The Story of Esther

Chapter 4

The great mourning of Mordecai and the Jews, 1-3. Esther, understanding it, sends to Mordecai, who tells the cause and advises her to undertake the appeal, 4-9. She, excusing herself, is threatened by Mordecai, 10-14. She, appointing a fast, undertakes the appeal, 15-17.

1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and cried with a loud and bitter cry, 2 And came even before the king's gate, for no one might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province wherever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, weeping, and wailing. And many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4 So Esther's attendants and her chamberlains came and told it to her. Then the queen was exceedingly grieved, and she sent clothing to clothe Mordecai and to take away his sackcloth from him, but he did not receive it. 5 Then Esther called for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was and why it was. 6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai to the street of the city, which was before the king's gate. 7 And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them to show it to Esther, to declare it to her, and to charge her that she should go before the king to make supplication to him and to make request before him for her people.

9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Again, Esther spoke to Hatach and gave him commandment to say to Mordecai, 11 "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces know that whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner court who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except him to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But I have not been called to come before the king these thirty days." 12 And they told Esther's words to Mordecai.

13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, "Do not think to yourself that you shall escape in the king's house more than all the Jews. 14 For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then enlargement and deliverance will arise to the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

15 Then Esther told them to return Mordecai this answer: 16 "Go, assemble all the Jews who are present in Shushan and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. I also and my attendants will fast likewise. And so I will go before the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish." 17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Esther, Chapter 4[➚]


[v.17] - The Greek Septuagint contains extra text after verse 17 which contains a prayer from Mordecai and a prayer from Esther. You can read the text in this article.