Reason of revelation:
Muhammad Ibn Ka’b al-Qurazi narrated: Some Jewish people came to the Prophet (saws) and said: “Moses has received the tablets from Allah, so bring us with such tables to believe you”. Accordingly, the verses were revealed (from 153-156). They wanted Allah (swt) to bring down a written command directly by which He (swt) ask them to believe in Muhammad (saws).
The Holy Quran is a heavenly Book, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saws) whereas they want a special book for them, but Allah (swt) mocks them and said to His Prophet (saws):
(… قَدْ سَأَلُوا مُوسَىٰ أَكْبَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ فَقَالُوا أَرِنَا اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً …) (…But they had asked of Moses [even] greater than that and said, “Show us Allah outright,” …): Whereas Allah (swt):
لَّا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ ۖ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ
(Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.) (Al-An’am : 103)
Because perceiving requires a comprehensive vision, what can no body have it in regard of Allah’s power and virtues.
(… فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ بِظُلْمِهِمْ …) (…so the thunderbolt struck them for their wrongdoing …): They wronged themselves and have become arrogant and insolent by asking to see Allah (swt) outright so they deserved this punishment. After a period of time, they worshiped the calf even though clear evidences had come to them, such as saving them from Pharaoh by sea:
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ (63) وَأَزْلَفْنَا ثَمَّ الْآخَرِينَ (64) وَأَنجَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ وَمَن مَّعَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ
(Then We inspired to Moses, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. (64) And We advanced thereto the pursuers. (65) And We saved Moses and those with him, all together.) (Ash-Shu’ara: 63-65)
So Pharaoh and those with him drowned in the sea, which was a great evidence for all. Indeed, Allah (swt) drowned and saved by the same way. He drowned Pharaoh in the sea and saved Moses and those with him in the sea as well, and later they worshiped the calf, but in spite of that Allah (swt) pardoned them and gave Moses a clear authority with signs and tablets.