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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 4

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<i>1</i> WHEN Mardochaeus learnt of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled himself with ashes. He rushed out through the city square, crying loudly: ‘A nation that has committed no crime is being destroyed.’ <i>2</i>He went right up to the palace gate, and there he halted, because no one wearing sackcloth and ashes was allowed to enter the courtyard. <i>3</i>In every province where the king's decree was posted up, there was a great cry of mourning and lamentation among the Jews, and they put on sackcloth and ashes. <i>4</i>When the queen's maids and eunuchs came in and told her, she was distraught at what she heard. She sent clothes for Mardochaeus and urged him to put off his sackcloth, but he refused. <i>5</i>Esther then summoned Hachrathaeus, the eunuch who waited upon her, and sent him to Mardochaeus to obtain accurate information for her a [4:5] information for her: some witnesses add 6 So he went out to Mardochaeus in the square opposite the city gate. . <i>7</i>Mardochaeus told him all that had happened, and how Haman had promised the king to pay ten thousand talents into the treasury to bring about the destruction of the Jews. <i>8</i>He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction which had been posted up in Susa, that he might show it to Esther; and he told him to bid her go to the king to implore his favour and intercede for her people. ‘Say to her,’ he added, ‘ “Do not forget your humble origins and your upbringing in my house. Because Haman, who stands next to the king, has spoken against us and demanded our death, call on the Lord, and then speak to the king on our behalf and save our lives.”’ <i>9</i>When Hachrathaeus came in and told Esther all Mardochaeus had said, <i>10</i>she bade him take back this message: <i>11</i>‘Every nation in the kingdom knows that there is no hope for any person, man or woman, who enters the king's presence in the inner court without being summoned; only one to whom the king holds out the gold sceptre is spared. Further, I have not been summoned to go to the king these thirty days.’

<i>12</i>When Hachrathaeus delivered Esther's message, <i>13</i>Mardochaeus sent this reply: ‘Do not imagine, Esther, that of all the Jews in the kingdom you alone will be safe. <i>14</i>If you remain silent at such a time as this, relief and deliverance for the Jews will come from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows whether it is not for a time like this that you have become queen?’ <i>15</i>Esther gave the messenger this answer to take back to Mardochaeus: <i>16</i>‘Go and assemble the Jews that are in Susa and hold a fast for me; for three days, night and day, take neither food nor drink, and I and my maids shall also fast. After that, in defiance of the law, I shall go to the king, even if it costs me my life.’ <i>17</i>Mardochaeus then went away and did everything Esther had bidden him.]

Notes:

b [4:5] information for her: some witnesses add 6 So he went out to Mardochaeus in the square opposite the city gate.

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