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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Esther 4:1–5:8

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Esther Learns of Haman’s Plot

1 When Mordecai learned aall that had been done, 1he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly. 2 He went as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 In each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with afasting, weeping and wailing; and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.

4 Then Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her, and the queen writhed in great anguish. And she sent garments to clothe Mordecai that he might remove his sackcloth from him, but he did not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathach from the king’s eunuchs, whom 1the king had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai to the city square in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and athe exact amount of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him aa copy of the text of the edict which had been issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show Esther and inform her, and to order her to go in to the king to implore his favor and to plead with him for her people.

9 Hathach came back and related Mordecai’s words to Esther. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who acomes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, bhe has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out cto him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 They related Esther’s words to Mordecai.

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and adeliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Esther Plans to Intercede

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; ado not eat or drink for bthree days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.

Chapter 5

Esther Plans a Banquet

1 Now it came about aon the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood bin the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s 1rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the 2throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, ashe obtained favor in his sight; and bthe king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? aEven to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” 4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

5 Then the king said, “aBring Haman quickly that we may do 1as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6 1As they drank their wine at the banquet, athe king said to Esther, “bWhat is your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 7 So Esther replied, “My petition and my request is: 8 aif I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do 1what I request, may the king and Haman come to bthe banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do 2as the king says.”

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