Esther 4

Mordecai asks Queen Esther to help the Jews

1 Mordecai discovered what Haman had done. He tore his clothes and he dressed in sackcloth and ashes, because he was very upset. He went into the city. He cried and he wept loudly as he went.

2 Nobody who was wearing sackcloth could go into the yard of the palace. So Mordecai stopped at the king's gate. 3 Jews who lived in all the regions of Xerxes' kingdom heard the king's command. So they were very sad. They were weeping and they were fasting. Many of them lay on sackcloth and ashes.

4:3While the Jews fasted, they usually prayed to God. They fasted because they wanted to ask God for his help.

4 Esther's female servants the eunuchs who took care of her told her what Mordecai was doing. So Esther was very upset. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of the sackcloth, but Mordecai refused to wear them. 5 Hathach was one of the king's eunuchs who served Esther. Esther asked him 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.

6 So Hathach went to speak to Mordecai. Mordecai was outside the king's gate, in an open place. 7 Mordecai told Hathach everything that had happened. He told Hathach how much money Haman would pay to the king when people destroyed all the Jews. 8 Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the law that they had read aloud to the people in Susa. He told Hathach to show the law to Esther and explain it to her. Mordecai also said that Esther must go and speak to the king. She must ask the king to let her people live.

4:7See Esther 3:9. Haman had promised to give the king a lot of silver.

9 Hathach went back into the palace. He told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther sent Hathach back to Mordecai with this message: 11 ‘Everybody knows the law. People cannot go to meet the king in his own part of the palace unless the king asks them to come. All the king's officers and all his people know that that is the law. If somebody decides to go to the king when the king has not asked to see him, that person must die. He will only stay alive if the king holds out his gold sceptre towards him. As for me, the king has not asked me to go to him for the last 30 days.’

4:11The king would let Queen Esther come near to him. But only if he asked for her. So it would be dangerous for Esther to go to him at another time.

12 When Mordecai heard this message from Esther, 13 he sent this answer back to her: ‘Do not think that you will be safe because you live in the king's palace. You will not escape when they kill all the other Jews. 14 You must speak now on behalf of all the Jewish people. If you do not, they will receive help from another place to make them safe and free. Then you and your father's family will come to an end. But I think that perhaps you have become queen so that you can help at a time like this.’

4:14Mordecai trusted God that God would save his people, the Jews. Mordecai thought that God had put Esther in the palace as queen. Because Esther was queen, she could speak to the king. She could ask him to save the Jews.'

15 Then Esther sent this answer to Mordecai: 16 ‘Tell all the Jews in Susa to meet together. Tell them to fast and to pray for me. They must not eat or drink for three days, during the day and the night. My female servants and I will also do that. After three days, I will go and speak to the king. I know that I will do that against the king's law. But if I must die because of that, I agree to die.’

17 Then Mordecai left the king's gate. He did everything that Esther had told him to do.