When Mordecai learned what had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.
He stood outside the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter while wearing clothes of mourning.
And as news of the king's decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in sackcloth and ashes.
When Queen Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was deeply distressed. She sent clothing to him to replace the sackcloth, but he refused it.
Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs who had been appointed as her attendant. She ordered him to go to Mordecai and find out what was troubling him and why he was in mourning.
So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the square in front of the palace gate.
Mordecai told him the whole story and told him how much money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.
Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews, and he asked Hathach to show it to Esther. He also asked Hathach to explain it to her and to urge her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people.
So Hathach returned to Esther with Mordecai's message.
Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai:
"The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him in more than a month."
So Hathach gave Esther's message to Mordecai.
Mordecai sent back this reply to Esther: "Don't think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed.
If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?"
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:
"Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I am willing to die."
So Mordecai went away and did as Esther told him.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)