Esther 4:11 (ESV)

11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther hesitated. She reminded her uncle of what he already knew, that she was not even allowed to see the king without being summoned, let alone plead the Jews’ case before him!

The Medo-Persian kings were almost completely inaccessible, since they were always in danger of being assassinated. Thus, anyone who approached them without being summoned could expect the death penalty.

Only if the king extended his sceptre to his unexpected visitor would the visitor’s life be spared. However, Esther told her uncle not to rely on this exception to the rule. After five years of marriage to the king (Esther 2:16; Esther 3:7), it seemed that Esther was not his favourite anymore. She had not been summoned by him for a whole month.