4:1–3 tore his clothes . . . bitter cry . . . fasting . . . ashes. These responses by Mordecai (vv. 1, 2) and by Jews in every province (v. 3), are conventional signs of intense grief and horror at the reception of bad news (cf. Gen. 37:29, 34; Dan. 9:3; Jon. 3:6). The Persians responded similarly after their defeat by the Greeks at the battle of Salamis.