- (biblical form of the name MARDUK-APLA-IDDINA II; reigned 721–710 B.C.)King of Babylon. The career of Merodach-baladan, originally a tribal leader of the Chaldeans in southern Babylonia, is unusually well documented, due to his long struggle against Assyriansupremacy. In the Assyrian records, he is depicted as an archenemy and “terrorist” avant la lettre; he was especially loathed by Sennacherib. According to Babyloniansources, he was a “good” Babylonian king who maintained the privileges of the cult cities, invested in irrigation, restored temples, and fought Assyrian oppression. According to the Bible (2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 39), he sent a delegation to the Judean king Hezekiah, perhaps in the hope of gaining support against Sennacherib. Merodach-baladan is first mentioned as the “king of the Sealand” in the annals of Tiglath-pileser III, who fought a campaign against the rebellious southern tribes. Profiting from the internal problems in Assyria following the death of Shalmaneser V in 722, he established himself as king of Babylon. Sargon II was determined to win back Assyrian control over Babylonia and launched a series of attacks meant to dislodge the Chaldean king from Babylon. He inflicted defeats on the Babylonian forces and declared himself king of Babylon, while Merodach-baladan went to Elam to ask for military assistance against the Assyrians.By the time Sargon died in 705, Merodach-baladan had assembled a formidable alliance and challenged the new king Sennacherib on two fronts. The Assyrians managed to defeat the Babylonian allies, and Sennacherib entered Babylon, where he captured the wives of Merodach-baladan. He had these women transported to Assyria, together with other Babylonian nobles and much treasure. Sennacherib sought to safeguard Assyrian interests by placing a puppet ruler on the Babylonian throne, whom he replaced in 700 with his own son and crown prince, Ashur-nadin-shumi.Sennacherib launched a final attack against the south, where Merodach-baladan had taken refuge in the marshes. However, he was not to succeed; Merodach-baladan had escaped to the Elamite coast, and in the counterattack mounted by Elam, Sennacherib’s son was kidnapped and probably killed. Merodach-baladan’s end is not known, but he evaded capture by the Assyrians.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.