4 1NOW WHEN Mordecai learned all that was done, [he] rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes and went out into the midst of the city and cried with a loud and bitter cry. 2He came and stood before the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3And in every province, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4When Esther’s maids and her attendants came and told it to her, the queen was exceedingly grieved and distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, with orders to take his sackcloth from off him, but he would not receive them. 5Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s attendants whom he had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city, which was in front of the king’s gate. 7And Mordecai told him of all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews to be destroyed. 8[Mordecai] also gave him a copy of the decree to destroy them, that was given out in Shushan, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king, make supplication to him, and plead with him for the lives of her people. 9And Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, 11All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any person, be it man or woman, who shall go into the inner court to the king without being called shall be put to death; there is but one law for him, except [him] to whom the king shall hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. But I have not been called to come to the king for these thirty days. 12And they told Mordecai what Esther said. 13Then Mordecai told them to return this answer to Esther, Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? 15Then Esther told them to give this answer to Mordecai, 16Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish. 17So Mordecai went away and did all that Esther had commanded him.
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