61. And recall when you said, “O Moses, we cannot endure one kind of food, so call to your Lord to produce for us of what the earth grows: of its herbs, and its cucumbers, and its garlic, and its lentils, and its onions.” He said, “Would you substitute worse for better? Go down to Egypt, where you will have what you asked for.” They were struck with humiliation and poverty, and incurred wrath from God. That was because they rejected God’s revelations and wrongfully killed the prophets. That was because they disobeyed and transgressed.
62. Those who believe, and those who are Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabeans-any who believe in God and the Last Day, and act righteously-will have their reward with their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
63. And recall when We received a pledge from you, and raised the Mount above you: “Take what We have given you earnestly, and remember what is in it, that you may attain righteousness.”
64. But after that you turned away. Were it not for God’s grace and mercy towards you, you would have been among the losers.
65. And you surely knew those of you who violated the Sabbath. We said to them, “Be despicable apes!”
66. Thus We made it a deterrent for their generation, and for subsequent generations, and a lesson for the righteous.
67. And recall when Moses said to his people, “God commands you to sacrifice a heifer.” They said, “Do you make a mockery of us?” He said, “God forbid that I should be so ignorant.”
68. They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us which one.” He said, “He says she is a heifer, neither too old, nor too young, but in between. So do what you are commanded.”
69. They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us what her color is.” He said, “He says she is a yellow heifer, bright in color, pleasing to the beholders.”
70. They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us which one; the heifers look alike to us; and God willing, we will be guided.”
Muhammad at this point is still being shown the past of what happened to cause such a division in Judaism and what happened to the first People of the Book. It’s a sad story to see that after being in Egypt as slaves, somehow because they were not satisfied with the food given to them in the particular land Moses walked the people to for 40 days, they were sent back to Egypt and incurred hostility and perhaps enslavement once again. This is all suggested that this is a natural consequence to them not being satisfied with the freedom given to them and instead wanting more types of food to grow.
There is an idea that other prophets of God have been killed and quite possibly this is evil from the division. So God punished them in their disobedience to not allow them to find their way back to this free land that Moses was lead to for their safety. There was a violation with the Sabbath, that was not worshipped on the right day and so it was another way that the Jewish leaders lead their people astray.
God then sends another test to teach them a lesson and to see where they were consciously. God told them to go kill a cow for food, which is how God prescribed sacrifice. God was not being sacrificed to, the cow was supposed to sacrifice itself in order to feed the people, however animals don’t kill themselves so humans had to do the actual sacrifice. But once again they mocked Moses and started to ask for specifics in the cow, out of disbelief and suspicion.
I can see it clearly. They hated Moses for taking away all the fun in their sinful pleasures they used to indulge in. Moses created the commandments to help them and they took him as a threat to their experiences. But they forgot that this not just a place of enjoyment it is a place to learn how to get back to God from the state that we all fell from.
But they wanted it to be more difficult to find this cow, so it became so.
This is the lesson I take to heart. When you ask for something to be more difficult or make things more difficult than they are, your reality appears that way around you. God sent them specific instructions for this cow that kept getting narrower and narrower of categories..only because they kept asking more and more questions.
At line 62, this is where my heart opened up to Islam because it showed me the unity people of all faiths have. NO ONE religion has monopoly or claim on Heaven and it is up to God to reflect on the goodness of a person, not the religion you claim to be part of. Labels can be different, but paths to God are similar in terms of devotion and positive energy given back to the world.