I - was mourning three full weeks - The weeks are most probably dated from the time of the termination of the last vision. Calmet proves this by several reasons.
In those days I Daniel was mourning - I was afflicting myself; that is, he had set apart this time as an extraordinary fast. He was sad and troubled. He does not say on what account he was thus troubled, but there can be little doubt that it was on account of his people. This was two years after the order had been given by Cyrus for the restoration of the Hebrew people to their country, but it is not improbable that they met with many embarrassments in their efforts to return, and possibly there may have sprung up in Babylon some difficulties on the subject that greatly affected the mind of Daniel. The difficulties attending such an enterprise as that of restoring a captured people to their country, when the march lay across a vast desert, would at any time have been such as to have made an extraordinary season of prayer and fasting proper.
Three full weeks - Margin, “weeks of days.” Hebrew, “Three sevens of days.” He does not say whether he had designedly set apart that time to be occupied as a season of fasting, or whether he had, under the influence of deep feeling, continued his fast from day to day until it reached that period. Either supposition will accord with the circumstances of the case, and either would have justified such an act at anytime, for it would be undoubtedly proper to designate a time of extraordinary devotion, or, under the influence of deep feeling, of domestic trouble, of national affliction, to continue such religious exercises from day to day.
The marginal reading for “three full weeks” is “weeks of days;” which term Dr. Stonard thinks is here used to distinguish the time spoken of from the weeks of years, brought to view in the preceding chapter.DAR 214.2
For what purpose did this aged servant of God thus humble himself and afflict his soul? — Evidently for the purpose of understanding more fully the divine purpose concerning events that were to befall the church of God in coming time; for the divine messenger sent to instruct him says, “From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand,” etc. Verse 12. There was then still something which Daniel did not understand, but in reference to which he earnestly desired light. What was it? — It was undoubtedly some part of his last preceding vision; namely, the vision of chapter 9, and through that of the vision of chapter 8, of which chapter 9 was but a further explanation. And as the result of his supplication, he now receives more minute information respecting the events included in the great outlines of his former visions.DAR 214.3
This mourning of the prophet is supposed to have been accompanied with fasting; not an absolute abstinence from food, but a use of only the plainest and most simple articles of diet. He ate no pleasant bread, no delicacies nor dainties; he used no flesh nor wine; and he did not anoint his head, which was with the Jews an outward sign of fasting. How long he would have continued this fast had he not received the answer to his prayer, we know not; but his course in continuing it for three full weeks shows that, being assured his request was lawful, he was not a person to cease his supplication till his petition was granted.DAR 214.4
Daniel talked with God. Heaven was opened before him. But the high honors granted him were the result of humiliation and earnest seeking. All who believe with the heart the word of God will hunger and thirst for a knowledge of His will. God is the author of truth. He enlightens the darkened understanding and gives to the human mind power to grasp and comprehend the truths which He has revealed. SL 49.1
Upon the occasion just described, the angel Gabriel imparted to Daniel all the instruction which he was then able to receive. A few years afterward, however, the prophet desired to learn more of subjects not yet fully explained, and again set himself to seek light and wisdom from God. “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all.... Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:2-6). SL 49.2Read in context »
Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1Read in context »