Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
1When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he #2 Sam. 1:11; Esth. 3:8–10; Jon. 3:5, 6tore his clothes and put on sackcloth #Josh. 7:6; Ezek. 27:30and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He #Gen. 27:34cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. 5Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. 6So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. 7And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and #Esth. 3:9the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. 8He also gave him #Esth. 3:14, 15a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. 9So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
10Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into #Esth. 5:1, 6:4the inner court to the king, who has not been called, #Dan. 2:9he has but one law: put all to death, except the one #Esth. 5:2, 8:4to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been #Esth. 2:14called to go in to the king these thirty days.” 12So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.
13And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
15Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for #Esth. 5:1three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; #Gen. 43:14and if I perish, I perish!”
17So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.