Jehoiachin in captivity and Evil-Merodach (Jeremiah 52)

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Jehoiachin ruled Judah for only three months and then, at age eighteen, was taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C. (2 Kings 24:8-15). During excavations in Babylon approximately 300 clay tablets containing administrative records were uncovered in a building adjacent to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Four of them were found to be highly significant for Old Testament studies, as they mention Jehoiachin. Dating from 595 to 570 B.C., all four are receipts for rations of oil issued to Jehoiachin and his entourage. Jehoiachin is referred to as “Jehoiachin king of the land of Judah”. Three of the tablets list oil for Jehoiachin’s five sons (cf. 1 Chronicles 3:17-18), and oil was also given to five named and eight unnamed Judeans.

Evil-Merodach succeeded Nebuchadnezzar on the throne but ruled for only one year, from 561 to 560 B.C. He released Jehoiachin from confinement and allowed him to eat at the king’s table (Jeremiah 52:31-34). Inscriptions found in Babylon show that Evil-Merodach continued his father’s building projects. He was deposed, and perhaps murdered, however, by his brother-in-law Nergal- Sharezer, a former military officer (39:3, 13).


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