4When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his
clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city,
wailing with a loud and bitter cry; 2he went up to the entrance of the
king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with
sackcloth. 3In every province, wherever the king’s command and his
decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and
weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4When Esther’s maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was
deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might
take off his sackcloth; but he would not accept them. 5Then Esther called
for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to
attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was
happening and why. 6Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square
of the city in front of the king’s gate, 7and Mordecai told him all that had
happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised
to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews.
8Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for
their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and
charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him
for her people. 9Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said.
10Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai,
saying, 11“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces
know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court
without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to
death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that
person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for
thirty days.” 12When they told Mordecai what Esther had said,
13Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s
palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you
keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the
Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish.
Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time
as this.” 15Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, 16“Go, gather all the
Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat
nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as
you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if
I perish, I perish.” 17Mordecai then went away and did everything as
Esther had ordered him.