[4:66-4:68] And had We prescribed for them: 'Slay yourselves' or 'Leave your habitations', they would not have done it, save a few of them; yet if they had done what they were admonished to do, it would have been better for them, and stronger in establishing. * And then, We would have surely given them from Us a great wage. * And We would have guided them to a straight path.
God told of the weakness of their sincerity and the strength of their bankruptcy, and then, by His knowledge, of their deficiency. He left them alone in most of the tests but then said, 'If they had been inclined to serve and had put on the belt of obedience, that would have been better for them than their persisting in their disbelief and pride. If they had done that, We would have given them a great reward from Us, and would have guided them on a straight path, and rendered them an enduring gift.
The affair, in the explanation of the allusion, refers to opposition to whim and the sacrifice of lower selves by holding them back from comfortable things, leaving the dwellings and parting from the familiar territories of desire for the present world.