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Bible Commentaries
Esther 4

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-17


(vv. 1-17)

Mordecai of course very soon learned of this satanic plot of Haman against Israel and he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes in token of humiliation and repentance.Whether he prayed to God we are not told, but he cried out bitterly in the midst of the city, coming to the outside of the king's gate, though forbidden to come into the gate clothed in sackcloth (vv. 1-2).

At the same time, everywhere the decree of Haman had been sent, the Jews fasted with weeping and wailing, many clothed in sackcloth.Again, nothing is said of whether they prayed to God(v. 3). No doubt God makes this purposely obscure because of Israel's unfaithfulness to Him.

Esther soon received the news of Mordecai through her maids and the eunuchs of the king's court.It naturally distressed her to think that Mordecai was clothed in sackcloth, but she did not know the reason.She sent clothing to him to replace the sackcloth, but he refused it (v. 4). Therefore she sent Hatach, a eunuch of the king, to ask Mordecai the reason for his condition(v. 5). Even Hatach had not heard of the evil plot of Haman, and Mordecai told him what had happened and how Haman had promised to pay a large sum of money for the destruction of the Jews (vv. 6-7).

Mordecai gave to Hatach a copy of the king's decree to show to Esther with a full explanation of Haman's plot, and with instructions for her to supplicate the king for the preservation of her people, the Jews (v. 8). On hearing this, Esther sent a reply to Mordecai, telling him that it was well known that anyone who dared to enter the inner court of the king without an invitation would be put to death unless the king held out his scepter toward the individual.Esther herself had not been called into the king's presence for 30 days (vv. 9-11).

Then Mordecai sent an urgent response to Esther, "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than will the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish" (vv. 13-14). It may be that Mordecai had confidence that God would intervene on behalf of the Jews, though again he does not even mention the Lord. He also asked her a very pertinent question as to whether Esther had come to her present position for the very purpose of meeting this serious attack of the enemy.Certainly this proved to be true.

Esther therefore sent word to Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Shushan to fast on Esther's behalf, not to eat or drink for three days, saying that she and her maids would do likewise, then she would go in to the king.She added, "If I perish, I perish!" (v. 16). Fasting is negative, symbolizing self-judgment, but what of the more important positive action of prayer to God?There is no mention made of this.We should think they would pray, but God omits any mention of prayer because of the Jews' unprofitable spiritual condition.

Mordecai did as Esther asked, so that all the Jews in Shushan were drawn together in a common cause, and all would be informed now that the Queen was Jewish.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Esther 4". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/esther-4.html. 1897-1910.
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