1 Now when Mardochai had heard these things, he rent his garments, and put on sackcloth, strewing ashes on his head: and he cried with a loud voice in the street in the midst of the city, shewing the anguish of his mind.
2 And he came lamenting in this manner even to the gate of the palace: for no one clothed with sackcloth might enter the king’s court.
3 And in all provinces, towns, and places, to which the king’s cruel edict was come, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, wailing, and weeping, many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed.
4 Then Esther’s maids and her eunuchs went in, and told her. And when she heard it she was in a consternation: and she sent a garment, to clothe him, and to take away the sackcloth: but he would not receive it.
5 And she called for Athach the eunuch, whom the king had appointed to attend upon her, and she commanded him to go to Mardochai, and learn of him why he did this.
6 And Athach going out went to Mardochai, who was standing in the street of the city, before the palace gate:
7 And Mardochai told him all that had happened, how Aman had promised to pay money into the king’s treasures, to have the Jews destroyed.
8 He gave him also a copy of the edict which was hanging up in Susan, that he should shew it to the queen, and admonish her to go in to the king, and to entreat him for her people.
9 And Athach went back and told Esther all that Mardochai had said.
10 She answered him, and bade him say to Mardochai:
11 All the king’s servants, and all the provinces that are under his dominion, know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, cometh into the king’s inner court, who is not called for, is immediately to be put to death without any delay: except the king shall hold out the golden sceptre to him, in token of clemency, that so he may live. How then can I go in to the king, who for these thirty days now have not been called unto him?
12 And when Mardochai had heard this,
13 He sent word to Esther again, saying: Think not that thou mayst save thy life only, because thou art in the king a house, more than all the Jews:
14 For if thou wilt now hold thy peace, the Jews shall be delivered by some other occasion: and thou, and thy father’s house shall perish. And who knoweth whether thou art not therefore come to the kingdom, that thou mightest be ready in such a time as this?
15 And again Esther sent to Mardochai in these words:
16 Go, and gather together all the Jews whom thou shalt find in Susan, and pray ye for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days and three nights: and I with my handmaids will fast in like manner, and then I will go in to the king, against the law, not being called, and expose myself to death and to danger.
17 So Mardochai went, and did all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther Chapter C
1 But Mardochai besought the Lord, remembering all his works,
2 And said: O Lord, Lord, almighty king, for all things are in thy power, and there is none that can resist thy will, if thou determine to save Israel.
3 Thou hast made heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven.
4 Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist thy majesty.
5 Thou knowest all things, and thou knowest that it was not out of pride and contempt, or any desire of glory, that I refused to worship the proud Aman,
6 (For I would willingly and readily for the salvation of Israel have kissed even the steps of his feet,)
7 But I feared lest I should transfer the honour of my God to a man, and lest I should adore any one except my God.
8 And now, O Lord, O king, O God of Abraham, have mercy on thy people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish thy inheritance.
9 Despise not thy portion, which thou hast redeemed for thyself out of Egypt.
10 Hear my supplication, and be merciful to thy lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise thy name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of them that sing to thee.
11 And all Israel with like mind and supplication cried to the Lord, because they saw certain death hanging over their heads.
12 Queen Esther also, fearing the danger that was at hand, had recourse to the Lord.
13 And when she had laid away her royal apparel, she put on garments suitable for weeping and mourning: instead of divers precious ointments, she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she humbled her body with fasts: and all the places in which before she was accustomed to rejoice, she filled with her torn hair.
14 And she prayed to the Lord the God of Israel, saying: O my Lord, who alone art our king, help me a desolate woman, and who have no other helper but thee.
15 My danger is in my hands.
16 I have heard of my father that thou, O Lord, didst take Israel from among all nations, and our fathers from all their predecessors, to possess them as an everlasting inheritance, and thou hast done to them as thou hast promised.
17 We have sinned in thy sight, and therefore thou hast delivered us into the hands of our enemies:
18 For we have worshipped their gods. Thou art just, O Lord.
19 And now they are not content to oppress us with most hard bondage, but attributing the strength of their hands to the power of their idols,
20 They design to change thy promises, and destroy thy inheritance, and shut the mouths of them that praise thee, and extinguish the glory of thy temple and altar,
21 That they may open the mouths of Gentiles, and praise the strength of idols, and magnify for ever a carnal king.
22 Give not, O Lord, thy sceptre to them that are not, lest they laugh at our ruin: but turn their counsel upon themselves, and destroy him that hath begun to rage against us.
23 Remember, O Lord, and shew thyself to us in the time of our tribulation, and give me boldness, O Lord, king of gods, and of all power:
24 Give me a well ordered speech in my mouth in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to the hatred of our enemy, that both he himself may perish, and the rest that consent to him.
25 But deliver us by thy hand, and help me, who have no other helper, but thee, O Lord, who hast the knowledge of all things.
26 And thou knowest that I hate the glory of the wicked, and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised, and of every stranger.
27 Thou knowest my necessity, that I abominate the sign of my pride and glory, which is upon my head in the days of my public appearance, and detest it as a menstruous rag, and wear it not in the days of my silence,
28 And that I have not eaten at Aman’s table, nor hath the king’s banquet pleased me, and that I have not drunk the wine of the drink offerings:
29 And that thy handmaid hath never rejoiced, since I was brought hither unto this day, but in thee, O Lord, the God of Abraham.
30 O God, who art mighty above all, hear the voice of them, that have no other hope, and deliver us from the hand of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear.
Esther Chapter D
1 And on the third day she laid away the garments she wore, and put on her glorious apparel.
2 And glittering in royal robes, after she had called upon God the ruler and Saviour of all, she took two maids with her,
3 And upon one of them she leaned, as if for delicateness and overmuch tenderness she were not able to bear up her own body.
4 And the other maid followed her lady, bearing up her train flowing on the ground.
5 But she with a rosy colour in her face, and with gracious and bright eyes, hid a mind full of anguish, and exceeding great fear.
6 So going in she passed through all the doors in order, and stood before the king, where he sat upon his royal throne, clothed with his royal robes, and glittering with gold, and precious stones, and he was terrible to behold.
7 And when he had lifted up his countenance, and with burning eyes had shewn the wrath of his heart, the queen sunk down, and her colour turned pale, and she rested her weary head upon her handmaid.
8 And God changed the king’s spirit into mildness, and all in haste and in fear he leaped from his throne, and holding her up in his arms, till she came to herself, caressed her with these words:
9 What is the matter, Esther? I am thy brother, fear not.
10 Thou shalt not die: for this law is not made for thee, but for all others.
11 Come near then, and touch the sceptre.
12 And as she held her peace, he took the golden sceptre, and laid it upon her neck, and kissed her, and said: Why dost thou not speak to me?
13 She answered: I saw thee, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was troubled for fear of thy majesty.
14 For thou, my lord, art very admirable, and thy. face is full of graces.
15 And while she was speaking, she fell down again, and was almost in a swoon.
16 But the king was troubled, and all his servants comforted her.