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EVIL-MERODACH (Heb. אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ), son of *Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia from 562–560 b.c.e. The Babylonian form of the name is Amēl Marduk ("man of Marduk"). During Evil-Merodach's reign, the stability of the royal court of Babylon was undermined and there appeared the first signs of the decline of the neo-Babylonian Empire. After two years as king, he was assassinated, probably by his brother-in-law Nergal-šar-uṣur (Nergal Sarezer), who succeeded him on the throne (Jer. 39:3, 13). It is related in the Bible (ii Kings 25:27–30; Jer. 52:31–34) that Evil-Merodach freed *Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from prison in the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile in Babylon and that he accorded him a food allotment for life and treated him better than his other vassals. His motives can only be guessed at. He may have contemplated a far-reaching reverse of his father's policies.


Weisbach, in: E. Ebeling and B. Meissner (eds.), Reallexikon der Assyriologie, 1 (1932), 94; Bright, Hist, 334; em, 1 (1965), 138–9, incl. bibl. add. bibliography: R. Sack, Amēl-Marduk 562–560b.c. (1972); idem, in: abd ii, 679; W. Holladay, Jeremiah 2 (1989), 291.

[Bustanay Oded]