When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Mordecai gave every demonstration of the most poignant grief. Nor did he hide this from the city; and the Greek says that he uttered these words aloud: [Airetai ethnos meden edikekos] "A people is going to be destroyed who have done no evil."
And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
in every province
It cannot reasonably be doubted, that the mournings, fastings, and weepings of the Jews were attended by constant prayers and supplications; though all mention of them, and of the glorious God whom they worshipped, seems to have been studiously avoided.
many lay in sackcloth and ashes
Heb. sackcloth and ashes were laid under many.
So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
but he received it not
Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
appointed to attend upon her
Heb. set before her.
So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.
the king said
And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
all that had
Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.
to make supplication
All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
Herodotus informs us, that ever since the reign of Deioces, king of Media, for the security of the king's person, it was enacted that no one should be admitted into his presence; but that if any one had business with him, he should transact it through the medium of his ministers.
the inner court
the king shall
the golden sceptre
That the kings of Persia carried a golden sceptre, we have the following proof in Xenophon: [Hoti ou tode to chrysoun skeptron to men basileian diasozon estin, all hoi pistoi philoi skeptron basileusin alethestaton kai asphalestaton.] "It is not (said Cyrus to his son Cambyses) the golden sceptre that saves the kingdom; but faithful friends are the truest and best sceptre of the kingdom."
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
for such a time
1 Samuel 17:29 2 Kings 19:3 Nehemiah 6:11 The fact related in this verse was unquestionably the reason why Esther was raised to regal honours, by the overruling providence of God: she was therefore bound in gratitude to do this service for God, else she would not have answered the end of her elevation: and she need not fear the miscarriage of the enterprise, for if God designed her for it, he would surely bear her through and give success. It appeared by the event that Mordecai spoke prophetically, when he modestly conjectured that Esther came to the kingdom that she might be the instrument of the Jews' deliverance. Mordecai thoroughly believed that it was a cause which one way or other would certainly be carried, and which, therefore, she might safely venture upon. Instruments might fail, but God's covenant cannot. There is a wise design in all the providences of God, which is unknown to us till it is accomplished; but it will prove in the issue that all is intended for and centre in the good of those who trust in Him.
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Heb. found. fast.
eat nor drink
if I perish
If I lose my life in the attempt to save my people, I shall lose it cheerfully. I see it is my duty to make the attempt; and, come what will, I am resolved to do it.
So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.