The Hebrew form for Marduk, the most important Babylonian god, whose downfall was foretold to coincide with Babylon’s overthrow.—Jer 50:2.
The Babylonian Kings Merodach-baladan (Isa 39:1) and Evil-merodach (2Ki 25:27) were undoubtedly named after this god. With the rise of Babylon to prominence, because of King Hammurabi’s making it the capital of Babylonia, Merodach likewise increased in importance. The attributes of earlier gods came to be assigned to him, and it is thought that the Babylonian priests altered the mythological accounts to make Merodach the slayer of Tiamat and the creator of the world and of man. Babylonian texts identify Marduk (Merodach) as the son of Ea (the god presiding over the watery element), the consort of Sarpanitu, and the father of Nebo.
The kingship over Babylon was closely associated with the image of Merodach at his temple, Esagila, for the rulers of Babylon were not installed by coronation but became kings by taking hold of the hand of Merodach. The ceremony was repeated each year at the New Year’s festival. Even during the time that Assyria controlled Babylonia, the kings of Assyria were required to come to the city of Babylon each year for the New Year’s festival and legalize their claim to the throne by taking hold of Merodach’s hand.
Jeremiah the prophet, with respect to Babylon’s fall, foretold that Merodach would “become terrified.” This came true in the sense that Merodach proved to be unable to preserve the dignity of the Babylonian World Power, and since the conquerors of Babylon were worshipers of other deities, his future became very uncertain, filled with foreboding.—Jer 50:2; see BEL; GODS AND GODDESSES (Babylonian Deities).