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Esther 4:7-14

Context
4:7 Then Mordecai related to him everything that had happened to him, even the specific amount of money that Haman had offered to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews to be destroyed. 4:8 He also gave him a written copy of the law that had been disseminated 1  in Susa for their destruction so that he could show it to Esther and talk to her about it. He also gave instructions that she should go to the king to implore him and petition him on behalf of her people. 4:9 So Hathach returned and related Mordecai’s instructions 2  to Esther.

4:10 Then Esther replied to Hathach with instructions for Mordecai: 4:11 “All the servants of the king and the people of the king’s provinces know that there is only one law applicable 3  to any man or woman who comes uninvited to the king in the inner court – that person will be put to death, unless the king extends to him the gold scepter, permitting him to be spared. 4  Now I have not been invited to come to the king for some thirty days!”

4:12 When Esther’s reply 5  was conveyed to Mordecai, 4:13 he 6  said to take back this answer to Esther: 4:14 “Don’t imagine that because you are part of the king’s household you will be the one Jew 7  who will escape. If you keep quiet at this time, liberation and protection for the Jews will appear 8  from another source, 9  while you and your father’s household perish. It may very well be 10  that you have achieved royal status 11  for such a time as this!”

1 tn Heb “given” (so KJV); NASB, NRSV, TEV, NLT “issued”; NIV “published”; NAB “promulgated.”

2 tn Heb “the words of Mordecai” (so KJV); NIV, NRSV, CEV “what Mordecai had said”; NLT “with Mordecai’s message.”

3 tn Heb “one is his law”; NASB “he (the king NIV) has but one law”

4 tn Heb “and he will live”; KJV, ASV “that he may live”; NIV “and spare his life.”

5 tn Heb “the words of Esther”; TEV, NLT “Esther’s message.”

6 tn Heb “Mordecai.” The pronoun (“he”) was used in the translation for stylistic reasons. A repetition of the proper name here is redundant in terms of contemporary English style.

7 tn Heb “from all the Jews”; KJV “more than all the Jews”; NIV “you alone of all the Jews.”

8 tn Heb “stand”; KJV, NASB, NIV, NLT “arise.”

9 tn Heb “place” (so KJV, NIV, NLT); NRSV “from another quarter.” This is probably an oblique reference to help coming from God. D. J. A. Clines disagrees; in his view a contrast between deliverance by Esther and deliverance by God is inappropriate (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther [NCBC], 302). But Clines’ suggestion that perhaps the reference is to deliverance by Jewish officials or by armed Jewish revolt is less attractive than seeing this veiled reference as part of the literary strategy of the book, which deliberately keeps God’s providential dealings entirely in the background.

10 tn Heb “And who knows whether” (so NASB). The question is one of hope, but free of presumption. Cf. Jonah 3:9.

11 tn Heb “have come to the kingdom”; NRSV “to royal dignity”; NIV “to royal position”; NLT “have been elevated to the palace.”



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