Esther Promises to Intercede for Her People
4 1 Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, Mordecai tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and wailed loudly and a bitterly. 2 He came even before the king’s gate, for no one is allowed inside the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 In every province, wherever 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. 4 Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her this, and the queen was exceedingly grieved. She sent clothing to Mordecai, to replace his sackcloth; but he didn’t receive it.
5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai, to find out what this was, and why it was. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai, to city square which was before the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him of all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in Shushan to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to declare it to her, and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to make request before him, for her people. 9 Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, know, that whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner court without being called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except those to whom the king might hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.” 12 They told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 Then Mordecai asked them return answer to Esther, “Don’t think to yourself that you will escape in the king’s house any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. I and my maidens will also fast the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther Invites the King and Haman to a Banquet
5 1 Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, next to the king’s house. The king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the entrance of the house. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther came near, and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king asked her, “What would you like, queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you even to the half of the kingdom.” 4 Esther said, “If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that it may be done as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 The king said to Esther at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.” 7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and my request is this. 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king has said.”
9 Then Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart, but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he didn’t stand up nor move for him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself, and went home. There, he sent and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife. 11 Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, all the things in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Yes, Esther the queen let no man come in with the king to the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow I am also invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on it. Then go in merrily with the king to the banquet.” This pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
Haman Forced to Honor Mordecai
6 1 On that night, the king couldn’t sleep. He commanded the book of records of the chronicles to be brought, and they were read to the king. 2 It was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who were doorkeepers, who had tried to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus. 3 The king said, “What honor and dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?”
Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had come into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. 5 The king’s servants said to him, “Behold, Haman stands in the court.”
The king said, “Let him come in.” 6 So Haman came in. The king said to him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman said in his heart, “Who would the king delight to honor more than myself?” 7 Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal clothing be brought which the king uses to wear, and the horse that the king rides on, and on the head of which a crown royal is set. 9 Let the clothing and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man whom the king delights to honor with them, and have him ride on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’” 10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry and take the clothing and the horse, as you have said, and do this for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken.” 11 Then Haman took the clothing and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and had him ride through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”
12 Mordecai came back to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and having his head covered. 13 Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him, but you will surely fall before him.” 14 While they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hurried to bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.