1. When Mordecai learned what had happened, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth and ashes. Then he walked into the centre of the city, wailing loudly and bitterly,
2. until he arrived in front of the Chancellery, which no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter.
3. And in every province, no sooner had the royal command and edict arrived, than among the Jews there was great mourning, fasting, weeping and wailing, and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.
4. When Queen Esther's maids and officers came and told her, she was overcome with grief. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he refused them.
5. Esther then summoned Hathach, an officer whom the king had appointed to wait on her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai and enquire what the matter was and why he was acting in this way.
6. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square in front of the Chancellery,
7. and Mordecai told him what had happened to him personally, and also about the sum of money which Haman had offered to pay into the royal treasury to procure the destruction of the Jews.
8. He also gave him a copy of the edict of extermination published in Susa for him to show Esther for her information, with the message that she was to go to the king and implore his favour and plead with him for the race to which she belonged.
9. Hathach came back and told Esther what Mordecai had said;
10. and she replied with the following message for Mordecai,
11. 'Royal officials and people living in the provinces alike all know that for anyone, man or woman, who approaches the king in the private apartments without having been summoned there, there is only one law: he must die, unless the king, by pointing his golden sceptre towards him, grants him his life. And I have not been summoned to the king for the last thirty days.'
12. These words of Esther were reported to Mordecai,
13. who sent back the following reply, 'Do not suppose that, because you are in the king's palace, you are going to be the one Jew to escape.
14. No; if you persist in remaining silent at such a time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, but both you and your father's whole family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to the throne for just such a time as this.'
15. Whereupon Esther sent this reply to Mordecai,
16. 'Go and assemble all the Jews now in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink day or night for three days. For my part, I and my waiting-women shall keep the same fast, after which I shall go to the king in spite of the law; and if I perish, I perish.'
17. Mordecai went away and carried out Esther's instructions.