Esther 4

Mordecai asks Queen Esther to help the Jews

1 Mordecai discovered what had happened. Then he tore his clothes and he dressed in sackcloth and ashes. He went into the city. He was crying aloud.

2 He stopped at the King's Gate. Nobody who had dressed in sackcloth and ashes could come into the palace. 3 All through the kingdom of Xerxes, Jews were crying aloud and they were fasting. Many of the Jews lay on sackcloth and ashes.

4:3While the Jews fasted, they usually prayed to God. Sometimes they fasted when something bad was going to happen. They fasted because they wanted to ask God for his help.

4 Esther's female servants and eunuchs told her what Mordecai was doing. So Esther had troubles in her mind. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on. But Mordecai refused to wear them. 5 Hathach was one of the king's eunuchs. Esther asked Hathach to discover what was the matter with Mordecai.

4:5Esther could not leave the palace because she was one of the king's wives. Mordecai could not come into the palace because he was wearing sackcloth and ashes.

6 Hathach went to Mordecai. Mordecai was near the King's Gate. He was waiting outside. 7 Mordecai told Hathach what happened with Haman. King Xerxes had said that people must kill all the Jews. Mordecai told Hathach about that too. And he told Hathach about the 10,000 talents of silver that Haman had promised to pay into the king's bank.

4:7See note after 3:10.

8 Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the king's law to give to Esther. He spoke to Hathach. He asked him to tell Esther that she must go to the king. She should ask the king to let her people live.

9 Hathach returned to the harem. And he told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Esther sent Hathach to tell Mordecai, 11 ‘A person can only see the king if the king asks for him or her by name. Everyone knows that. There is only one law for anyone who goes to the king. If the king has not asked to see him, that person must die. Only if the king holds out his gold sceptre will the person live. The king has not asked me to go to him for 30 days.’

4:11Esther is the queen. But even Esther can only go to the king if he asks for her by name. It is dangerous for Esther to go to the king because he has not asked for her.

12 Then Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Mordecai sent back this answer. ‘Do not think that you, in the king's palace, will be safer than all the other Jews. 14 If you do not speak on behalf of the Jews at this time, help will come from another place. But you and your family will die. But perhaps you are queen for a time like this.’

4:14Mordecai is showing faith in God. God will not let Haman kill the Jews. Mordecai knows that. 2 Kings 19:31 tells us that. Mordecai is telling Esther that God has put her in the palace as queen. Because Esther is queen, she can speak to the king. Esther can ask the king to save the Jews.

15 Esther sent this answer to Mordecai, 16 ‘Tell all the Jews in Susa that they should fast on behalf of me. They must not eat or drink for three days. They must not eat or drink in the day or night for this time. My female servants and I will also fast. After three days, I will go to the king even when it is against his law. He has not asked for me. So he may tell his officers that they must kill me. If I die, I die.’

4:16The Jews were fasting and praying to God to help Queen Esther. She had to speak to the king. Esther is showing that she has faith in God. She trusts God to keep her safe. And she will do what God wants.

17 Mordecai did as Esther had asked him.