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Mordecai Asks for Esther’s Help

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes. He dressed in cloth made from hair and put on ashes, and went out into the city and cried with loud cries. He went as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to go through the king’s gate wearing cloth made from hair. There was much sorrow among the Jews in each and every part of the nation where the king’s law was made known. They went without food and cried with sounds of sorrow. Many lay in cloth made from hair and in ashes.

Then Esther’s women and men servants came and told her, and the queen was very troubled. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear, that he might take off his clothes made from hair. But he would not take them. Then Esther called Hathach from the king’s servants whom the king had chosen to help her. She told him to go to Mordecai and find out what was wrong and why. So Hathach went out to Mordecai at the king’s gate in the open space of the city. And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him. He told him just how much money Haman had promised to pay to the king’s store-houses to have the Jews destroyed. He also gave him one of the letters of the law that was sent out from Susa to destroy the Jews, that he might show it to Esther and let her know. And he said that she should go in to the king and beg him to show favor to her people.

Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther told Hathach to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s nation know that he has one law for any man or woman who comes to him in his room who has not been called: They will be put to death, unless the king holds out his special golden stick to him so that he may live. And I have not been called to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 Then Mordecai was told what Esther had said.

13 Mordecai answered, “Do not think that you in the king’s special house will live any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep quiet at this time, help will come to the Jews from another place. But you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows if you have not become queen for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to say to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and have them all go without food so they can pray better for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my women servants will go without food in the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law. And if I die, I die.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had told him.

Esther’s Special Supper

On the third day Esther put on her queen’s clothing and stood in the open space inside the king’s special house in front of his throne room. The king was sitting on his throne in the throne room looking toward the door of his house. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the open space, she found favor in his eyes. The king held his special golden stick in his hand toward Esther. So Esther came near and touched the top of the special stick. Then the king said to her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What do you ask of me? You would be given even as much as half the nation.” Esther said, “If it please the king, may the king and Haman come today to the special supper I have made ready for him.”

Then the king said, “Be quick to bring Haman, that we may do as Esther wants.” So the king and Haman came to the special supper that Esther had made ready. As they drank their wine at the supper, the king said to Esther, “What is it that you want? For it will be given to you. What do you ask of me? You would be given as much as half the nation.” So Esther answered and said, “This is what I ask of you. If I have found favor in the king’s eyes, and if it please the king to give me what I ask of him, may the king and Haman come to the special supper that I will make ready for them. And tomorrow I will tell you what I want.”

Then Haman went out that day glad and with joy in his heart. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate, and when he did not stand up or show any fear in front of him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. 10 But Haman kept himself from doing anything at that time, and went home. There he sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Haman told them about the greatness of his riches and the number of his sons. He told them how the king had raised him to a place of honor, and how he had made him more important than the princes and the king’s servants. 12 Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the special supper that she had made ready. She has asked me to come with the king tomorrow also. 13 Yet all of this is not enough to please me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a tower made ready for hanging him. Let it be thirteen times taller than a man. And in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with joy to the special supper with the king.” These words pleased Haman, so he had the tower built.

The King Honors Mordecai

During that night the king could not sleep. So he had the Book of the Chronicles brought to him, and they were read to the king. And it was found written what Mordecai had told him about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s servants who were door-keepers, who had planned to kill King Ahasuerus. The king said, “What honor or reward has been given to Mordecai for this?” Then the king’s servants who served him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” So the king said, “Who is outside?” Now Haman had just come into the garden outside the king’s special house. He wanted to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the tower he had made ready for him. The king’s servants said to him, “See, Haman is standing in the garden.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in and the king said to him, “What is to be done for the man whom the king wants to honor?” Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king want to honor more than me?” Then Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king wants to honor, let them bring clothing which the king wears, and the horse on which the king rides, and on whose head a crown has been placed. Let the clothing and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most honored princes. Let them dress the man whom the king wants to honor and lead him on the horse through the center of the city. Have them make it known before him, ‘This is being done to the man whom the king wants to honor.’”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Be quick to take the clothing and the horse as you have said. Do this for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the king’s gate. Do not do any less than all that you have said.” 11 So Haman took the clothing and the horse. He dressed Mordecai and led him on the horse through the center of the city. And he made known before him, “This is being done to the man whom the king wants to honor.” 12 Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman went home in a hurry with his head covered and very sad. 13 Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you cannot stand against him. For sure you will fall before him.” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s servants came and brought Haman in a hurry to the special supper that Esther had made ready.

Haman Is Put to Death

So the king and Haman came to eat with Esther the queen. And the king said again to Esther on the second day, as they drank their wine at the special supper, “What do you want to ask of me, Queen Esther? It will be done for you. What do you want? You would be given as much as half the nation.” Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your eyes, O king, and if it please the king, I ask that my life and the lives of my people be saved. For I and my people have been sold, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be done away with. If we had only been sold as men and women servants, I would have kept quiet. For our trouble is not to be compared with the trouble it will make for the king.” Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would do such a thing?” Esther said, “This sinful Haman hates us very much!” Then Haman was very afraid in front of the king and queen. The king got up from drinking the wine very angry, and went into his garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther. He knew that the king planned to punish him. When the king returned from his garden to the place where they were drinking wine, Haman was falling on the bed-like seat where Esther was lying. Then the king said, “Will he even trouble the queen while I am in the house?” As the king spoke the words, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbonah, one of the king’s servants helping the king, said, “See, there is a tower made for hanging people at Haman’s house, thirteen times taller than a man. Haman had it made for hanging Mordecai who spoke good and helped the king!” And the king said, “Hang Haman on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the tower that he had made for Mordecai. Then the king’s anger became less.