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When Mordekhai learned everything that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and went out through the city, lamenting and crying bitterly. He stopped before entering the King’s Gate, since no one was allowed to go inside the King’s Gate wearing sackcloth. In every province reached by the king’s order and decree, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing, as many lay down on sackcloth and ashes.

When the girls and officials attending Ester came and informed her of this, the queen became deeply distressed. She sent clothes for Mordekhai to wear instead of his sackcloth, but he wouldn’t accept them. So Ester summoned Hatakh, one of the king’s officials attending her, and instructed him to go to Mordekhai and find out what this was all about and why. Hatakh went out to Mordekhai in the open space in front of the King’s Gate, and Mordekhai told him everything that had happened to him and exactly how much silver Haman had promised to put in the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the decree for their destruction issued in Shushan; so that he could show it to Ester, explain it to her, and then instruct her to approach the king, intercede with him and implore his favor on behalf of her people. Hatakh returned and told Ester what Mordekhai had said.

10 Then Ester spoke to Hatakh and gave him this message for Mordekhai: 11 “All the king’s officials, as well as the people in the royal provinces, know that if anyone, man or woman, approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being summoned, there is just one law — he must be put to death — unless the king holds out the gold scepter for him to remain alive; and I haven’t been summoned to the king for the past thirty days.”

12 Upon being told what Ester had said, Mordekhai 13 asked them to give Ester this answer: “Don’t suppose that merely because you happen to be in the royal palace you will escape any more than the other Jews. 14 For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different direction; but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.”

15 Ester had them return this answer to Mordekhai: 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews to be found in Shushan, and have them fast for me, neither eating nor drinking for three days, night and day; also I and the girls attending me will fast the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Then Mordekhai went his way and did everything Ester had ordered him to do.

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