1 Mordecai heard about all that had been done. When he heard about the king’s commands against the Jews, he tore his clothes. Then he put on clothes of sadness and put ashes on his head. Then he went out into the city crying loudly. 2 But Mordecai went only as far as the king’s gate. No one was allowed to enter that gate dressed in clothes of sadness. 3 In every province where the king’s command had come, there was much crying and sadness among the Jews. They were fasting and crying loudly. Many Jews were lying on the ground dressed in clothes of sadness with ashes on their heads. 4 Esther’s women servants and eunuchs came to her and told her about Mordecai. That made Queen Esther very sad and upset. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of the clothes of sadness. But he would not accept those clothes. 5 Then Esther called Hathach. Hathach was one of the king’s eunuchs that had been chosen to serve her. Esther commanded him to find out what was bothering Mordecai, and why. 6 So Hathach went out to where Mordecai was in the open place of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Then Mordecai told Hathach everything that had happened to him. Mordecai told him about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to put into the king’s treasury for killing Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave Hathach a copy of the king’s command to kill the Jews. That command had been sent out all over the city of Susa. He wanted Hathach to show it to Esther and tell her everything. And he told him to encourage Esther to go to the king and beg him for mercy for Mordecai and her people. 9 Hathach went back and told Esther everything Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther told Hathach to say this to Mordecai: 11 “Mordecai, all the king’s leaders and all the people of the king’s provinces know this: The king has one law for any man or woman that goes to the king without being called. He must be put to death. The only way this law is not carried out is if the king puts out his gold scepter to the person. If the king does that, then that person’s life will be saved. And I have not been called to go see the king for 30 days.” 12 - 13 Then Esther’s message was given to Mordecai. When Mordecai got her message, he sent his answer back: “Esther, don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you will be the only Jew to escape. 14 If you keep quiet now, help and freedom for the Jews will come from another place. But you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, maybe you have been chosen to be the queen for such a time as this?” 15 - 16 Then Esther sent this answer to Mordecai: “Mordecai, go and get all the Jews in Susa together, and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. I will fast like you, and my girl servants will fast, too. After we fast, I will go to the king. I know it is against the law to go to the king if he didn’t call me, but I will do it anyway. If I die, I die.” 17 So Mordecai went away. He did everything Esther told him to do.