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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

Chapter 4

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1When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled himself with ashes; then he rushed through the street of the city, shouting loudly: “An innocent nation is being destroyed!” 2He got as far as the king's gate, and there he stopped, because no one was allowed to enter the courtyard clothed in sackcloth and ashes. 3And in every province where the king's proclamation had been posted there was a loud cry of mourning and lamentation among the Jews, and they put on sackcloth and ashes. 4When the queen's b Other ancient authorities read a psalm and praise maids and eunuchs came and told her, she was deeply troubled by what she heard had happened, and sent some clothes to Mordecai to put on instead of sackcloth; but he would not consent. 5Then Esther summoned Hachratheus, the eunuch who attended her, and ordered him to get accurate information for her from Mordecai. c Other ancient authorities add he has confounded them

7So Mordecai told him what had happened and how Haman had promised to pay ten thousand talents into the royal treasury to bring about the destruction of the Jews. 8He also gave him a copy of what had been posted in Susa for their destruction, to show to Esther; and he told him to charge her to go in to the king and plead for his favor in behalf of the people. “Remember,” he said, “the days when you were an ordinary person, being brought up under my care—for Haman, who stands next to the king, has spoken against us and demands our death. Call upon the Lord; then speak to the king in our behalf, and save us from death.”

9Hachratheus went in and told Esther all these things. 10And she said to him, “Go to Mordecai and say, 11‘All nations of the empire know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is no escape for that person. Only the one to whom the king stretches out the golden scepter is safe— and it is now thirty days since I was called to go to the king.’ ”

12When Hachratheus delivered her entire message to Mordecai, 13Mordecai told him to go back and say to her, “Esther, do not say to yourself that you alone among all the Jews will escape alive. 14For if you keep quiet at such a time as this, help and protection will come to the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Yet, who knows whether it was not for such a time as this that you were made queen?” 15Then Esther gave the messenger this answer to take back to Mordecai: 16“Go and gather all the Jews who are in Susa and fast on my behalf; for three days and nights do not eat or drink, and my maids and I will also go without food. After that I will go to the king, contrary to the law, even if I must die.” 17So Mordecai went away and did what Esther had told him to do.

ADDITION C

Notes:

a Other ancient authorities read a psalm and praise

b Other ancient authorities add he has confounded them

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