SCRIPTURE: Esther 3:2-12, 4:1-16, Common English Bible
3 2 All the royal workers at the King’s Gate would kneel and bow facedown to Haman (who had been appointed over them) because the king had so ordered.
But Mordecai (a Jew faithful to Yahweh) didn’t kneel or bow down.
5 When Haman himself saw that Mordecai didn’t kneel or bow down to him, he became very angry. 6 But he decided not to kill only Mordecai, for people had told him Mordecai’s race. Instead, he planned to wipe out all the Jews, Mordecai’s people, throughout the whole kingdom…. 8 Then Haman said to the King, “A certain group of people exist in pockets among the other peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of everyone else, and they refuse to obey the king’s laws. There’s no good reason for the king to put up with them any longer. 9 If the king wishes, let a written order be sent out to destroy them, and I will hand over their… silver to… the king’s treasuries.”
10 The king removed his royal ring from his finger and handed it to Haman…. 11 “Both the money and the people are under your power. Do as you like with them.”
12 So in the first month, on the thirteenth day, royal scribes were summoned to write down everything that Haman ordered…. The order commanded people to wipe out, kill, and destroy all the Jews …. They were also to seize their property (to begin on a specific day in the near future.)….
4 When Mordecai learned what had been done, he tore his clothes, dressed in mourning clothes, and put ashes on his head. Then he went out into the heart of the city and cried out loudly and bitterly…. 3 At the same time, in every province and place where the king’s order and his new law arrived, a very great sadness came over the Jews. They gave up eating and spent whole days weeping and crying out loudly in pain. Many Jews lay on the ground in mourning clothes and ashes.
4 When Esther’s female servants and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, the queen’s whole body showed how upset she was. She sent everyday clothes for Mordecai to wear instead of
mourning clothes, but he rejected them.
5 Esther then sent for Hathach, one of the royal eunuchs whose job it was to wait on her. She ordered him to go to Mordecai and find out what was going on….
7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He spelled out the exact amount of silver that Haman promised to pay into the royal treasury. It was in exchange for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave Hathach a copy of the law made public in Susa concerning the Jews’ destruction so that Hathach could show it to Esther and report it to her. Through him Mordecai ordered her to go to the king to seek his kindness and his help for her people. 9 Hathach came back and told Esther what Mordecai had said.
10 In reply Esther ordered Hathach to tell Mordecai: 11 “…Any man or woman who comes to the
king in the inner courtyard without being called is to be put to death…. I haven’t been called to
come to the king for the past thirty days.”
12 When they told Mordecai Esther’s words, 13 he had them respond to Esther: “Don’t think for one minute that, unlike all the other Jews, you’ll come out of this alive simply because you are in the palace. 14 In fact, if you don’t speak up at this very important time, relief and rescue will appear for the Jews from another place, but you and your family will die. But who knows? Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family.”
15 Esther sent back this word to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are in Susa and tell them to give up eating to help me be brave. They aren’t to eat or drink anything for three whole days, and I myself will do the same, along with my female servants. Then, even though it’s against the law, I will go to the king; and if I am to die, then die I will.”