We find ourselves with a detailed summary of the movements of the nation of Israel from the time that they left Egypt up to the time that they were about to, but had not yet, entered the promised land. It is the wilderness journey remembered and it is a journey which took 40 years to accomplish. There are 42 stages described here in Numbers. Makes sense, since the book in which these stages are written is called numbers.
We see an interesting detail in vs.2 where we find that Moses wrote down the stages and the starting points and the details of the tribes. Remember, as we have said earlier, we do not posses, we do not have, there does not exist that we know of, an original copy of what Moses wrote down. This book of Numbers has been passed down in oral and then written form for centuries. I just don't want people to think that when it speaks about Moses writing down these details that somewhere in a vault there is the original copy which we can use to compare to what we currently have.
We see a similar summary of these events in Deuteronomy 1:1-3:28. I do find it interesting that what I consider one of the most powerful events and most iconic events of the early Israelite history, the crossing of the Red Sea, is just mentioned in passing. Also, the miraculous provision of the manna and the quail isn't even mentioned. Neither is the presence of God in a cloud or a pillar of fire. The author here was very circumspect in what he included in the details. Just the facts.