Esther 4:1

1 When Mor'decai learned all that had been done, Mor'decai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry;

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 Mor'decai learned all that had been done, Mor'decai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry;
2 he went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one might enter the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
3 And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther's maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mor'decai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.
5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mor'decai to learn what this was and why it was.