Esther 4

1The great mourning of Mordecai and the Jews. 4Esther sendeth to Mordecai to enquire the reason, is informed thereof, and advised by him to intercede with the king for the nation. 10She at first excuseth herself, but being admonished of the consequences by Mordecai, 15appointeth a fast, and undertaketh the suit.

1WHEN Mordecai 1perceived 2all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on 3sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst 4of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

1 By the king’s proclamations which were put up. See verse 8.

2 Namely, concerning the destroying of the Jews.

3 That is, a mourning habit or garment which he had strewn with ashes. See Joshua 7:6.

4 Namely, Shushan.

2And came 5even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate 6clothed with sackcloth.

5 That is, into the street which was before the gate of the king’s palace; as verse 6.

6 Hebr. in a garment of the sack.

3And 7in every province, whithersoever the king’s 8commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and 9many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

7 Hebr. And in all province and province.

8 That is, the edict.

9 Hebr. sack and ashes was laid or spread under many; that is, many, on whom was a sack, lay in ashes, as Jonah 3:6.

4¶So Esther’s 10maids and her chamberlains came and 11told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, 12and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.

10 Understand here ladies of honor.

11 Namely, how Mordecai conducted himself, verses 1 and 2.

12 Namely, that he might come again into the court in order that she might discourse more conveniently with him and be advised about all matters.

5Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s 13chamberlains, 14whom he had appointed to attend 15upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know 16what it was, and why it was.

13 Hebr. gelded. Other, eunuchs.

14 Or, of whom.

15 Hebr. before her face, that is, who were to wait upon her and to minister unto her.

16 That is, she asked what and why he was thus grieved and had put on a sackcloth.

6So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.

7And Mordecai told him of 17all that had happened unto him, and 18of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries 19for the Jews, to destroy them.

17 Namely, that which is written in Esther 3.

18 See Esther 3:9.

19 Or, against the Jews, that is, to the end that it would be lawful for him to destroy the Jews, as here follows.

8Also he gave him 20the copy of the writing of the decree that was 21given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto 22her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request 23before him for her people.

20 Or, transcript, or, replica.

21 That is, published, put up or posted up.

22 Namely, in the name of Mordecai, who brought her up, who in that respect had kept some authority over her, although Esther was now come to be a queen. See Esther 2:20.

23 Hebr. of his face; that is, that she would do it in her own person, and not make use of someone else for that purpose.

9And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

10¶Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and 24gave him commandment unto Mordecai;

24 That is, she gave him an answer, that she charged him to bring to Mordecai.

1125All the king's servants, and 26the people of the king's provinces, do know, 27that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king 28into the inner court, who is not called, there is 29one law of 30his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall 31hold out the golden sceptre, that he may 32live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

25 These are Esther’s own words which Hatach would say to Mordecai in her name.

26 As if she would say: Every man knows it well, yea, even those who dwell far off from the court and from this city.

27 See Herodotus in Thalia.

28 This place was before that part of the royal palace where the king resided. See Esther 5:1.

29 That is, the king’s irrevocable law. Or thus: there is one manner of law concerning that, namely, man or woman who does such. Compare Dan. 2:9.

30 See Esther 5:2.

31 Or, stretched out.

32 Or, remains alive. Hebr. may live.

12And they 33told to Mordecai Esther's words.

33 That is, made known.

13Then 34Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not 35with thyself that thou shalt escape 36in the king's house, more than all the Jews.

34 Or, Mordochai; as he is called here, but everywhere else Mordecai.

35 Or, in thy soul.

36 That is, because you are in the king’s house.

14For if thou 37altogether holdest thy peace 38at this time, then shall there 39enlargementa and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; 40but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom 41for such a time as this?

37 Hebr. be silent in silence.

38 Namely, since the Jews are in such a sad condition.

39 Hebr. breathing, drawing of breath. Compare Exod. 8:15; 1 Sam. 16:23.

a freedom, relief

40 He wants to say: If you in this extreme necessity shall show no compassion, nor afford any help to your country men and kindred, then surely the Lord shall punish this fearfulness and faintheartedness of yours.

41 He wants to say: Probably you would not have come to this royal dignity, unless God would have made use of you as an instrument whereby to deliver His people at this time.

15¶Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and 42fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink 43three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not 44according to the law: and 45if I perish, I perish.

42 She wants to say: In your fasts and prayers see that you are mindful of me before God, that He would give His blessing to the request and intercession which I shall make unto the king.

43 This fasting continued but two nights, one full day and two parts of days; for, on the third day Esther went in unto the king, Esther 5:1. See the like phrase Mat. 12:40, about Jonah’s abode in the belly of the whale and about Chris’s abode in the grave.

44 Whereof mention is made in verse 11.

45 It is as much as if Esther had said: I am willing to hazard my life, and to expose myself to danger of death for my people’s sake, expecting what God will give. A similar phrase also Jacob uses in Gen. 43:14. See the annotation there.

17So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.