🔼The name Evil-merodach in the Bible
The name Evil-merodach (which of course has nothing to do with the English word evil, and would perhaps be more prudently transliterated as Ewil-merodach) is the Biblical version of Amel-marduk who was briefly king of Babylon in the 560's BC. His name occurs twice in the Bible, but in the same passage. We're told how king Evil-merodach released king Jehoiachin of Judah from prison in the year of his ascension (2 Kings 25:27, Jeremiah 52:31).
Jehoiachin had been imprisoned since the beginning of the exile, thirty-seven years earlier (2 Kings 24:14), but was henceforth honored more than the other conquered kings and even had his meals in the presence of the Babylonian king for the rest of his life. It's not clear how extensive that rest was, but Evil-merodach was murdered by his successor Nergal-sharezer two years into his reign.
🔼Etymology of the name Evil-merodach
The name Evil-merodach consists of two elements. The final part of our name is the same as the Hebrew version of the name Marduk, belonging to Babylon's principle deity. The name Marduk can be explained in all kind of creative ways (please see our article on that name for the details), but it seems plausible that a Hebrew audience would also tie it to the following cluster of words, having to do with crushing:
Hebrew authors had the habit of altering historical names to serve the purpose of telling the story of how Truth came to the world. The name Amel-marduk (probably meaning Man Of Marduk in Persian) they changed to Evil-marduk, and the Hebrew word אויל (ewil), derived from the root אול I ('wl I), means fool or foolishness:
For a meaning of the name Evil-merodach, both BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List go with the original Persian meaning and read Man Of Marduk. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) feels that the deliberate change the authors imposed on this name is more important that the original and translates our name with The Fool Of Merodach.
Here at Abarim Publications we guess that our name reflects something similar to what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:25, namely that the best of Mardukology was still off par with truth. We translate this name with Marduk's Folly.