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;
Cry — To express his deep sense of the mischief coming upon his people. It was bravely done, thus publickly to espouse a just cause though it seemed to be a desperate one.
 And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
Sackcloth — Lest it should give the king any occasion of grief and trouble. But what availed, to keep out the badges of sorrow unless they could have kept out the causes of sorrow too? To forbid sackcloth to enter unless they could likewise forbid sickness, and trouble, and death?
 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.
To clothe — That so he might be capable of returning to his former place, if not of coming to her to acquaint her with the cause of his sorrow.
 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.
Inner court — Within which, the king's residence and throne was.
Not called — This was decreed, to maintain both the majesty, and the safety of the king's person; and by the contrivance of the greater officers of state, that few or none might have access to the king but themselves and their friends.
I have not been called, … — Which gives me just cause to fear that the king's affections are alienated from me, and that neither my person nor petition will be acceptable to him.
 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?
From another place — This was the language of strong faith, against hope believing in hope.
Who knoweth — It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season. We should every one of us consider, for what end God has put us in the place where we are? And when an opportunity offers of serving God and our generation, we must take care not to let it slip.
 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.
Fast — And pray; so as you use to do, leave off your common dinners by day, and suppers at night, and eat and drink no more than mere necessity requires; that so you may give yourselves to constant and fervent prayers.
Maidens — Which she had chosen to attend upon her person, and were doubtless either of the Jewish nation, or Proselytes.
Which is not, … — Which may belong, either 1. to the thing only, that as they did fast, so she would. Or, rather, 2. to the time of three days and three nights; for so she might do, though she went to the king on the third day. For the fast began at evening, and so she might continue her fast three whole nights, and two whole days, and the greatest part of the third; a part of a day being reputed a day in the account of scripture, and other authors: of which see on Matthew 12:40. Yea, she might fast all that day too: for it is probable she went not to the king 'till he had dined; when she supposed she might find him in the most mild and pleasant humour, and then returned to her apartment, where she fasted 'till the evening.