4 Now Mordecai heard about all that had been done. To show how upset he was, he tore his clothes. Then he put on rough cloth and ashes. And he went out into the city crying loudly and very sadly. 2 But Mordecai went only as far as the king’s gate. This was because no one was allowed to enter that gate dressed in rough cloth. 3 The king’s order reached every area. And there was great sadness and loud crying among the Jews. They gave up eating and cried out loudly. Many Jews lay down on rough cloth and ashes to show how sad they were.
4 Esther’s servant girls and eunuchs came to her and told her about Mordecai. Esther was very upset and afraid. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of the rough cloth. But he would not wear them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach. He was one of the king’s eunuchs chosen by the king to serve her. Esther ordered him to find out what was bothering Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathach went to Mordecai. Mordecai was in the city square in front of the king’s gate. 7 Then Mordecai told Hathach everything that had happened to him. And he told Hathach about the amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasury for the killing of the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave him a copy of the order to kill the Jews, which had been given in Susa. He wanted Hathach to show it to Esther and to tell her about it. And Mordecai told him to order Esther to go into the king’s presence. He wanted her to beg for mercy and to plead with him for her people.
9 Hathach went back and reported to Esther everything Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther told Hathach to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the royal officers and people of the royal areas know this: No man or woman may go to the king in the inner courtyard without being called. There is only one law about this. Anyone who enters must be put to death. But if the king holds out his gold scepter, that person may live. And I have not been called to go to the king for 30 days.”
12 And Esther’s message was given to Mordecai. 13 Then Mordecai gave orders to say to Esther: “Just because you live in the king’s palace, don’t think that out of all the Jews you alone will escape. 14 You might keep quiet at this time. Then someone else will help and save the Jews. But you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, you may have been chosen queen for just such a time as this.”
15 Then Esther sent this answer to Mordecai: 16 “Go and get all the Jews in Susa together. For my sake, give up eating. Do not eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my servant girls will also give up eating. Then I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I die, I die.”
17 So Mordecai went away. He did everything Esther had told him to do.
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