Ner'gal-share'zer (Hebrew Nergal'-Sharets'er, ' נֵרגֵלאּשִׁראֶצֶר; Sept. Νηργελσασασάρ, Vat. MS. Νεριγλισσάρ v.r. Μαργανασάρ, Μαργαννασάρ, Νηργελσαρασάρ; Ναγαργᾶς v.r. Νηργέλ, all in Jer 39:3; also Νηργέ καὶ Σαρασάρ, ver. 13; Vulg. Neregel et Sereser), the name apparently of two persons among the "princes of the king of Babylon," who accompanied Nebuchadnezzar on his last expedition against Jerusalem, B.C. 588. The first part of the name is the god Nergal (q.v.), and Sharezer is supposed from the Zend to mean prince of fire (Gesen.).
1. The first of these is mentioned only in Jer 39:3, without any other designation or notice.
2. "The other has the honorable distinction of Rabmag (רִבאּמָג), and it is to him alone that any particular interest attaches (Jer 39:3). In sacred Scripture he appears among the persons who, by command of Nebuchadnezzar, released Jeremiah from prison (Jer 39:13); profane history gives us reason to believe that he was a personage of great importance, who not long afterwards mounted the Babylonian throne. This identification depends in part upon the exact resemblance of name which is found on Babylonian bricks in the form of Nergal-shar-uzur; but mainly it rests upon the title Rubu-emga, or Rab-mag, which this king bears in his inscriptions, and on the improbability of there having been, towards the close of the Babylonian period when the monumental monarch must have lived two persons of exactly the same name holding this office. SEE RAB- MAG. Assuming on these grounds the identity of the scriptural 'Nergal- Sharezer, Rab-mag,' with the monumental 'Neergal-shar-uzur, Rab-emga,' we may learn something of the prince in question from profane authors.
There cannot be a doubt that he was the monarch called Neriglissar or Neriglissoor by Berosus (Josephus, c. Ap. 1:30), who murdered Evil- Merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and succeeded him upon the throne. This prince was married to a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, and was thus the brother-in-law of his predecessor, whom he put to death. His reign lasted between three and four years. He appears to have died a natural death, and certainly left his crown to a young son, Laborosoarchod, who was murdered after a reign of nine months. In the Canon of Ptolemy he appears, under the designation of Nerigassolassar, as reigning four years between Illoarudamus (Evil-Merodach) and Nabonadius, his son's reign not obtaining any mention because it fell short of a year. A palace built by Neriglissar has been discovered at Babylon. It is the only building of any extent on the right bank of the Euphrates. SEE BABYLON. The bricks bear the name of Nergal-shar-uzur, the title of Rab-mag, and also a statement — which is somewhat surprising — that Nergal-shar-uzur was the son of a certain 'Belzikkar-iskun, king of Babylon.' The only explanation which has been offered of this statement is a conjecture (Rawlinson's Herodotus, 1:518) that Bel-zikkar-iskun may possibly have been the 'chief Chaldnean' who (according to Berosus) kept the royal authority for Nebuchadnezzar during the interval between his father's death and his own arrival at Babylon. SEE NEBUCHADNEZZAR. Neriglissar could scarcely have given his father the title of king without some ground; and this is at any rate a possible ground, and one compatible with the non-appearance of the name in any extant list of the later Babylonian monarchs. Neriglissars office of RAB-MAG will be further considered under that word. It is evident that he was a personage of importance before he mounted the throne. Some (as Larcher) have sought to identify him with Darius the Mede; but this view is quite untenable. There is abundant reason to believe from his name and his office that he was a native Babylonian — a grandee of high rank under Nebuchadnezzar, who regarded him as a fitting match for one of his daughters. He did not, like Darius Medus, gain Babylon by conquest, but acquired his dominion by an internal revolution. His reign lasted from B.C. 559 to B.C. 556."