4 When Mordecai learned of everything that had been done, [a]he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly.2 And he came as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth.3 In each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and mourning rites; and many had sackcloth and ashes spread out as a bed.
4 Then Esther’s attendants and her eunuchs came and informed her, and the queen was seized by great fear. And she sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he would remove his sackcloth from him, but he did not accept them.5 Then Esther summoned Hathach from the king’s eunuchs, whom [b]the king had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this mourning was and why it was happening.6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square, in front of the king’s gate.7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, and the exact amount of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the elimination of the Jews.8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict which had been issued in Susa for their annihilation, so that he might show Esther and inform her, and to order her to go in to the king to implore his favor and plead with him for her people.
9 So Hathach came back and reported Mordecai’s words to Esther.10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai:11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king in the inner courtyard, who is not summoned, he has only one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.”12 And they reported Esther’s words to Mordecai.
13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the other Jews.14 For if you keep silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
Esther Plans to Intercede
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai,16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants also will fast in the same way. And then I will go in to the king, which is not in accordance with the law; and if I perish, I perish.”17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.
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