Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
4 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes oand put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, pwith fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them qlay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6 Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, 7 and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, rand the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave him sa copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction,1 that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him2 on behalf of her people. 9 And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside tthe inner court without being called, uthere is but one law—to be put to death, except the one vto whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for wthree days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, xand if I perish, I perish.”3 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
Esther Prepares a Banquet
5 yOn the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in zthe inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, ashe won favor in his sight, band he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. 3 And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even cto the half of my kingdom.” 4 And Esther said, “If it please the king,4 let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. 6 dAnd as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, e“What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? cEven to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”5 7 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: 8 fIf I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king6 to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to gthe feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
Haman Plans to Hang Mordecai
9 And Haman went out that day hjoyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai iin the king’s gate, jthat he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and khis wife Zeresh. 11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, lthe number of his sons, all the promotions with which mthe king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting iat the king’s gate.” 14 Then khis wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, n“Let a gallows7 fifty cubits8 high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.
The King Honors Mordecai
6 On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring othe book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. 2 And it was found written how pMordecai had told about qBigthana9 and rTeresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3 And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” 4 And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered sthe outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on tthe gallows10 that he had prepared for him. 5 And the king’s young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” 6 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man uwhom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” 7 And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, vand the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head wa royal crown11 is set. 9 And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, xproclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” 10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits yat the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
12 Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning zand with his head covered. 13 And Haman told ahis wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”
Esther Reveals Haman’s Plot
14 While they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman bto the feast that Esther had prepared.
Warning Against the Adulteress
7 hMy son, keep my words
and htreasure up my commandments with you;
2 ikeep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as jthe apple of your eye;
3 kbind them on your fingers;
kwrite them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
6 For at mthe window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice,
7 and I have seen among nthe simple,
I have perceived among the youths,
a young man olacking sense,
8 passing along the street pnear her corner,
taking the road to her house
9 in qthe twilight, in the evening,
at rthe time of night and darkness.
10 And behold, the woman meets him,
vher feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
and with ybold face she says to him,
and today I have apaid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with bcoverings,
colored linens from cEgyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with dmyrrh,
aloes, and ecinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For fmy husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
at full moon he will come home.”
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with gher smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast5
23 till an arrow pierces its liver;
as ha bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 And inow, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are ja mighty throng.
27 Her house is kthe way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.