“And the Egyptians were burying all their first born who had been killed by G-d” (33:4).
“And Elazar the priest said: This is the law of the Torah, which the Lord commanded Moshe” (Bamidbar 31:21). The Torah goes on to describe the laws of kashering utensils, laws that were pertinent in light of the spoils captured by the Israelites in their war with Midian.
Our Sages, quoted by Rashi, were perplexed as to why Elazar and not Moshe gave this series of laws, especially as the Torah tells us it was Moshe whom G-d had commanded regarding these laws.
“And these are the journeys of the people of Israel” (33:1). The Torah lists over 40 stops along the long and winding route the Jewish people took on their journey to the land of Israel. Many of these names have never appeared before in the Bible and will never appear again. Their mention highlights the lack of purpose of so much of the stay of the Jewish people in the desert, going from meaningless place to meaningless place and accomplishing nothing—save for passing time so that a new generation could arise.