A crisis for the Jews

1 When Mordecai learned what was going on, he tore his clothes, dressed in mourning clothes, and put ashes on his head. Then he went out into the heart of the city and cried out loudly, "An innocent nation is being destroyed."
2 He went only as far as the king's gate and stood there because it was against the law for anyone to pass through it wearing mourning clothes and ashes.
3 In every region wherever the orders were posted, the Jews gave themselves over to crying and wailing out loud. They clothed themselves in mourning clothes and ashes.
4 When Esther's female servants and eunuchs came and told her, the queen was noticeably shaken after hearing the news. She sent someone to clothe Mordecai in regular clothes instead of mourning clothes, but he couldn't be persuaded.
5 Esther then sent for Hathach the royal eunuch who served her. She sent him to discover from Mordecai what was going on.
7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened, how Haman had promised to contribute ten thousand sacks of silver to the royal treasury in exchange for the destruction of the Jews.
8 He also gave Hathach a copy of the king's order made public in Susa concerning the Jews' destruction so that Hathach could show it to Esther. Through him, Mordecai ordered her to go to the king to beg his help for her people: "Remember your more humble days when I raised you. Haman, a leader second to the king, has spoken against us to put us to death. Call on the Lord now and speak to the king about us. Deliver us from death!"
9 Hathach came back and told Esther what Mordecai had said.
10 In reply Esther ordered Hathach to tell Mordecai:
11 "All the nations of the empire know that there is no deliverance for the man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without an invitation. Only the person to whom the king holds out the gold scepter will be safe. In my case, I haven't been called to come to the king for the past thirty days."
12 When Hathach told Esther's words to Mordecai,
13 he responded, "Go and tell Esther, ‘Don't think for one minute that, unlike all the other Jews, you alone will be safe.
14 If you don't speak up at this very important time, relief and protection will appear for the Jews from another place, but you and your family will die. Who knows? Maybe it was for a moment like this that you were made queen.'"
15 Esther sent back word to Mordecai:
16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are in Susa and tell them to fast from eating for my sake. They aren't to eat or drink anything for three whole days, and I myself will do the same, along with my female servants. Then, even though it's against the law, I will go to the king, even if it means my death."
17 So Mordecai left and did exactly what Esther had ordered him.