After crossing the Red Sea and escaping the army of Pharaoh, the Israelites were in the wilderness. A journey that was to have taken eleven days took forty years because of the rebellion of the travelers. During those forty years, everyone who had been twenty years of age when they began had died except Moses, Joshua and Caleb. Only Joshua and Caleb would be permitted to enter the Promised Land.
Before entering the Promised Land, Moses reviewed with the children of Israel the events of the previous forty years, including the laws enacted during that time. He attempted to motivate them to obey whereas their fathers had rebelled. Moses concluded his address to the Israelites with a farewell to the people.