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 49.1Read in context »