Mordecai Asks for Esther's Help
1 When Mordecai learned 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,
2 until he came to the entrance of the palace. He did not go in because no one wearing sackcloth was allowed inside.
3 Throughout all the provinces, wherever the king's proclamation was made known, there was loud mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, wailed, and most of them put on sackcloth and lay in ashes.
4 When Esther's servant 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.
5 Then 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.
6 Hathach went to Mordecai in the city square at the entrance of the palace.
7 Mordecai 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.
8 He 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 have her go and plead with the king and beg him to have mercy on her people.
9 Hathach did this,
10 and 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 around this law: if the king holds out his gold scepter to someone, then that person's life is spared. But it has been a month since the king sent for me.”
12 When Mordecai received Esther's message,
13 he sent her this warning: “Don't imagine that you are safer than any other Jew just because you are in the royal palace.
14 If 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!”
15 Esther sent Mordecai this reply:
16 “Go and get 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 servant 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.”
17 Mordecai then left and did everything that Esther had told him to do.