə dăk (אֱוִ֣יל מְרֹדַכְ; Akkad. Amēl-Marduk [originally Awīl-Marduk], man [or servant] of [the god] Marduk; LXX Εὐειαλμαρωδέκ). Son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar (or Nebuchadrezzar) II, as king of the Neo-Babylonian empire c. 562-560 b.c.

According to 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34, in the first year of his reign he released Jehoiachin, former king of Judah, from prison, even honoring him above all the other vassal kings in Babylon. It is noteworthy that administrative documents found at Babylon and containing lists of ration issues (oil), refer to a Yakukinu of Yakudu (Jehoiachin of Judah); for the text, cf. ANET (1955), p. 308. According to Berossus and the canon of Ptolemy, Evil-Merodach was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Nerglissar (prob. the Nergalsharezer who appears as a Babylonian officer, Jer 39:3, 13), who then took the throne.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

e-vil-me-ro’-dak; -mer’-o-dak ’ewil merodhakh; Septuagint Eueialmarodek; so B in K, but B in Jeremiah, and A and Q in both places much corrupted:

The name of the son and immediate successor of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The Babylonian form of the name is Amelu- Marduk, that is, "man of Marduk." About 30 contract tablets dated in this reign have been found. They show that Evil-merodach reigned for two years and about five months. He is said by Berosus to have conducted his government in an illegal and improper manner, and to have been slain by his sister’s brother, Nergalshar-ucur, who then reigned in his stead. Evil- merodach is said in 2Ki 25:27-30 and in the parallel passage in Jer 52:31-34 to have taken Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from his prison in Babylon, where he seems to have been confined for 37 years, to have clothed him with new garments, to have given him a seat above all the other kings, and to have allowed him to eat at the king’s table all the days of his life. It is an undesigned coincidence, that may be worthy of mention, that the first dated tablet from this reign was written on the 26th of Elul, and Jer 52:31 says that Jehoiachin was freed from prison on the 25th of the same month.

R. Dick Wilson