Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(That) torment (was because their messengers (from Allah) kept coming unto them with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty)) detailing commands, prohibitions and signs, (but they said: Shall mere mortals) human beings like us (guide us) call us to believe in Allah's divine Oneness? (So they disbelieved) in the Scriptures, messengers and signs (and turned away) from accepting faith in the Scriptures, messengers and signs, (and Allah was independent (of them)) of their faith. (Allah is Absolute) Allah is free of need for their faith, (Owner of Praise) He is praiseworthy in His acts; it is also said that this means: He is the Owner of Praise as far as those who believe in His divine Oneness are concerned.
That, chastisement in this world, is because (bi-annahu contains the pronoun of the matter) their messengers used to bring them clear signs, manifest proofs for [the validity of] faith, but they said, ‘Shall [mere] humans (basharan is meant as generic) be our guides?’ So they disbelieved and turned away, from faith, and God was independent, [without need] of their faith. And God is Independent, [without need] of His creatures, Praised, praiseworthy in His actions.
(Has not the news reached you of those who disbelieved aforetime) meaning, information about them and what happened to them,
فَذَاقُواْ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِمْ
(And so they tasted the evil result of their disbelief.) They tasted the evil consequences of their denial and sinful actions. And it refers to the punishment and humiliation they received in the life of the world,
وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
(and theirs will be a painful torment.) in the Hereafter, added to the torment they received in this life. Allah explained why;
(That was because there came to them their Messengers with Bayyinat,) supporting arguments, evidence, and clear proofs,
فَقَالُواْ أَبَشَرٌ يَهْدُونَنَا
(but they said:"Shall mere men guide us'') They discounted and dismissed the possibility that the Message would be sent to a human and that their guidance would come by the hands of a man like themselves,
(So they disbelieved and turned away.) they denied the truth and turned away from abiding by it,
(But Allah was not in need.) of them,
وَاللَّهُ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ
(And Allah is not need, Worthy of all praise.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "The evil that they tasted in the world in consequence of their misdeeds was neither the real punishment of their crimes nor the full punishment. The real and full punishment they have yet to suffer in the Hereafter. However, the people can learn a lesson from the torment that visited them. They can see how the nations which adopted an attitude of unbelief against their Lord, went an degenerating and consequently met with an evil and disgraceful end." (For further explanation, see E.N.'s 5, 6 of Al-A'raf, E.N. 105 of Hud).
The word bayyinet as used in the original has a vast meaning. Bayyin (sing. of bayyinat) in Arabic is something which is very clear and manifest. Saying about the Prophets that they came with bayyinat gives the meaning that firstly, they brought such manifest signs as bore clear testimony to their having been appointed by Allah; secondly, they presented whatever they presented with rational and clear arguments; thirdly, there was no ambiguity in their teaching; they clearly explained what was the truth and what was falsehood. what was lawful and what was unlawful, what path man should follow and what he should avoid.
This was then the foremost and basic cause of their degeneration and ruin Mankind could not have known the right course of action in the world unless their Creator gave them the correct knowledge, and there could be no practical means of bestowing such knowledge by the Creator unless He blessed some of the human beings with the knowledge and entrusted them with the duty to convey it to other human beings. For this purpose He sent the Prophets with the manifest Signs bayyinat) so that there was-no reasonable ground for the people to doubt their being on the truth. But the people refused to believe that a human being could be a Messenger of God. Then, obviously there could be no other way for them to receive guidance. (For further explanation, see E.N. 11 of Surah Ya Sin). In this connection, however, a strange manifestation of the ignorance and folly of human beings is seen. They have in fact, never shown any hesitation in accepting the guidance of men, so much so that they have carried out gods of wood and stone according to their guidance, they have made human beings themselves God, the incarnation of God, even son of God. and they have adopted such strange viewpoints by following the guidance of their mis-leaders blindly, which ruined human civilization and morals altogether. But when the Messengers of God came to them with the truth, and they presented the pure Truth before them without any selfish motive, they said, "Shall mere human beings show us guidance?" This amounted to saying that if a human begin misled them, they would follow his guidance willingly, but if he showed the right path to them, his guidance was not acceptable.
That is, when they treated the guidance sent down by Allah with indifference, then Allah also became indifferent to them and did not care what pit they fell in. Allah did not stand in need of their acknowledging Him God to sustain and support His Godhead. Nor was He in need of their worship, nor of their praise and adoration. He, in fact, willed to show them the right path only for their own good and well-being. But when they turned away from it, Allah also became heedless of them. Then, neither He gave them guidance, nor remained responsible for their protection, nor saved them from being afflicted with calamities, nor prevented them from bringing about their own ruin for they themselves were not keen for His guidance and help.