When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes…
I. MORDECAI WAS EXCEEDINGLY AFFECTED AT WHAT THE KING HAD COMMANDED (ver. 1). See the stirring benevolence of this man, the sweet philanthropy which dwelt in his soul, and how deeply he felt the common calamity, which resulted from his own conscientious doings. There is nothing new in the Lord's people meeting with adversities and troubles in this life. "Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator." "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."
II. IN THE DEPTH OF HIS GRIEF, MORDECAI "CAME EVEN BEFORE THE KING'S GATE, CLOTHED WITH SACK CLOTH" FOR NONE MIGHT ENTER INTO THE KING'S GATE CLOTHED WITH SACKCLOTH (ver. 2). Amusements or diversions are one class of spiritual idols to which many of the sons of men render homage. The wise man informs us that a scene of unbroken enjoyment is not the best for the interest of the soul. "It is better to go to the house of mourning," etc. "for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart." Do as the saints of old did; we never hear them saying, "I will rejoice in the world"; but "I will rejoice in the Lord," "I will rejoice in Thy salvation." "In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice." "My soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."
III. Mordecai, though he could not enter within the king's gate with his signals of distress, WENT AS NEAR IT AS HE DARED TO GO, WITH THE VIEW OF ACQUAINTING ESTHER, BY MEANS OF HER ATTENDANTS, WITH THE IMPENDING DANGER. As soon as she heard of his mournful habit, she sympathised with him, and sent him raiment instead of his sackcloth, that he might resume his place. We cannot but admire two things which the grace of God had wrought in this woman — her condescension and gratitude. She was now a queen. Providence had placed her on the summit of worldly greatness, yet did she not disregard one of her subjects in distress. She kindly inquired into the cause of his sorrow. Her gratitude also was lovely. Mordecai had acted the part of a tender father towards her, when she was cast a parentless child on the wide world. She does not now forget that tenderness.
IV. MORDECAI SENT BACK TO ESTHER TIDINGS OF THE SITUATION IN WHICH HE, AND SHE, AND THEIR PEOPLE WERE PLACED (vers. 7, 8). Esther was now in a station, high and influential, and she is here charged to use her influence on the side of right and justice, and against oppression and tyranny. It is delightful to behold power thus employed! Power is a mighty weapon, and effects great things either to the injury or benefit of the community.
V. ESTHER SENT AGAIN TO MORDECAI, TO TELL HIM THAT SHE HAD NOT FOR A CONSIDERABLE PERIOD BEEN INVITED TO THE ROYAL PRESENCE, AND THAT TO GO UNINVITED WAS CERTAIN DEATH.
VI. NOTWITHSTANDING WHAT ESTHER SAID, MORDECAI WOULD BY NO MEANS HAVE HER NEGLECT THE WORK WHICH HE HAD ASSIGNED HER (vers. 13, 14). We learn a few particulars from these words.
1. That Mordecai had a strong belief that God would interfere for His people in this case.
2. That we are not to flinch from our duty by reason of the danger which we incur by its performance. It is easy to walk in the way while it is smooth and easy, but it must be walked in also when it is rough and thorny.
3. That the work of the Lord shall prosper, whether we endeavour to promote it or otherwise. "Deliverance shall arise to the Jews from another place: but thou," etc. God is never at a loss for instruments to accomplish His will. If we neglect the honour, He will make others willing to spend and to be spent in His service.
VII. WE COME NOW TO ESTHER'S ANSWER (vers. 15, 16). Fasting and prayer were resorted to on this occasion. Spiritually performed, they never fail of success. United prayer, as in these cases, and in that of Peter, who was about to be killed by Herod, is omnipotent. Like Esther, let us work and pray. These duties must ever be associated. To work without praying is Pharisaism and presumption. To pray without working is insincerity and hypocrisy. Like Mordecai, let us counsel others to do their duty, heedless of all temporal consequences, and pray that they may have power from on high for its due accomplishment.
Parallel VersesKJV: When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;