Amel-Marduk (d. 560 BC), called Evil-merodach in the Hebrew Bible, was the son and successor of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon. He reigned only two years (562 - 560 BC). According to the Biblical Book of Kings, he pardoned and released Jehoiachin, king of Judah, who had been a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. ( ) Allegedly because Amel-Marduk tried to modify his father's policies, he was murdered by Nergal-sharezer (Neriglissar), his brother-in-law, who succeeded him.
His name, along with the length of his reign, are recorded in the 'Uruk King List' and the Canon of Ptolemy, however no surviving cuneiform document records anything concerning his life or deeds. Berossus writes that he was murdered in a plot orchestrated by Nergal-sharezer, his successor and brother-in-law. Berossus also notes that "he governed public affairs after an illegal and impure manner", possibly an allusion to actions that infuriated the priestly class, including reforms made to the policies of Nebuchadrezzar.
One such reform is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, where Evil-Merodach (Heb.: אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ, ˒ĕwı̂l merōdak) is remembered for releasing the Jewish king Jehoiachin from prison after thirty seven years in captivity.
Later Jewish and Christian texts expand the Biblical account. Josephus and the Avot of Rabbi Natan state that the king believed Jehoiachin was held by his father without cause, and thus decided to release him upon the latter's death. Josephus assigned eighteen years to his reign. Leviticus Rabbah 18:2 states that Evil-Merodach was made king while Nebuchadrezzar was still living, and was punished for this act of rebellion by his father, who had him imprisoned. In Esther Rabbah, Evil-Merodach, owing to his father's actions before his death, is heir to a bankrupt treasury. Seder Olam Rabbah assigned twenty three years to his reign.
|King of Babylon
- Kings of Babylon
- Hirsch, E.G. et al. Evil-Merodach in Singer, Isidore; Adler, Cyrus; (eds.) et al. (1901–1906) The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls, New York. LCCN 16-014703
- Oded, B. Evil-Merodach in Skolnik, F., & Berenbaum, M. (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 6, Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA in association with the Keter Pub. House.
- Sack, R.H. Evil-Merodach in Freedman, et al. (1992). Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 2, New York: Doubleday.
- Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897
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