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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 a bitter cry;

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

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

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

5 Then called Esther 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 unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.

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

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

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

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

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

12 And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.

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

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

15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto 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.

Commentary for Esther 4

The Jews lament their danger. (1-4) Esther undertakes to plead for the Jews. (5-17)

1-4 Mordecai avowed his relation to the Jews. Public calamities, that oppress the church of God, should affect our hearts more than any private affliction, and it is peculiarly distressing to occasion sufferings to others. God will keep those that are exposed to evil by the tenderness of their consciences.

5-17 We are prone to shrink from services that are attended with peril or loss. But when the cause of Christ and his people demand it, we must take up our cross, and follow him. When Christians are disposed to consult their own ease or safety, rather than the public good, they should be blamed. The law was express, all knew it. It is not thus in the court of the King of kings: to the footstool of his throne of grace we may always come boldly, and may be sure of an answer of peace to the prayer of faith. We are welcome, even into the holiest, through the blood of Jesus. Providence so ordered it, that, just then, the king's affections had cooled toward Esther; her faith and courage thereby were the more tried; and God's goodness in the favour she now found with the king, thereby shone the brighter. Haman no doubt did what he could to set the king against her. Mordecai suggests, that it was a cause which, one way or other, would certainly be carried, and which therefore she might safely venture in. This was the language of strong faith, which staggered not at the promise when the danger was most threatening, but against hope believed in hope. He that by sinful devices will save his life, and will not trust God with it in the way of duty, shall lose it in the way of sin. Divine Providence had regard to this matter, in bringing Esther to be queen. Therefore thou art bound in gratitude to do this service for God and his church, else thou dost not answer the end of thy being raised up. There is wise counsel and design in all the providences of God, which will prove that they are all intended for the good of the church. We should, every one, consider for what end God has put us in the place where we are, and study to answer that end: and take care that we do not let it slip. Having solemnly commended our souls and our cause to God, we may venture upon his service. All dangers are trifling compared with the danger of losing our souls. But the trembling sinner is often as much afraid of casting himself, without reserve, upon the Lord's free mercy, as Esther was of coming before the king. Let him venture, as she did, with earnest prayer and supplication, and he shall fare as well and better than she did. The cause of God must prevail: we are safe in being united to it.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Esther 4

  • Gregory on Esther 4
    It is often pointed out the book of Esther never mentions God or prayer insinuating that the Jews were not close to God. But in ch4: 1- 3 Mordecai and the Jews put on sack clothe and ashes, weeping, wailing, and fasted. All of these Old Testiment Jewish practices used to appeal to the God of Israel for help. Esther herself fasted 3 days before addressing the king regarding the plight of her Jewish kindred. Who do you think they all were seeking help from? It becomes obvious that God was very much part of their Jewish life. If not stated in words, then clearly implied.
  • Chris - in Reply on Esther 4
    Gregory, you are correct that God's Name is not mentioned in the Book of Esther. And of course, the Jews, as in any era of their history, had some who obeyed God & others who didn't. However, you are correct in your observations by reading through the Book, that the evidence of God's Plan was very evident & being performed & His people were ultimately freed from their enemies (Esther 9:22).
  • Frances on Esther 4:11
    How explain to Catholics that communion is NOT eating n drinking Jesus' body and blood I have shown In 6:63 flesh profit nothing, my words are spirit
  • Ivy Johnson on Esther 4
    What happened with Queen Esther, Haman’s plan to Obliterate Jewish Nation. Hitler: The more things change; the more they stay the same; at present much worse. Nations: Kingdoms: Organizations: Cults: Movements: you name it are all plotting to do same, and even worse to the Jewish Nation. God and Israel’s enemies determined to make plans work. Israel no PEACE for Centuries: Why Israel? GODS CHOSEN!
  • BSP on Esther 4
    Verse 13~Mordecai told Esther that just because she was the queen did not mean that she would escape. This matter meant life or death for Esther and all the Jews. Esther could use her royal position as a way to plead in behalf of her people.
  • BSP on Esther 4
    Verse 16~Esther gave her word that she would go into the king. Esther kept her word and as a result she saved herself and her people.
  • Queen on Esther 4
    Esther Was a Courageous woman of God! She had No doubt what our God can do! Sadly to say many dont believe or have the Faith to Be Strong, because they dont know God's WORD! GOD gives favor! She fasted and Prayed and God Answered! Its not being taught from the pulpit, People are not being discipled...Joshua said several time "Be Courageous..."
  • Kurt on Esther 4
    We have a commandment to stand up, like Ester, for our persecuted family of believers. Go on missions to poor countries, helping Christians. May the USA again, be one nation under God, ready to cease evil slaughter of Christians. What shall God think and do if we stand idle as our brothers die? May God unite our country under his guidance, Amen. Kurt.
  • Edith chingorom. on Esther 4
    Esther 4. Was a Challenges to me and all Christian woman in taking decision . We should not give up when challenges come on our way.
  • Cynthia Johnson on Esther 4
    She was a good woman ad a fight woman and she was determine to do what she need to do for her husband .She was not afraid but she knew what could have happen to her but she say I still going to fight her battle .Esther going to stand up for the man that helps her do good


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What did Mordecai do when he heard of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) decree to kill all the Jews?
  • He fled
  • He plotted against the King
  • He put on sackcloth and ashes
  • He went home