Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Allah wishes to explain to you) that which is lawful for you; it is also said that this means: Allah would explain to you that having patience and refraining from marrying captives is better for you than marrying them (and guide you) expound to you (by the examples of those who were before you) among the people of the Book who were forbidden from marrying captives, (and would turn to you in mercy) He will forgive you that which ensued from you in pre-Islamic times. (Allah is Knower) that you have a dire need for marriage, (Wise) when He prohibited you to marry them except upon necessity.
God desires to make clear to you, the laws of your religion and what is in your best interests, and to guide you in the ways, the paths, of those, prophets, before you, in the way of what is lawful and what is unlawful, so that you might follow them, and to turn [in forgiveness] towards you, bringing you back from the disobedience which you practised, to obedience to Him; God is Knowing, of you, Wise, in what He has ordained for you.
(but those who follow their lusts, wish that you (believers) should deviate tremendously away from the right path)) indicates that the followers of Shaytan among the Jews, Christians and the adulterous, wish that you would take the horrendous path of falsehood instead of the truth.
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُخَفِّفَ عَنْكُمْ
(Allah wishes to lighten (the burden) for you'') His legislation, orders, what He prohibits and what He decrees for you. This is why Allah has allowed free men to marry slave girls under certain conditions, as Mujahid and others have stated.
وَخُلِقَ الإِنسَـنُ ضَعِيفاً
(and man was created weak.) and this is why it is suitable in his case that the commands are made easy for him, because of his weakness and feebleness. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Tawus said that,
وَخُلِقَ الإِنسَـنُ ضَعِيفاً
(and man was created weak), "Concerning women''. Waki` said, "Man's mind leaves when women are involved.''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The "way" refer to all those instructions that have been given from the beginning of the Surah to this point, and to those already given in Al-Baqarah about cultural and social problems. Allah is telling the believers that it is His bounty that He is taking them out of the ways of "ignorance" and guiding them to the moral ways of good people, that have always been followed by the Prophets of every age and their pious followers.
Those who intended to turn the believers back from the Right Way to the ways of error were the hypocrites, the ignorant people of the old ways, and the Jews living in the suburbs of Madinah The first two groups strongly disliked the changes that were being made to reform their centuries old prejudices, rites and customs. They were opposed to (a) the share of the daughters in inheritance; (b) the freedom of the widow from the restrictions placed on her by her husband's people, and to marry the husband of her liking after the expiry of the term, (c) the prohibition of marriage with step-mother, and with two real sisters simultaneously. They were averse to the reform of the institution of adoption which abolished the share of the adopted sons in inheritance and removed the restriction on the marriage of their divorced wives or their widows with their adopted fathers. These and such other reforms so upset the worshipers of the old traditions and customs that they cried themselves hoarse with protests against them. The mischief mongers criticized bitterly the Holy Prophet and incited the people against his person and his invitation. For instance, if there was a person who was born as a result of a marriage which had become unlawful by the application of the reformed laws, they would incite him by saying that he had been declared illegitimate by the Holy Prophet. Thus the foolish people were opposing the work of reform which was being carried out under Divine Guidance.
Then there were the Jews who were engaged in vicious propaganda against this reformative work which went against their self-made laws. They demanded that the Qur'an should declare these laws to be the Divine Laws, even though they had changed their very character and substance, by making fine and unnecessary distinctions, by introducing into it their own superstitious customs as laws, by imposing their own restrictions and hard conditions and making many lawful things unlawful. They, therefore, could not appreciate the simple rules and regulations that were being presented by the Qur'an. That is why their rabbis, scribes and common people did not accept the Qur'an as the Book of Allah. They were so upset by its reformative laws that they made each and every Commandment of the Qur'an the target of their criticism and opposed and rejected it.
For instance, the Jews considered the women utterly unclean during the menses. They would not take the meals cooked by them nor drink water touched by their hands nor even sit on the same carpet with them. In short, the women were practically made untouchables in their homes. As the Ansar had also adopted the same customs when the Holy Prophet migrated to Madinah, they asked him about the monthly course. In answer to this question, v. 222 of Al-Bagarah was sent down; accordingly the Holy Prophet instructed that during the monthly course only cohabitation was prohibited and all other relations with the women would remain the same as before. At this, the Jews raised a great hue and cry, saying, "This man is bent upon opposing us in everything ants making lawful what is unlawful with us and unlawful what is lawful with us."
God desires to make clear to you and to guide you in the ways of those before you and to turn [in forgiveness] toward you; God is Knowing Wise. When He told the Prophet ﷺ and his community the stories of those from past communities and what they did and how they were dealt with they looked to what would be done with them since there were among them those who also did the impermissible. So they said “If only we knew in what way [God] will deal with us. Will it be abasement metamorphosis punishment or whatḍ” So God most high said and to guide you in the ways of those before you We will inform you of that which we did with them and to turn [in forgiveness] toward you. As for you I turn [in forgiveness] to you and as for those who came before you I have already destroyed them utterly. It is said that God desires to make clear to you by unveiling His secrets to you so that what was hidden from others will be made manifest to you. It is said that God desires to make clear to you His singularity in bringing things into existence and originating new things-no one else has any part in this. And to guide you in the ways of those before you: the path of the prophets and the friends. This [guidance] is entrusting [everything to God] being content and surrendering completely to the [divine] decree and judgment. It is said: And to turn [in forgiveness] toward you that is He accepts your repentance after having created it and then repays you according to what He has created for you in your repentance.