Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And We caused the Mount to tower above them) We uprooted and fixed the Mount above them (at (the taking of) their covenant: and We bade them: Enter the gate) the gate of Jericho, (prostrate!) bowing down (and we bade them: Transgress not the Sabbath!) by taking the fish (and We took from them a firm covenant) regarding Muhammad (pbuh).
And We raised above them the Mount, by the covenant with them, that is, on account of the covenant made with them, that they might fear, and so they accepted it; and We said to them, while it cast a shadow [hovering] above them: ‘Enter the gate, the gate of the town, bowing’; and We said to them, ‘Transgress not (a variant reading [of lā ta‘dū] is lā ta‘addū, where the original tā’ [of lā tata‘addū] is assimilated with the dāl, in other words [it is similar in meaning to] lā ta‘tadū, ‘do not act unjustly [in]’) the Sabbath’, by fishing during it, and We took from them a firm covenant, over this, but they broke it.
Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, As-Suddi and Qatadah said that the Jews asked the Messenger of Allah to cause a book to come down to them from heaven, just as the Tawrah was sent down to Musa. Ibn Jurayj said that the Jews asked the Messenger to cause books to come down to them addressed to so-and-so among them, testifying to the truth of what he was sent with. The Jews only asked for this because of their stubbornness, defiance, rejection and disbelief. The disbelievers of Quraysh also asked for similar things from the Prophet, as is mentioned in Surat Al-Isra',
(Indeed, they asked Musa for even greater than that, when they said, "Show us Allah in public,'' but they were struck with a bolt of lightning for their wickedness.) injustice, transgression, defiance and rebellion. This part was explained in Surat Al-Baqarah,
(And (remember) when you said: "O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.'' But you were struck by a bolt of lightning while you were looking. Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.) (2:55,56) Allah's statement,
(Then they worshipped the calf even after Al-Bayyinat had come to them.) meaning, after they witnessed the tremendous miracles and unequivocal proofs at the hand of Musa in Egypt. They also witnessed the demise of their enemy, Fir`awn and his soldiers, when they all drowned in the sea. Yet soon after, when they passed by a people who were worshipping idols, they said to Musa,
اجْعَلْ لَّنَآ إِلَـهًا كَمَا لَهُمْ ءَالِهَةٌ
(Make for us a god as they have gods.) Allah explains the story of the Jews worshipping the calf in Surat Al-A`raf (7) and Surah Ta Ha (20) after Musa went to meet with his Lord. When Musa returned, Allah decreed that in order for the Jews to earn accepted repentance, then those who did not worship the calf would have to kill those who worshipped it. They complied with this command, and Allah resurrected them afterwards. Allah said here,
((Even) so We forgave them. And We gave Musa a clear proof of authority. ) Allah then said,
وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَـقِهِمْ
(And for their covenant, We raised over them the mount,) This was when they refrained from implementing the rulings of the Tawrah and refused what Musa brought them from Allah. So Allah raised the mountain above their heads and they were ordered to prostrate, which they did. Even so, they were looking above when they were prostrating for fear that the mountain might fall on them,
(And (remember) when We raised the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): "Hold firmly to what We have given you.'') Allah then said,
وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّداً
(and We said, "Enter the gate prostrating (or bowing) with humility;'') meaning that they also defied this command in word and action. They were commanded to enter Bayt Al-Quds (in Jerusalem) while bowing and saying "Hittah'', meaning: `O Allah! take from us our sin of abandoning Jihad.' This was the cause of their wandering in the desert of Tih for forty years. Yet, they entered the House while crawling on their rear ends and saying `Hintah (a wheat grain) in Sha`rah (the hair)'.
وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لاَ تَعْدُواْ فِى السَّبْتِ
(and We commanded them, "Transgress not the Sabbath (Saturday).'') meaning, We commanded them to honor the Sabbath and honor what Allah prohibited them on that day.
وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُمْ مِّيثَـقاً غَلِيظاً
t(And We took from them a firm covenant.) meaning, strong covenant. They rebelled, transgressed and committed what Allah prohibited by using deceit and trickery, as is mentioned in Surat Al-A`raf (7),
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This was one of the strange demands of the Jews of Madinah. They said to the Holy Prophet, "We will not accept you as a Prophet unless you cause a written Book to come down to us from heaven before our very eyes or cause a written message to come down to each one of us to this effect: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Our Messenger; so believe in him'."
A mere mention of this incident has been made in the short list of the crimes of the Israelites to which reference has been made here to show how impertinent they had become. This incident has already been mentioned in v. 55 of AI-Baqarah (For details, please see E.N. 17, Al-Baqarah).
"Clear signs": the signs which the children of Israel had seen, one after the other, since the time of the Prophet Moses appointment as a Messenger. They had also witnessed the drowning of Pharaoh and his army and many other signs during their exodus froth Egypt. Therefore, they knew full well that it was Allah, Lord of the Universe, and not a calf, Who had rescued them froth the tyranny of a powerful ruler like Pharaoh. Yet they were so enamored of false gods that they forsook God, their real Benefactor, and made the calf of gold the object of their worship.
"Clear Commandment": the Commandments inscribed on the tablets which were given to the Prophet Moses. (See also Al-Baqarah 11:63 and Al-A'raf V11:171).
The "Covenant" was the pledge taken from the chiefs of Israel at the foot of Mount Tur. This has already been mentioned in Al-Baqarah,II: 63 and is also referred to in AI-A' raf VII:171.
Please refer to vv. 58-89 and E.N. 75 of Al-Baqarah.
Please see v. 65 and E.N.'s 82 and 83 of Al-Baqarah.
Reference has already been made to such a saying of the Jews in Al Baqarah II:88. Just as all the worshipers of falsehood are proud of their obduracy against the truth, so were the Jews proud of their beliefs, prejudices, rituals and customs that they had inherited from their forefathers and could not be persuaded to give them up. That is why they always turned a deaf ear to the Message of the Prophets of Allah with the answer: "We are determined to reject your invitation, even though you bring strong arguments in support thereof. We will adhere strongly and faithfully to what we believe and practice." (Also see E.N. 94 of Al-Baqarah).
And We raised above them the mount by the covenant with them and We said to them “Enter the gate bowing”; and We said to them “Transgress not the Sabbath and We took from them a firm covenant. The more signs were given to them outwardly the more denial and rejection there was in their hearts. Receiving more communications did not benefit them since the eyes of their hearts were not open to witnessing [these communications]. God most high said “But signs and warners do not avail a folk who will not believe” [10:101].