Merodach, Or Bel Merodach, the second of the minor Babylonian gods, nearly corresponding with the classic Jupiter, and astronomically identified with the planet Jupiter. The name Merodach was at first a mere epithet of the god Bel or Belus, and by degrees superseded the proper name. Its signification or origin is unknown. The golden image in the great temple at Babylon was worshipped as Bel rather than Merodach, but other images probably represented him as Merodach, and the temple itself, described by Herodotus as the temple of Belus, is the temple of Merodach in the inscriptions. In what the distinction between the names consists, however, is not known. Bel Merodach is represented as the son of Ao and Davke, and the husband of Zirbanit. He is the ancient one of the gods, and the judge, and has the gates (probably with the seats of justice near them) under his special charge. He was the tutelar god of Babylon from an early period, and the Babylonian kings were often named after him, as Merodach-baladan and Evil-merodach, such use of the name occurring as early as 1050 B. C. His worship was adopted in Assyria at a later time, prob.ably because of the consolidation of the two monarchies about the time of Pal, who claimed to have first put Merodach at the head of the Assyrian pantheon.
Merodach was most honored under the later Babylonian kings, and praises and prayers addressed to him occupy the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar. At first he shared with several other deities the worship of the people, but later concentrated in himself the greater part of the homage formerly given to many gods, and was regarded as the source of all power and blessings.