Esther 4:1

Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help

1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.

Esther 4:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 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;
ESV
1 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
NLT
1 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.
MSG
1 When Mordecai learned what had been done, he ripped his clothes to shreds and put on sackcloth and ashes. Then he went out in the streets of the city crying out in loud and bitter cries.
CSB
1 When Mordecai learned all that had occurred, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city, and cried loudly and bitterly.

Esther 4:1 Meaning and Commentary

Esther 4:1

When Mordecai perceived all that was done
By the king, at the instigation of Haman, against the Jews; which he came to the knowledge of, either by some of the conflicts or by common fame, or on the sight of the edicts which were published in Shushan; though the Jews think it was made known to him in a supernatural way, either by Elijah, as the former Targum F24, or by the Holy Ghost, as the latter:

Mordecai rent his clothes:
both behind and before, according to the same Targum; and this was a custom used in mourning, not only with the Jews, but with the Persians also, as Herodotus F25 relates:

and put on sackcloth with ashes;
upon his head, as the former Targum; which was usual in mourning, even both; ( Job 2:12 ) ( Daniel 9:3 )

and went out into the midst of the city;
not Elam the province, as Aben Ezra, but the city Shushan:

and cried with a loud and bitter cry;
that all the Jews in the city might be alarmed by it, and inquire the reason of it, and be affected with it; and a clamorous mournful noise was used among the Persians, as well as others, on sad occasions F26.


FOOTNOTES:

F24 So Midrash Esther, fol. 94. 1.
F25 Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. ----. Urania, sive, l. 8. c. 99.
F26 Calliope, sive, l. 9. c. 24.

Esther 4:1 In-Context

1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.
3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.
5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Numbers 14:6
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 13:19; Ezekiel 27:30-31; John 3:5-6
  • 3. S Exodus 11:6; Psalms 30:11