New International Version

Esther 4

Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help

1When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

New International Reader's Version

Esther 4

Mordecai Talks Esther Into Helping the Jews

1Mordecai found out about everything that had been done. So he tore his clothes. He put on the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. He sat down in ashes. Then he went out into the city. He wept out loud. He cried bitter tears. But he only went as far as the palace gate. That’s because no one dressed in that rough clothing was allowed to go through it. All the Jews were very sad. They didn’t eat anything. They wept and cried. Many of them put on the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. They were lying down in ashes. They did all these things in every territory where the king’s order and law had been sent.

Esther’s male and female attendants came to her. They told her about Mordecai. So she became very troubled. She wanted him to take off his rough clothing. So she sent him other clothes to wear. But he wouldn’t accept them. Then Esther sent for Hathak. He was one of the king’s officials. He had been appointed to take care of her. She ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai. She wanted to know why he was so upset.

So Hathak went out to see Mordecai. He was in the open area in front of the palace gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He told him about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to add to the royal treasures. He said Haman wanted it to be used to pay some men to destroy the Jews. Mordecai also gave Hathak a copy of the order. It commanded people to wipe out the Jews. The order had been sent from Susa. Mordecai told Hathak to show the order to Esther. He wanted Hathak to explain it to her. Mordecai told him to tell her to go and beg the king for mercy. Mordecai wanted her to make an appeal to the king for her people.

Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther directed him to give an answer to Mordecai. She told him to say, 11 “There is a certain law that everyone knows about. All the king’s officials know about it. The people in the royal territories know about it. It applies to any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being sent for. It says they must be put to death. But there is a way out. Suppose the king reaches out his gold scepter toward them. Then their lives will be spared. But 30 days have gone by since the king sent for me.”

12 Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai. 13 Then he sent back an answer. He said, “You live in the king’s palace. But don’t think that just because you are there you will be the only Jew who will escape. 14 What if you don’t say anything at this time? Then help for the Jews will come from another place. But you and your family will die. Who knows? It’s possible that you became queen for a time just like this.”

15 Then Esther sent a reply to Mordecai. She said, 16 “Go. Gather together all the Jews who are in Susa. And fast for my benefit. Don’t eat or drink anything for three days. Don’t do it night or day. I and my attendants will fast just as you do. Then I’ll go to the king. I’ll do it even though it’s against the law. And if I have to die, I’ll die.”

17 So Mordecai went away. He carried out all Esther’s directions.