Esther 4

1 Now when Mordecai saw what was done, pulling off his robe, he put on haircloth, with dust on his head, and went out into the middle of the town, crying out with a loud and bitter cry.
2 And he came even before the king's doorway; for no one might come inside the king's door clothed in haircloth.
3 And in every part of the kingdom, wherever the king's word and his order came, there was great sorrow among the Jews, and weeping and crying and going without food; and numbers of them were stretched on the earth covered with dust and haircloth.
4 And Esther's women and her servants came and gave her word of it. Then great was the grief of the queen: and she sent robes for Mordecai, so that his clothing of haircloth might be taken off; but he would not have them.
5 Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king's unsexed servants whom he had given her for waiting on her, and she gave him orders to go to Mordecai and see what this was and why it was.
6 So Hathach went out and saw Mordecai in the open square of the town before the king's doorway.
7 And Mordecai gave him an account of what had taken place, and of the amount of money which Haman had said he would put into the king's store for the destruction of the Jews.
8 And he gave him the copy of the order which had been given out in Shushan for their destruction, ordering him to let Esther see it, and to make it clear to her; and to say to her that she was to go in to the king, requesting his mercy, and making prayer for her people.
9 And Hathach came back and gave Esther an account of what Mordecai had said.
10 Then Esther sent Hathach to say to Mordecai:
11 It is common knowledge among all the king's servants and the people of every part of the kingdom, that if anyone, man or woman, comes to the king in his inner room without being sent for, there is only one law for him, that he is to be put to death; only those to whom the king's rod of gold is stretched out may keep their lives: but I have not been sent for to come before the king these thirty days.
12 And they said these words to Mordecai.
13 Then Mordecai sent this answer back to Esther: Do not have the idea that you in the king's house will be safe from the fate of all the Jews.
14 If at this time you say nothing, then help and salvation will come to the Jews from some other place, but you and your father's family will come to destruction: and who is to say that you have not come to the kingdom even for such a time as this?
15 Then Esther sent them back to Mordecai with this answer:
16 Go, get together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and go without food for me, taking no food or drink night or day for three days: and I and my women will do the same; and so I will go in to the king, which is against the law: and if death is to be my fate, then let it come.
17 So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had said.

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Esther 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

The Jews lament their danger. (1-4) Esther undertakes to plead for the Jews. (5-17)

Verses 1-4 Mordecai avowed his relation to the Jews. Public calamities, that oppress the church of God, should affect our hearts more than any private affliction, and it is peculiarly distressing to occasion sufferings to others. God will keep those that are exposed to evil by the tenderness of their consciences.

Verses 5-17 We are prone to shrink from services that are attended with peril or loss. But when the cause of Christ and his people demand it, we must take up our cross, and follow him. When Christians are disposed to consult their own ease or safety, rather than the public good, they should be blamed. The law was express, all knew it. It is not thus in the court of the King of kings: to the footstool of his throne of grace we may always come boldly, and may be sure of an answer of peace to the prayer of faith. We are welcome, even into the holiest, through the blood of Jesus. Providence so ordered it, that, just then, the king's affections had cooled toward Esther; her faith and courage thereby were the more tried; and God's goodness in the favour she now found with the king, thereby shone the brighter. Haman no doubt did what he could to set the king against her. Mordecai suggests, that it was a cause which, one way or other, would certainly be carried, and which therefore she might safely venture in. This was the language of strong faith, which staggered not at the promise when the danger was most threatening, but against hope believed in hope. He that by sinful devices will save his life, and will not trust God with it in the way of duty, shall lose it in the way of sin. Divine Providence had regard to this matter, in bringing Esther to be queen. Therefore thou art bound in gratitude to do this service for God and his church, else thou dost not answer the end of thy being raised up. There is wise counsel and design in all the providences of God, which will prove that they are all intended for the good of the church. We should, every one, consider for what end God has put us in the place where we are, and study to answer that end: and take care that we do not let it slip. Having solemnly commended our souls and our cause to God, we may venture upon his service. All dangers are trifling compared with the danger of losing our souls. But the trembling sinner is often as much afraid of casting himself, without reserve, upon the Lord's free mercy, as Esther was of coming before the king. Let him venture, as she did, with earnest prayer and supplication, and he shall fare as well and better than she did. The cause of God must prevail: we are safe in being united to it.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER 4

This chapter relates the mourning of Mordecai, and of the Jews in every province, on account of the edict to destroy them, Es 4:1-3, the information Esther had of it, and what passed between her and Mordecai, through Hatach, a chamberlain, by whom he put her upon making a request to the king in their favour, Es 4:4-8, to which she at first objected, because of a law in Persia which forbids any to come to the king unless called, Es 4:9-12, but being pressed to it by Mordecai, she agreed, and ordered a general fast among the Jews, Es 4:13-17.

Esther 4 Commentaries