Mordecai Asks for Esther's Help
1When Mordecai learnt of all that had been done, he tore his clothes in anguish. Then he dressed in sackcloth, covered his head with ashes, and walked through the city, wailing loudly and bitterly, 2until he came to the entrance of the palace. He did not go in because no one wearing sackcloth was allowed inside. 3Throughout all the provinces, wherever the king's proclamation was made known, there was loud mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept and wailed, and most of them put on sackcloth and lay in ashes.
4When Esther's young women and eunuchs told her what Mordecai was doing, she was deeply disturbed. She sent Mordecai some clothes to put on instead of the sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5Then she called Hathach, one of the palace eunuchs appointed as her servant by the king, and told him to go to Mordecai and find out what was happening and why. 6Hathach went to Mordecai in the city square at the entrance of the palace. 7Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him and just how much money Haman had promised to put into the royal treasury if all the Jews were killed. 8He gave Hathach a copy of the proclamation that had been issued in Susa, ordering the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai asked him to take it to Esther, explain the situation to her, and ask her to go and plead with the king and beg him to have mercy on her people. 9Hathach did this, 10and Esther gave him this message to take back to Mordecai: 11“If anyone, man or woman, goes to the inner courtyard and sees the king without being summoned, that person must die. That is the law; everyone, from the king's advisers to the people in the provinces, knows that. There is only one way to get round this law: if the king holds out his gold sceptre to someone, then that person's life is spared. But it has been a month since the king sent for me.”
12When Mordecai received Esther's message, 13he sent her this warning: “Don't imagine that you are safer than any other Jew just because you are in the royal palace. 14If you keep quiet at a time like this, help will come from heaven to the Jews, and they will be saved, but you will die and your father's family will come to an end. Yet who knows — maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!”
15Esther sent Mordecai this reply: 16“Go and gather all the Jews in Susa together; hold a fast and pray for me. Don't eat or drink anything for three days and nights. My young women and I will be doing the same. After that, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. If I must die for doing it, I will die.”
17Mordecai then left and did everything that Esther had told him to do.
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