So what does this story teach? I don't quite know. Apart from the obvious lesson concerning the Agagite and Amelek and the people of Israel. See Saul's failure and 1 Samuel 15 - not there yet, and also the history of Amelek, which many have considered symbolic of flesh - but that is perhaps applying a metaphor rigidly and without consideration for the story itself.
The word for cross over, pass through and so on has some unique uses: one here (v17) and one with the king of Nineveh who 'transfers' his majesty when he puts on sackcloth. I had the obvious 'laid aside; for Jonah 3. But that's just the problem: it is obvious. It is not what the text actually has written in it. It may mean that, but it is only one of many possible readings. Some questions we have to leave undetermined. (And, political aside, some, due to our possibility of sin and violence, we must not leave hanging, if our social structure is to have peace.)
|וּמָרְדֳּכַ֗י יָדַע֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר נַעֲשָׂ֔ה וַיִּקְרַ֤ע מָרְדֳּכַי֙ אֶת־בְּגָדָ֔יו וַיִּלְבַּ֥שׁ שַׂ֖ק וָאֵ֑פֶר |
וַיֵּצֵא֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעִ֔יר וַיִּזְעַ֛ק זְעָקָ֥ה גְדֹלָ֖ה וּמָרָֽה
|1||And Mordecai knew all that was done and Mordecai ripped his garments, and he clothed himself with sackcloth and ashes, |
and came forth into the midst of the city and he appealed an appeal, great and bitter.
|וַיָּב֕וֹא עַ֖ד לִפְנֵ֣י שַֽׁעַר־הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ |
כִּ֣י אֵ֥ין לָב֛וֹא אֶל־שַׁ֥עַר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בִּלְב֥וּשׁ שָֽׂק
|2||And he came in even before the gate of the king, |
(for there is no entry to the gate of the king clothed in sackcloth).
|וּבְכָל־מְדִינָ֣ה וּמְדִינָ֗ה מְקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֨ר דְּבַר־הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְדָתוֹ֙ מַגִּ֔יעַ אֵ֤בֶל גָּדוֹל֙ לַיְּהוּדִ֔ים וְצ֥וֹם וּבְכִ֖י וּמִסְפֵּ֑ד |
שַׂ֣ק וָאֵ֔פֶר יֻצַּ֖ע לָֽרַבִּֽים
|3||And in every province, by province, the place that the word of the king and the dictate touched, great lamenting among the Judeans and fasting and weeping and wailing, |
sackcloth and ashes spread out for many.
|וַ֠תָּבוֹאינָה נַעֲר֨וֹת אֶסְתֵּ֤ר וְסָרִיסֶ֙יהָ֙ וַיַּגִּ֣ידוּ לָ֔הּ וַתִּתְחַלְחַ֥ל הַמַּלְכָּ֖ה מְאֹ֑ד |
וַתִּשְׁלַ֨ח בְּגָדִ֜ים לְהַלְבִּ֣ישׁ אֶֽת־מָרְדֳּכַ֗י וּלְהָסִ֥יר שַׂקּ֛וֹ מֵעָלָ֖יו וְלֹ֥א קִבֵּֽל
|4||And the lasses of Esther came and her eunuchs and they told her. And the queen was in much turmoil, |
and she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and to put aside his sackcloth from him, but not right in front.
|וַתִּקְרָא֩ אֶסְתֵּ֨ר לַהֲתָ֜ךְ מִסָּרִיסֵ֤י הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֶעֱמִ֣יד לְפָנֶ֔יהָ וַתְּצַוֵּ֖הוּ עַֽל־מָרְדֳּכָ֑י |
לָדַ֥עַת מַה־זֶּ֖ה וְעַל־מַה־זֶּֽה
|5||And Esther called for Hatach from the eunuchs of the king whom he had installed in her presence, and she commanded him about Mordecai, |
to know what it was and why it was.
|וַיֵּצֵ֥א הֲתָ֖ךְ אֶֽל־מָרְדֳּכָ֑י |
אֶל־רְח֣וֹב הָעִ֔יר אֲשֶׁ֖ר לִפְנֵ֥י שַֽׁעַר־הַמֶּֽלֶךְ
|6||So Hatach came forth to Mordecai, |
to the plaza of the city that is before the gate of the king.
|וַיַּגֶּד־ל֣וֹ מָרְדֳּכַ֔י אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר קָרָ֑הוּ |
וְאֵ֣ת ׀ פָּרָשַׁ֣ת הַכֶּ֗סֶף אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֤ר הָמָן֙ לִ֠שְׁקוֹל עַל־גִּנְזֵ֥י הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ בַּיְּהוּדִ֖ים לְאַבְּדָֽם
|7||And Mordecai made it clear to him all that had befallen him, |
and distinctly the silver that Haman had said he would spend in the depositories of the king on the Judeans to eliminate them.
|וְאֶת־פַּתְשֶׁ֣גֶן כְּתָֽב־הַ֠דָּת אֲשֶׁר־נִתַּ֨ן בְּשׁוּשָׁ֤ן לְהַשְׁמִידָם֙ נָ֣תַן ל֔וֹ לְהַרְא֥וֹת אֶת־אֶסְתֵּ֖ר וּלְהַגִּ֣יד לָ֑הּ |
וּלְצַוּ֣וֹת עָלֶ֗יהָ לָב֨וֹא אֶל־הַמֶּ֧לֶךְ לְהִֽתְחַנֶּן־ל֛וֹ וּלְבַקֵּ֥שׁ מִלְּפָנָ֖יו עַל־עַמָּֽהּ
|8||And the copy of the writing of the dictate that he was given in Shushan to exterminate them, he gave to him, to show to Esther and to make clear to her, |
and to command her to enter to the king to make supplication to him and to seek from his presence concerning her people.
|וַיָּב֖וֹא הֲתָ֑ךְ |
וַיַּגֵּ֣ד לְאֶסְתֵּ֔ר אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֥י מָרְדֳּכָֽי
|9||And Hatach came in, |
and he made it clear to Esther the words of Mordecai.
|וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶסְתֵּר֙ לַהֲתָ֔ךְ וַתְּצַוֵּ֖הוּ אֶֽל־מָרְדֳּכָֽי||10||And Esther talked to Hatach and gave him commandment to Mordecai,||16|
|כָּל־עַבְדֵ֣י הַמֶּ֡לֶךְ וְעַם־מְדִינ֨וֹת הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ יֽוֹדְעִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר כָּל־אִ֣ישׁ וְאִשָּׁ֡ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָבֽוֹא־אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ֩ אֶל־הֶחָצֵ֨ר הַפְּנִימִ֜ית אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־יִקָּרֵ֗א אַחַ֤ת דָּתוֹ֙ לְהָמִ֔ית לְ֠בַד מֵאֲשֶׁ֨ר יֽוֹשִׁיט־ל֥וֹ הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ אֶת־שַׁרְבִ֥יט הַזָּהָ֖ב וְחָיָ֑ה |
וַאֲנִ֗י לֹ֤א נִקְרֵ֙אתי֙ לָב֣וֹא אֶל־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ זֶ֖ה שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים יֽוֹם
|11||All servants of the king, the people of the provinces of the king, know that any man or woman who comes to the king to the court, the presence, whom he did not call, one dictate of his is death, with one exception, that the king hold out to him the golden mace, then he will live, |
and I not have been called for entry to king this thirty day span.
|וַיַּגִּ֣ידוּ לְמָרְדֳּכָ֔י אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֥י אֶסְתֵּֽר פ||12||So they made clear to Mordecai the words of Esther.||14|
|וַיֹּ֥אמֶר מָרְדֳּכַ֖י לְהָשִׁ֣יב אֶל־אֶסְתֵּ֑ר |
אַל־תְּדַמִּ֣י בְנַפְשֵׁ֔ךְ לְהִמָּלֵ֥ט בֵּית־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ מִכָּל־הַיְּהוּדִֽים
|13||And Mordecai said in reply to Esther, |
Do not suppose that you will escape the house of the king any more than all the Judeans.
|כִּ֣י אִם־הַחֲרֵ֣שׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי֮ בָּעֵ֣ת הַזֹּאת֒ רֶ֣וַח וְהַצָּלָ֞ה יַעֲמ֤וֹד לַיְּהוּדִים֙ מִמָּק֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וְאַ֥תְּ וּבֵית־אָבִ֖יךְ תֹּאבֵ֑דוּ |
וּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ אִם־לְעֵ֣ת כָּזֹ֔את הִגַּ֖עַתְּ לַמַּלְכֽוּת
|14||But if silence you keep, silence at this particular time interval, then deliverance will stand for Judeans from another place but you and your father's house, you will perish. |
And who knows if for a time such as this you have a touch for the kingdom?
|וַתֹּ֥אמֶר אֶסְתֵּ֖ר לְהָשִׁ֥יב אֶֽל־מָרְדֳּכָֽי||15||And Esther said to reply to Mordecai.||12|
|לֵךְ֩ כְּנ֨וֹס אֶת־כָּל־הַיְּהוּדִ֜ים הַֽנִּמְצְאִ֣ים בְּשׁוּשָׁ֗ן וְצ֣וּמוּ עָ֠לַי וְאַל־תֹּאכְל֨וּ וְאַל־תִּשְׁתּ֜וּ שְׁלֹ֤שֶׁת יָמִים֙ לַ֣יְלָה וָי֔וֹם גַּם־אֲנִ֥י וְנַעֲרֹתַ֖י אָצ֣וּם כֵּ֑ן |
וּבְכֵ֞ן אָב֤וֹא אֶל־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־כַדָּ֔ת וְכַאֲשֶׁ֥ר אָבַ֖דְתִּי אָבָֽדְתִּי
|16||Go garner all the Judeans that are found in Shushan and fast for me. You will not eat and you will not imbibe three days, night and day. Even I and my lasses will fast so. |
And as such I will go in to the king (which is not according to dictate), and if I perish, I perish.
|וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֖ר מָרְדֳּכָ֑י |
וַיַּ֕עַשׂ כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוְּתָ֥ה עָלָ֖יו אֶסְתֵּֽר ס
|17||And Mordecai passed through, |
and did everything that Esther commanded him.