IV. ESTHER AND MORDECAI PLEAD FOR HELP CHAPTER 4 4 Mordecai Exhorts Esther. 1When Mordecai learned all that was happening, he tore his garments, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city crying out loudly and bitterly, 2till he came before the royal gate, which no one clothed in sackcloth might enter. 3Likewise in each of the provinces, wherever the king’s decree and law reached, the Jews went into deep mourning, with fasting, weeping, and lament; most of them lay on sackcloth and ashes. 4Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her. Overwhelmed with anguish, the queen sent garments for Mordecai to put on, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he refused. 5Esther then summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had placed at her service, and commanded him to find out what this action of Mordecai meant and the reason for it. 6So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the public square in front of the royal gate, 7and Mordecai recounted all that had happened to him, as well as the exact amount of silver Haman had promised to pay to the royal treasury for the slaughter of the Jews. 8He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction that had been promulgated in Susa, to show and explain to Esther. Hathach was to instruct her to go to the king and to plead and intercede with him on behalf of her people.[R] 9Hathach returned to Esther and told her what Mordecai had said. 10Then Esther replied to Hathach and gave him this message for Mordecai: 11“All the servants of the king and the people of his provinces know that any man or woman who goes to the king in the inner court without being summoned is subject to the same law—death. Only if the king extends the golden scepter will such a person live. Now as for me, I have not been summoned to the king for thirty days.” 12When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13he had this reply brought to her: “Do not imagine that you are safe in the king’s palace, you alone of all the Jews. 14Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source;[S] but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows—perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen?” 15Esther sent back to Mordecai the response: 16“Go and assemble all the Jews who are in Susa; fast on my behalf, all of you, not eating or drinking night or day for three days. I and my maids will also fast in the same way. Thus prepared, I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If I perish, I perish!” 17Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had commanded.
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