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Esther Helps the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the king’s gate because no one was allowed to enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. In each and every province where the king’s command and his decree came there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

So the young women of Esther and her eunuchs came and told her of it. The queen was then seized by anguish. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he could remove his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. So Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs appointed to attend her, and commanded him concerning Mordecai to learn what this was about and why.

So Hathak went out to where Mordecai was in the area of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him about all that had happened to him and about the sum of silver that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa concerning their destruction so he could show Esther, tell her about it, and then charge her to go to the king in order to gain him favor with the king and to make requests in the presence of the king for her people.

Hathak returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Again Esther spoke to Hathak and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that whoever, whether man or woman, wishes to come to the king at the inner court but has not been summoned, there is one law—to put him to death—unless for some reason the king should hold out the golden scepter so that he might live. I, however, have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.”

12 So all the words of Esther were told to Mordecai. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will be more likely to escape than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther replied, sending back to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who can be found in Susa, then fast for me. Stop eating and drinking for three days, night or day. I and my young women will fast likewise. Only then would I dare go to the king since it is not allowed by law, and if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had commanded him.