Esther 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Mordecai Asks Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai ·heard [learned] about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on ·rough cloth [burlap; sackcloth] and ashes [C signs of grief or repentance], and went out into the city ·crying [wailing] loudly and ·painfully [bitterly]. 2 But Mordecai went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one was allowed to enter that gate dressed in ·rough cloth [burlap; sackcloth]. 3 As the king’s ·order [edict; decree] reached every area, there was great ·sadness and loud crying [mourning] among the Jews. They fasted and ·cried out loud [wept and wailed], and many of them lay down on ·rough cloth [burlap; sackcloth] and ashes [C signs of grief or repentance].
4 When Esther’s ·servant girls [maids; attendants] and eunuchs came to her and told her about Mordecai, she was ·very upset and afraid [deeply distressed; overcome with anguish]. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of the ·rough cloth [burlap; sackcloth], but he would not ·wear [accept] them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, 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, who was in the city square in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told Hathach everything that had happened to him, and he told Hathach about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasury for the ·killing [destruction] of the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave him a copy of the ·order [edict; decree] to ·kill [destroy] the Jews, which had been ·given [issued] in Susa. He wanted Hathach to show it to Esther and to ·tell her about [explain] it. And Mordecai told him to ·order [direct; instruct] Esther to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and to ·plead with [petition] him for her people.
9 Hathach went back and reported to Esther everything Mordecai had ·said [instructed]. 10 Then Esther told Hathach to tell Mordecai, 11 “All the ·royal officers [ministers; officials] and people of the ·royal [king’s] ·states [provinces] know that no man or woman may ·go [come] to the king in the inner courtyard ·without being called [uninvited]. ·There is [He has] only one law about this: Anyone who enters must be put to death unless the king holds out his gold scepter. Then that person may live. And I have not been ·called [summoned; invited] to go to the king for thirty days.”
12 Esther’s ·message [L words] was given to Mordecai. 13 Then Mordecai sent back ·word [this answer/reply] to Esther: “Just because you ·live in [are part of] the king’s ·palace [L house], don’t ·think [imagine] that out of all the Jews you alone will escape. 14 If you keep ·quiet [silent] at this time, ·someone else will help and save the Jews [liberation/relief and protection/deliverance for the Jews will arise/appear from another place], but you and your ·father’s family [relatives] will all die. And who knows, you may have ·been chosen queen [come to your royal position; L come to the kingdom] for just such a time as this.”
15 Then Esther sent this answer to Mordecai: 16 “Go and ·get [assemble] all the Jews in Susa together. ·For my sake [On my behalf], fast; do not eat or drink for three days, night ·and [or] day. I and my ·servant girls [maids; attendants] will also fast. 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 and did everything Esther had ·told [commanded; instructed] him to do.
Esther 4 New International Version (NIV)
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When 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. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 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.
4 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. 5 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.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 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. 8 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.
9 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.