4:1 - Cry - To express his deep sense of the mischief coming upon his people. It was bravely done, thus publickly to espouse a just cause though it seemed to be a desperate one. (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
4:2 - Sackcloth - Lest it should give the king any occasion of grief and trouble. But what availed, to keep out the badges of sorrow unless they could have kept out the causes of sorrow too? To forbid sackcloth to enter unless they could likewise forbid sickness, and trouble, and death? (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
4:3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
and many lay
Heb. sackcloth and ashes were laid under many. Isaiah 58:5; Daniel 9:3. (Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition))
Did the Jews think this was their punishment for not returning to Jerusalem?
4:4 - To clothe - That so he might be capable of returning to his former place, if not of coming to her to acquaint her with the cause of his sorrow. (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
Esther may have sent clothes to Mordecai because she wanted him to be able to come close enough to speak with her face-to-face. Notice in verse 2 it says that no one dressed as Mordecai was could enter the king’s gate.
4:6-8 – Hathach may have learned that Esther was a Jew from his conversation with Mordecai.
4:11 - Inner court - Within which, the king's residence and throne was. Not called - This was decreed, to maintain both the majesty, and the safety of the king's person; and by the contrivance of the greater officers of state, that few or none might have access to the king but themselves and their friends. I have not been called, &c. - Which gives me just cause to fear that the king's affections are alienated from me, and that neither my person nor petition will be acceptable to him. (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
4:14 - From another place - This was the language of strong faith, against hope believing in hope. Who knoweth - It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season. We should every one of us consider, for what end God has put us in the place where we are? And when an opportunity offers of serving God and our generation, we must take care not to let it slip. (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
see Jeremiah 33:14-26.
4:16 - Fast - And pray; so as you use to do, leave off your common dinners by day, and suppers at night, and eat and drink no more than mere necessity requires; that so you may give yourselves to constant and fervent prayers. Maidens - Which she had chosen to attend upon her person, and were doubtless either of the Jewish nation, or Proselytes. Which is not, &c. - Which may belong, either
to the thing only, that as they did fast, so she would. Or, rather,
to the time of three days and three nights; for so she might do, though she went to the king on the third day.
For the fast began at evening, and so she might continue her fast three whole nights, and two whole days, and the greatest part of the third; a part of a day being reputed a day in the account of scripture, and other authors: of which see on 12:40. Yea, she might fast all that day too: for it is probable she went not to the king 'till he had dined; when she supposed she might find him in the most mild and pleasant humour, and then returned to her apartment, where she fasted 'till the evening. (John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
Maids were either Jews or obedient Persians.