In this parasha, Moshe reviewed the journeys and experiences of the children of Israel. He spoke to all Israel, words of reproach, after their recent victories.
The places enumerated were all those where Israel had angered G-d. He reminded them of the way judges were appointed, further travel and then the problem of the report of the twelve spies. Moshe implied that even if the full report had been positive, the people would have found some pretext to reject the prospect of going up into the promised land. R’ Eli Munk quoted from Ramban who explained that the people did not have sufficient faith to believe in the Divine promise.
Moshe said that G-d became angry with him because of the people. In addition to the decree forbidding him from entering Canaan, the quality of the communication from G-d had altered to consist of essential commands only. The feeling of sadness prevented Moshe from having prophetic visions.
The journey from Kadesh-barnea to Zered Brook spanned thirty eight years during which all those who came out of Egypt died apart from Caleb and Joshua. After explaining at length, the allocation of land, Moshe told them that they “need not fear the enemy” and could rely on G-d to “wage war for you’. R’ Munk indicated that the narrative emphasised the superior physical strength of the enemy. They were greater in number and the personal strength of their warriors was greater. Nevertheless, 600,000 Israelites, twenty years and older, who were almost without weapons or experience, were preparing themselves to enter an unknown land and to fight great armies. They were able to do so because of the knowledge that G-d was with them.