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Evil-Merodach

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(Hebrews Evil' Merodak', מְרֹדִךְ אְֵויל; Sept. Εὐιαλμαρωδέκ, Οὐλαιμαδάχαρ ), son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who, on his accession to the throne (B.C. 561), released the captive king of Judah, Jehoiachin, from prison, after 37 years of incarceration, treated him with kindness and distinction, and set his throne above the other conquered kings who were detained at Babylon (2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31-34). (See CHALDAEAN). A Jewish tradition (noticed by Jerome on Isaiah 14:29) ascribes this kindness to a personal friendship which Evil- merodach had contracted with the Jewish king when he was himself consigned to prison by Nebuchadnezzar, who, on recovering from his seven years' monomania, took offense at some part of the conduct of his son, by whom the government had in the mean time been administered. This story was probably invented to account for the fact. His name is variously written by other ancient authors (Εὐειλμαράδουκος by Berosus, in Josephus, Apion 1:20; Εὐιλμαλουροῦχος by Megasthenes and Abydenus, in Euseb. Chron. Armen. page 128; Ἀβιλμαρώδαχος by Josephus, Ant. 10:11, 2). Hales identifies him with the king of Babylon who formed a powerful confederacy against the Medes, which was broken up, and the king slain by Cyrus, then acting for his uncle Cyaxares. But this rests on the authority of Xenophon's Cyropaedia, the historical value of which he estimates far too highly. (See CYRUS). He is doubtless the same as the Ilvoradam of Ptolemy's "Canon," who reigned but a short time, having ascended the throne on the death of Nebuchadnezzar in B.C. 561, and being himself succeeded by Neriglissar in B.C. 559. (See BABYLON).

He thus appears to have reigned but two years, which is the time assigns ed to him by Abydenus (Fr. 9) and Berosus (Fr. 14). At the end of this brief space Evil-merodach was murdered by Neriglissar (See NERGAL- SHAREZER), a Babylonian noble married to his sister, who then seized the crown. The other ancient authorities assign him different lengths of reign. According to Berosus, Evil-merodach provoked his fate by lawless government and intemperance. Perhaps the departure from the policy of his father, and the substitution of mild for severe measures, may have been viewed in this light.

The latter half of the name Evil-merodach is that of a Babylonian god MERODACH (See MERODACH) (q.v.). Two modes of explaining the former part of it have been attempted. Since evil, as a Hebrew word, means "foolish," Sinconis proposes to consider it the derivative of אול, in the Arabic signification of "to be first," affording the sense of "prince of Merodach." This rests on the assumption that the Babylonian language was of Syro-Arabian origin. Gesemmius, on the other hand, who does not admit that origin, believes that some Indo-Germanic word, of similar sound, but reputable sense, is concealed under evil, and that the Hebrews made some slight perversion in its form to produce a word of contemptuous signification in Hebrew, just as is assumed in the case of Beelzebul.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Evil-Merodach'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/e/evil-merodach.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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