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Esther 4:11-16

Context
4:11 “All the servants of the king and the people of the king’s provinces know that there is only one law applicable 1  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. 2  Now I have not been invited to come to the king for some thirty days!”

4:12 When Esther’s reply 3  was conveyed to Mordecai, 4:13 he 4  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 5  who will escape. If you keep quiet at this time, liberation and protection for the Jews will appear 6  from another source, 7  while you and your father’s household perish. It may very well be 8  that you have achieved royal status 9  for such a time as this!”

4:15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 4:16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast in my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I 10  will also fast in the same way. Afterward I will go to the king, even though it violates the law. 11  If I perish, I perish!”

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

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

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

4 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.

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

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

7 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.

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

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

10 tn Heb “I and my female attendants.” The translation reverses the order for stylistic reasons.

11 tn Heb “which is not according to the law” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “contrary to the law.”



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