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,
and came even before the king's gate; for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
And in every province whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting and weeping and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it to her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him; but he received it not.
Then called Esther for Hathach, one of the king's chamberlains whom he had appointed to attend her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was and why it was.
So Hathach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city which was before the king's gate.
And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Also he gave him the copy of the written decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to show it unto Esther and to explain it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.
And Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Again Esther spoke unto Hathach, and gave him a commandment unto Mordecai:
"All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces do know that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court who is not called, there is one law of his: to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. But I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days."
And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.
Then Mordecai commanded them to answer Esther: "Think not concerning thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house any more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there arise respite and deliverance to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:
"Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me; and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. I also and my maidens will fast likewise. And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."
So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Then Mordecai thought upon all the works of the Lord, and made his prayer unto Him,
saying, "O Lord, Lord, the King Almighty, for the whole world is in Thy power; and if Thou hast appointed to save Israel, there is no man that can gainsay Thee.
For Thou hast made heaven and earth, and all the wondrous things under the heaven.
Thou art Lord of all things, and there is no man that can resist Thee, who art the Lord.
Thou knowest all things; and Thou knowest, Lord, that it was neither in contempt nor pride, nor for any desire of glory that I did not bow down to proud Haman.
For I could have been content with good will for the salvation of Israel, to kiss the soles of his feet.
But I did this, that I might not prefer the glory of man above the glory of God; neither will I worship any but Thee, O God, neither will I do it in pride.
And now, O Lord God and King, spare Thy people, for their eyes are upon us to bring us to nought; yea, they desire to destroy the inheritance that hath been Thine from the beginning.
Despise not the portion, which Thou hast delivered out of Egypt for Thine own self.
Hear my prayer, and be merciful unto Thine inheritance; turn our sorrow into joy, that we may live, O Lord, and praise Thy name; and destroy not the mouths of them that praise Thee, O Lord."
All Israel in like manner cried most earnestly unto the Lord, because their death was before their eyes.
Queen Esther also, being in fear of death, resorted unto the Lord,
and laid away her glorious apparel and put on the garments of anguish and mourning; and instead of precious ointments, she covered her head with ashes and dung; and she humbled her body greatly, and all the places of her joy she filled with her torn hair.
And she prayed unto the Lord God of Israel, saying: "O my Lord, Thou only art our King. Help me, desolate woman, who have no helper but Thee,
for my danger is in mine hand.
From my youth up I have heard in the tribe of my family that Thou, O Lord, tookest Israel from among all people, and our fathers from all their predecessors, for a perpetual inheritance, and Thou hast performed whatsoever Thou didst promise them.
And now we have sinned before Thee; therefore hast Thou given us into the hands of our enemies,
because we worshiped their gods. O Lord, Thou art righteous.
Nevertheless it satisfieth them not that we are in bitter captivity; but they have shaken hands with their idols
that they will abolish the thing that Thou with Thy mouth hast ordained, and destroy Thine inheritance and stop the mouth of them that praise Thee, and quench the glory of Thy house and of Thine altar,
and open the mouths of the heathen to set forth the praises of the idols, and to magnify a fleshly king for ever.
"O Lord, give not Thy scepter unto those who are nothing; and let them not laugh at our fall, but turn their device upon themselves and make him an example, who hath begun this against us.
Remember, O Lord; make Thyself known in time of our affliction, and give me boldness, O King of the nations and Lord of all power.
Give me eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion. Turn his heart to hate him that fighteth against us, that there may be an end of him and of all who are like-minded with him.
"But deliver us with Thine hand, and help me who am desolate and who have no other help but Thee.
Thou knowest all things, O Lord; Thou knowest that I hate the glory of the unrighteous, and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of all the heathen.
Thou knowest my necessity; for I abhor the sign of my high estate, which is upon mine head in the days wherein I show myself, and that I abhor it as a menstruous rag, and that I wear it not when I am private by myself;
and that Thine handmaid hath not eaten at Haman's table, and that I have not greatly esteemed the king's feast, nor drunk the wine of the drink offerings;
neither had Thine handmaid any joy since the day that I was brought hither to this present, but in Thee, O Lord God of Abraham.
O Thou mighty God above all, hear the voice of the forlorn, and deliver us out of the hands of the evildoers, and deliver me out of my fear."
And upon the third day, when she had ended her prayer, she laid away her mourning garments, and put on her glorious apparel.
And being gloriously adorned, after she had called upon God, who is the beholder and Savior of all things, she took two maids with her.
And upon the one she leaned, carrying herself daintily;
and the other followed, bearing up her train.
And she was rosy through the perfection of her beauty, and her countenance was cheerful and very amiable; but her heart was in anguish with fear.
Then, having passed through all the doors, she stood before the king, who sat upon his royal throne and was clothed with all his robes of majesty, all glittering with gold and precious stones; and he was very fearsome.
Then, lifting up his countenance that shone with majesty, he looked very fiercely upon her. And the queen fell down, and was pale and fainted, and bowed herself upon the head of the maid who went before her.
Then God changed the spirit of the king into mildness, who in fear leaped from his throne and took her in his arms till she came to herself again; and he comforted her with loving words and said unto her,
"Esther, what is the matter? I am thy brother; be of good cheer.
Thou shalt not die, though our commandment be general. Come near."
And so he held up his golden scepter and laid it upon her neck,
and embraced her and said, "Speak unto me."
Then said she unto him, "I saw thee, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was troubled with fear of thy majesty.
For wonderful art thou, lord, and thy countenance is full of grace."
And as she was speaking, she fell down for faintness.
Then the king was troubled, and all his servants comforted her.