MORDECAI... TORE HIS CLOTHES, PUT ON SACKCLOTH AND ASHES...
WAILING LOUDLY AND BITTERLY: Common expressions of personal grief (cp Ezra
8:21,23; Neh 9:1; Lam 3:40-66). Undoubtedly he felt personally responsible for
this decree (cp Est 3:2-5).
There is no mention of Mordecai praying, but prayer normally
accompanied the other practices mentioned (cp 2Ki 19:1-4; Joel 1:14) -- so it
seems reasonable to conclude that he DID pray.
BUT HE WENT ONLY AS FAR AS THE KING'S GATE: Where,
perhaps, he hoped for an audience with Esther (v 4).
WHEN ESTHER'S MAIDS AND EUNUCHS CAME AND TOLD HER ABOUT
MORDECAI, SHE WAS IN GREAT DISTRESS: Being in the palace, she seems to know
nothing about the decree.
Mordecai must have taken Hatach (v 6) into his confidence; if
he didn't know the identity of Esther before, he would now!
BUT THIRTY DAYS HAVE PASSED SINCE I WAS CALLED TO GO TO THE
KING: Is Esther out of favor with the king herself? Why?
DO NOT THINK THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE IN THE KING'S HOUSE YOU
ALONE OF ALL THE JEWS WILL ESCAPE: For one thing, Hatach now knew that she
was a Jews (v 9); quite possibly, others would know also.
AND WHO KNOWS BUT THAT YOU HAVE COME TO ROYAL POSITION FOR
SUCH A TIME AS THIS?: Although there is still no mention of God (in fact,
there is none anywhere in the Book), Mordecai clearly implies his deep belief in
the providence of God, to protect and ultimately save His people Israel. This
verse is the primary reason for seeing the doctrine of providence as crucial to
an understanding of the Book of Esther.
See Lesson, Est, providence in.
GATHER TOGETHER ALL THE JEWS WHO ARE IN SUSA, AND FAST FOR
ME...: Evidently there was a fairly large population of Jews in Susa (v 16;
cp Est 9:15). Again, there is no mention of prayer, though some of the Jews may
have prayed since they faced serious danger.
Like all human beings, Esther was not without flaw; but
certainly our heroine should be judged more by the brave act she performs than
by the natural fears she had to fight against. The rash man acts without fear;
the brave man, in spite of it.
FOR THREE DAYS: Thus, from 13th to 15th of Nisan --
exactly the same days as the sufferings and death of Jesus. If the Jews did
indeed fast for three days, they would not have been able to keep the Passover,
as the Law of Moses commanded (Ex 12) -- which is no problem: for the time was
coming when they would live it out!
AND IF I PERISH, I PERISH: These seem more like words
of courageous determination than an expression of resignation to the