Baladan, The Father Of Merodach-Baladan -- By: A. R. Millard

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 22:1 (NA 1971)
Article: Baladan, The Father Of Merodach-Baladan
Author: A. R. Millard


Baladan, The Father Of Merodach-Baladan

A. R. Millard

In the name Merodach-Baladan has been recognized the Hebrew writing of the name of Marduk-apla-iddina, the Chaldaean claimant to the throne of Babylon in the late eighth century BC. (The identification seems to have been made independently by Edward Hincks and Sir Henry Rawlinson in their initial decipherments of Sennacherib’s inscriptions.1) As it happens, he is described simply as a member of the dynasty of Yakin from the south of the country in Akkadian sources; his father is not named. Only the Old Testament appears to give the father’s name, 2 Kings 20:12 =Isaiah 39:1 having בַּלְאֲדָן בֶּן בַּלְאֲדָן מְרֹאדַךְ. .2 Commentators have adopted widely differing views on this name; at one extreme Baladan has been rejected as ‘inaccurate’, presumably merely a doublet from the son’s name,3 while others have proposed that the father’s name was formed exactly as the son’s, which means ‘Marduk has given an heir’, but with another divine name in place of Marduk, and that the divine name has been omitted by Babylonian usage, shortening the name to Apla-iddina in a well-known fashion.4 It is unlikely that a pagan divine name has been suppressed by pious scribes in the light of the full

form of the son’s name, and the retention of Nisroch, however deformed, just before (2 Ki. 19:27 =Is. 37:38).

Beside the possibility of a shortened form, this note offers an alternative explanation of the father’s name.5 Among the Aramaic annotations scratched on cuneiform tablets to describe the document, to name some of the principals for ease of reference, or, in a few cases, to record a whole deed, are many including the divine name Bēl (West-Semitic Ba’al).6 This name is written simply בל as in Isaiah 46:1, so that we find בלאדן for the Babylonian Bēl-iddina in a text of c. 420 BC.7 Although the Aramaic transcriptions of the eighth and seventh centuries BC spell the second element without the initial aleph...

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