1 But Mordecai, having perceived what was done, tore his garments, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled dust upon himself. Having rushed forth through the open street of the city, he cried with a loud voice, “A nation that has done no wrong is going to be destroyed!” 2 He came to the king’s gate, and stood; for it was not lawful for him to enter into the palace wearing sackcloth and ashes.3 And in every province where the letters were published, there was crying, lamentation, and great mourning on the part of the Jews. They wore sackcloth and ashes. 4 The queen’s maids and chamberlains went in and told her; and when she had heard what was done, she was disturbed. She sent to clothe Mordecai, and take away his sackcloth; but he refused. 5 So Esther called for her chamberlain Hathach, who waited upon her; and she sent to learn the truth from Mordecai.7 Mordecai showed him what was done, and the promise which Haman had made the king of ten thousand talents to be paid into the treasury, that he might destroy the Jews. 8 And he gave him the copy of what was published in Susa concerning their destruction to show to Esther; and told him to charge her to go in and entreat the king, and to beg him for the people. “Remember, he said, the days of your humble condition, how you were nursed by my hand; because Haman who holds the next place to the king has spoken against us for death. Call upon the Lord, and speak to the king concerning us, to deliver us from death.”
9 So Hathach went in and told her all these words. 10 Esther said to Hathach, “Go to Mordecai, and say, 11 ‘All the nations of the empire know than any man or woman who goes in to the king into the inner court without being called, that person can’t live; except to whomever the king stretches out his golden sceptre, he shall live. I haven’t been called to go into the king for thirty days.’ ”
12 So Hathach reported to Mordecai all the words of Esther. 13 Then Mordecai said to Hathach, “Go, and say to her, ‘Esther, don’t say to yourself that you alone will escape in the kingdom, more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you refuse to listen on this occasion, help and protection will come to the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows if you have been made queen for this occasion?’ ”
15 And Esther sent the man that came to her to Mordecai, saying, 16 “Go and assemble the Jews that are in Susa, and all of you fast for me, and don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. My maidens and I will also fast. Then I will go in to the king contrary to the law, even if I must die.”
17 So Mordecai went and did all that Esther commanded him.* 18 [He prayed to the Lord, making mention of all the works of the Lord. 19 He said, “Lord†God, you are king ruling over all, for all things are in your power, and there is no one who can oppose you in your purpose to save Israel; 20 for you have made the heaven and the earth and every wonderful thing under heaven.21 You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, Lord. 22 You know all things. You know, Lord, that it is not in insolence, nor arrogance, nor love of glory, that I have done this, to refuse to bow down to the arrogant Haman. 23 For I would gladly have kissed the soles of his feet for the safety of Israel. 24 But I have done this that I might not set the glory of man above the glory of God. I will not worship anyone except you, my Lord, and I will not do these things in arrogance. 25 And now, O Lord God, the King, the God of Abraham, spare your people, for our enemies are planning our destruction, and they have desired to destroy your ancient inheritance.26 Do not overlook your people, whom you have redeemed for yourself out of the land of Egypt. 27 Listen to my prayer. Have mercy on your inheritance and turn our mourning into gladness, that we may live and sing praise to your name, O Lord. Don’t utterly destroy the mouth of those who praise you, O Lord.”
28 All Israel cried with all their might, for death was before their eyes.29 And queen Esther took refuge in the Lord, being taken as it were in the agony of death. 30 Having taken off her glorious apparel, she put on garments of distress and mourning. Instead of grand perfumes she filled her head with ashes and dung. She greatly brought down her body, and she filled every place of her glad adorning with her tangled hair.31 She implored the Lord God of Israel, and said, “O my Lord, you alone are our king. Help me. I am destitute, and have no helper but you, 32 for my danger is‡near at hand. 33 I have heard from my birth, in the tribe of my kindred that you, Lord, took Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers out of all their kindred for a perpetual inheritance, and have done for them all that you have said. 34 And now we have sinned before you, and you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies, 35 because we honored their gods. You are righteous, O Lord. 36 But now they have not been content with the bitterness of our slavery, but have laid their hands on the hands of their idols 37 to abolish the decree of your mouth, and utterly to destroy your inheritance, and to stop the mouth of those who praise you, and to extinguish the glory of your house and your alter, 38 and to open the mouth of the Gentiles to speak the§ praises of vanities, and that a mortal king should be admired forever. 39 O Lord, don’t resign your sceptre to them that are not, and don’t let them laugh at our fall, but turn their counsel against themselves, and make an example of him who has* begun to injure us.40 Remember us, O Lord, manifest yourself in the time of our affliction. Encourage me, O King of gods, and ruler of all dominion! 41 Put harmonious speech into my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate him who fights against us, to the utter destruction of him who agrees with him. 42 But deliver us by your hand, and help me who am destitute, and have none but you, O Lord. 43 You know all things, and know that I hate the†glory of transgressors, and that I abhor the couch of the uncircumcised, and of every stranger. 44 You know my necessity, for I abhor the symbol of my proud station, which is upon my head in the days of my‡ splendor. I abhor it as a menstruous cloth, and I don’t wear it in the days of my tranquility. 45 Your handmaid has not eaten at Haman’s table, and I have not honored the banquet of the king, neither have I drunk wine of libations. 46 Neither has your handmaid rejoiced since the day of my promotion until now, except in you, O Lord God of Abraham. 47 O god, who has power over all, listen to the voice of the desperate, and deliver us from the hand of those who devise mischief. Deliver me from my fear.]
*4:17 Note: The part between brackets, i.e. to the end of chap. iv. is not in the Hebrew
†4:19 See 3 Kings 8.53. Note.
‡4:32 Greek in my hand.
§4:38 Greek virtues.
*4:39 Greek begun against us.
†4:43 Or, opinion.
‡4:44 Greek vision.