But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly.
According to Ali Unal,
The scourge sent down from heaven was probably a plague in which, according to the
Bible, 14,700 people died ( Numbers , 16:46–49). The Qur’ān describes a pestilence, the
causes of which are known, as a scourge sent down from heaven, and a means of suppressing an uprising against a Prophetic order. This teaches us to regard calamities (whether
they strike individually or collectively) from the viewpoint of their real causes and the
Divine wisdom in them, rather than their apparent “natural” causes. They come as the result of our negligence in God’s laws governing our religious and “natural” lives, and of our
transgressing the bounds established by Him.
The great scholar, Hamdi Yazır, remarks
God Almighty is the One of Majesty Who is powerful enough to pull up the mountains
and demolish them over the heads of people. He can change in an instant the gravity
between things and objects. Those who have some sense should not forget how great and
irresistible a force earthquake and volcanic eruption demonstrate. Some think that such
events have nothing to do with the transgressions of humankind. This is a manifest error.
Although it cannot be said that all of them are punitive, all of them are certainly linked to
the life and actions of humankind. (Yazir, 4: 2322)
Unal, Ali (2006). The Quran with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English. (p. 90-91) http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-quran-with-annotated-interpretation-.pdf