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If I Perish!

When Mordecai learned all that was done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the middle of the city crying out in a loud and bitter voice. He went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one could enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. In each and every province where the king’s edict and law came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many put on sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, the queen was greatly distressed. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on so he would remove his sackcloth, but he refused. So Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to find the cause and reason for this.

So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, even the exact amount of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a written copy of the decree, which had been distributed in Shushan, for their annihilation, to show to Esther and to explain it to her. He instructed her to go in to the king, to beg his favor and plead before him on behalf of her people. Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him instructions for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces fully understand that for anyone, man or woman, who approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being summoned, he has one law—that he be put to death, unless the king extends his golden scepter permitting him to live. But I have not been summoned to come to the king for 30 days.” 12 So they conveyed Esther’s words to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai told them to reply to Esther with this answer, “Do not think in your soul that you will escape in the king’s household more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?”

15 Esther sent this to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go! Gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast in the same way. Afterwards, I will go in to the king, even though it is not according to the law. So if I perish, I perish!”

17 So Mordecai left and did all that Esther commanded him.