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Their purpose was to scare thee off the land, in order to expel thee; but in that case they would not have stayed (therein) after thee, except for a little while.

As happened in the case of the holy Prophet, the
enemies try to frighten the Prophet of Allah away from
their midst, so that, once away, they could expel him
and keep him out. But they are counting without the Plan
of Allah. If they persecute the righteous, they dig their
own graves! (R).

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 17 verse 76)Microsoft Word – 017 Bani Israel.doc (quran4u.com)

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