INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 4
In this chapter we will see Mordecai put on the burlap and calls for demonstrations in the streets. Soon Esther learns that her uncle is one of the demonstrators and she sends a servant to inquire what this was all about. When she learns that all the Jews are to be exterminated she realizes that any interference in kingdom matters could end in her death. Her uncle has a bold plan and in my comments you will be exposed to the strategy.
EXPOSITION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 4
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;
Mordecai went down town with his clothes torn and an old piece of burlap wrapped around him and ashes smeared on his forehead his mournful cry could be heard for blocks. It was an open demonstration against the policy of the Persian government to eliminate the Jews.
2 And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
He demonstrated just outside the court gates leading to the palace; however no one was admitted into the palace in such a mournful state.
3 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.
In every town and village people would be seen wearing sackcloth and ashes and calling the people’s attention to the destruction of the Jews.
4 So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it 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.
Esther has her butler pull some clothes off the rack and sends them out with a servant for Mordecai to wear. She is grieved that he is involved in these demonstrations and is probably wondering what will happen to her when the king discovers that she is a Jew. Esther is living in the palace and at this point knows nothing about the decree.
5 Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
Esther is desirous to know all the why’s and wherefore’s so she sends Hatach to bring her back a complete report
6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate.
This palace servant meets with Mordecai and he will get an ear full and the buzz in the palace will be all about this anti-Semitic Haman.
7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Mordecai told the entire story to Hatach─how Haman promised to deposit money in the royal bank to finance the massacre of the Jews.
8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare 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.
Mordecai has a copy of the press release that was sent out into all 127 provinces and requests that it be shown to Esther and urge her to go to the king and intercede for her nation.
9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Hatach is the go-between for Esther and Mordecai.
10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;
She talks it over with Hatach and tells him that no one approaches the king without being sent for or the two axe men that stand before the king will chop their heads off.
11 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 sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
This king was known by all subjects to be notorious and anyone who came into the inner court would be killed. Esther knew that if she tried to by pass protocol that she could meet a similar fate. This account shows that anyone who went into the parlor without being called for would be endangering the life of the king. No doubt this law came into effect in order to protect the king and for awe and reverence of his majesty.
12 And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words.
I also want to mention that no one was allowed to see the queen except her maids, nurses and servants. Special clearance thru security would be the only exception. Wives and queens and concubines had often poisoned their husbands. It was security─security─security.
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
Esther is possibly the only Jew in the palace who has heard of the extermination plan. No doubt Esther thinks at this point that the King is in on the plan as deep as Haman.
14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise 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?
Mordecai believed that somehow God would preserve his people yet at this point he didn’t know how or when. Mordecai urges her to act even if it means death. He is saying that it is better to die in a noble cause than to sit idle and die anyway. He lets her know that just because she was living in the queen’s quarters that when she was discovered to be a Jew that she would not escape. He suggests that she was made a queen for such a time as this. Mordecai intimates that she was the instrument by which God would bring about their deliverance.
15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
These messages were being passed along by an agent know as Hatach.
16 Go, gather together all the Jews that 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.
“Other historical sources portray Xerxes as a dangerously impulsive king. When a bridge he had ordered built was destroyed in a storm, he commanded that the sea receive 300 lashes, and then had the bridge builders beheaded. When one of his loyal subjects contributed a huge sum toward a military expedition, Xerxes was so enraptured that he returned the money, along with a handsome gift of his own. But when the same man asked Xerxes to let just one of his sons go free from the draft, Xerxes, enraged, ordered the son cut into two and the army to march between the pieces.” Compton’s Interactive Bible
Fasting is only an accessory to praying! Some try to make out that Mordecai and Esther were secular and didn’t have any regard for God, nothing could be farther from the truth. For the next three days they will be praying and fasting for Esther.
17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Mordecai goes and carries out Esther’s instructions.