Mordecai Appeals to Esther
1 When Mordecai learned of all that had happened, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the middle of the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because the law prohibited anyone wearing sackcloth from entering that gate.
3 In every province to which the king’s command and edict came, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and lamented, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s maidens and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, the queen was overcome with distress. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.
5 Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs appointed to her, and she dispatched him to Mordecai to learn what was troubling him and why. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square in front of the king’s gate, 7 and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money that Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury in order to destroy the Jews.
8 Mordecai also gave Hathach a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for the destruction of the Jews, to show and explain to Esther, urging her to approach the king, implore his favor, and plead before him for her people.
9 So Hathach went back and relayed Mordecai’s response to Esther.
10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and instructed him to tell Mordecai, 11 “All the royal officials and the people of the king’s provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned—that he be put to death. Only if the king extends the gold scepter may that person live. But I have not been summoned to appear before the king for the past thirty days.”
12 When Esther’s words were relayed to Mordecai, 13 he sent back to her this reply: “Do not imagine that because you are in the king’s palace you alone will escape the fate of all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows if perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day, and I and my maidens will fast as you do. After that, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish! a”
17 So Mordecai went and did all that Esther had instructed him.
16 a Or if I am destroyed, then I will be destroyed!