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EVIL-MERODACH:

Son of Nebuchadnezzar, and third ruler of the New Babylonian empire; reigned from 561 to 560 B.C. His name in Babylonian is "Amil-Marduk" or "Avel-Marduk"= "man," or "servant, of Marduk." No personal or historical inscriptions of his reign have been discovered, and there are only two sources of information concerning him—the Hebrew Scriptures and Berosus. According to the Bible (Jer. lii. 31; II Kings xxv. 27 et seq.), he released in the year of his accession, the imprisoned king Jehoiachin, invited him to his table, clothed him with royal raiment, and elevated him above all other captive kings that were in Babylon. Tiele, Cheyne, and Hommel are of the opinion that perhaps Neriglissar, Evil-merodach's brother-in-law, who is praised for his benevolence, was instrumental in the freeing of the Judean king. Grätz, on the other hand, conjectures the influence of the Jewish eunuchs (referring to Jer. xxxix. 7 and Daniel).

Berosus, however, says that Evil-merodach ruled "unjustly and lewdly." Possibly his treatment of the exiled king was held by the priestly, or national, party to have been unlawful; or it may be that the memory of some injury rankled in the mind of the priestly writer, or writers, of his history (Winckler, "Gesch. Babyloniens und Assyriens," p. 314). Evilmerodach was unable to counteract the danger arising from Median immigration. The party opposed to him soon succeeded in dethroning him, and he was assassinated by order of Neriglissar, who succeeded him.

Bibliography:
  • Tiele, Babylonisch-Assyrische Gesch. ii. 457;
  • Hommel, Gesch. Babyloniens und Assyriens, p. 772;
  • Murdter-Delitzsch, Gesch. Babyloniens und Assyriens, p. 251;
  • Grätz, Gesch. ii. 5;
  • Rogers, Hist. of Bab. ii. 354, 355.
E. G. H. R. W. R. M. Sc.
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