Amel-Marduk

Amel-Marduk

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Amel-MardukAmel-Marduk (Akk.
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

: Amēl-Marduk, 'man of Marduk
Marduk
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

' (died 560 BC) was the son and successor of Nebuchadrezzar
Nebuchadrezzar II
Nebuchadnezzar II was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. According to the Bible, he conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and sent the Jews into exile. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and also known for the destruction...

, king of Babylon
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

. He reigned only two years, 562 - 560 BC.

Biography


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
Berossus
Berossus was a Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and astronomer writing in Greek, who was active at the beginning of the 3rd century BC...

 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
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, where Evil-Merodach (Heb.
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

: אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ, ˒ĕwı̂l merōdak) is remembered for releasing the Jewish king Jehoiachin from prison after thirty seven years in captivity.

Later Jewish and Christian legends expand the Biblical account. Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 and Avot of Rabbi Natan
Avot of Rabbi Natan
Avot de-Rabbi Nathan , usually printed together with the minor tractates of the Talmud, is a Jewish aggadic work probably compiled in the geonic era . Although Avot de-Rabbi Nathan is the first and longest of the "minor tractates", it probably does not belong in that collection chronologically,...

 write that the king believed Jehoiachin was held by his father without cause, and thus decided to release him upon the latter's death. Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus . It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel in his Aruk as well as by Rashi in his commentaries on , and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon and Nissim knew and made use of it...

 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
Esther Rabbah
Esther Rabbah is the midrash to the Book of Esther in the current Midrash editions. From its plan and scope it is apparently an incomplete collection from the rich haggadic material furnished by the comments on the scroll of Esther, which has been read since early times at the public service on...

, Evil-Merodach, owing to his father's actions before his death, is heir to a bankrupt treasury.

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