John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 16 (Esther 4:16)

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan ,.... To acquaint them with what follows; but not to continue in a body together, which might cause suspicion of an ill design in them; according to the latter Targum, 12,000 chosen priests were found in it; but that must be an exaggeration of their number; it can hardly be thought there were so many Jews in all there:

and fast ye for me ; that is, pray for her, that she might have courage to go in to the king, and meet with success; for prayer was the principal thing, fasting only an accessory to it, and as fitting for it, and expressive of affliction and humiliation of soul:

and neither eat nor drink three days , night nor day; it was to be a continued fast unto the third day; as Aben Ezra interprets it, they were not to eat at evening, but fast two whole days, and two whole nights, until the third day came, on which Esther went in to the king, Esther 5:1 .

I also and my maidens will fast likewise ; in the same manner and as long; these maids of honour were either proselytes, perhaps of her making, or Jewish ladies, she being allowed by the king to choose whom she pleased:

and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law ; or "afterwards", or "and then" F4 ובכן "et postea", Noldius, p. 198. No. 899. so the Targum, και τοτε , Sept. "et tune", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "tum", Tigurine version. when they, and she and her maids, had fasted and prayed so long, then she was determined in the strength of the Lord to go into the king's presence with her petition, though it was contrary to law:

and if I perish, I perish ; signifying, that she readily and cheerfully risked her life for the good of her people; and if such was the pleasure of God, that she should lose it, she was content, and acquiesced in his will, leaving herself entirely in his hands, to dispose of her as he thought fit.

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary