And, truly, We sent forth apostles before thee, and We appointed for them wives and offspring;74
and it was not given to any apostle to produce a miracle save at God's behest.75
Every age has had its revelation:76
I.e., they were mortals like all other men, and were not endowed with any "supernatural" qualities. This is a rejoinder to those who refuse to accept a divine message as true on the grounds of its having been conveyed to mankind by an "ordinary mortal". (Cf. 25:7 , where the unbelievers are speaking derisively of Muhammad as an apostle "who eats food [like all other mortals] and goes about in the market-places", and the many references to their incredulous wondering that God should have chosen as His prophet "a man from among themselves".) In addition to this, the above verse stresses, by implication, the positive value of man's natural, physical life-summarized, as it were, in the expression "wives and offspring" - and the rejection of exaggerated asceticism and self-mortification as an allegedly desirable "way to God".
Lit., "by God's leave". Cf. 6:109 - "Miracles are in the power of God alone" - and the corresponding note . In the present context, this is an answer to those who refuse to believe in Muhammad's message unless "a miraculous sign" is bestowed upon him.
Or: "a divine writ" (kitab). See 5:48 - "Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life" - and the corresponding note , which explains the succession of divine messages culminating in, and ending with, the revelation of the Qur'an. This interpretation of the above phrase - adopted, among others, by Ibn Kathir - connects it plausibly with the preceding mention of the apostles who came before Muhammad, and with the subsequent reference to the supersession of the earlier divine messages by that of the Qur'an. Apart from this, the statement that every age had a revelation suited to the particular needs of the time and the people concerned (Zamakhshari) constitutes an answer to the objection, often raised by followers of other creeds, that the message of the Qur'an differs in many respects from the earlier divine revelations (Razi).