1 When Mordecai learned what had been done, he tore his clothes in anguish. Then he dressed in sackcloth, covered his head with ashes, and walked through the city, wailing loudly and bitterly,
2 until he came to the entrance of the palace. He did not go in because no one wearing sackcloth was allowed inside.
3 Throughout all the provinces, wherever the king's proclamation was made known, there was loud mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, wailed, and most of them put on sackcloth and lay in ashes.
4 Esther's women and her servants came and gave her word of it. The queens grief was great indeed. She sent robes for Mordecai, so that his clothing of haircloth might be taken off; but he would not wear them.
5 Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs whom he had given her to wait on her. She gave him orders to go to Mordecai and see what this was and why it was.
6 So Hathach went out and saw Mordecai in the open square of the town before the king's gate.
7 Mordecai gave him an account of what had taken place. He told about the amount of money that Haman said he would put in the king's store for the destruction of the Jews.
8 He gave him the copy of the order that was given in Shushan for their destruction. He ordered him to let Esther see it, and to make it clear to her. To say to her that she was to go in to the king to request his mercy and make prayer for her people.
9 Hathach returned and gave Esther an account of what Mordecai said.
10 Then Esther sent Hathach to say to Mordecai:
11 »It is common knowledge among all the king's servants and the people of every part of the kingdom, that if anyone, man or woman, comes to the king in his inner room without being sent for, there is only one law for him, that he is to be put to death. Only those to whom the king's rod of gold is stretched out may keep their lives. I have not been sent for to come before the king in the past thirty days.«
12 They conveyed this message to Mordecai.
13 Mordecai sent this answer back to Esther: »Do not have the idea that you in the king's house will be safe from the fate of all the Jews.
14 »If at this time you say nothing. Then help and salvation will come to the Jews from some other place. But you and your father's family will come to destruction. Who is to say that you have not come to the kingdom even for such a time as this?«
15 Esther sent them back to Mordecai with this answer:
16 »Go assemble all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me. Take no food or drink night or day for three days. My women and I will do the same. Then I will go in to the king even though it is against the law. If death is to be my fate, then let it come.«
17 So Mordecai went away and did everything that Esther said.