It is in Parshat Chukat that we meet the second generation of the Jewish nation, the one that would conquer the land of Israel. Yet there is precious little to distinguish it from the first. We are not even formally introduced to them. We first meet them at the death of Miriam, the opening scene of this generation, one that we read about after 38 years of silence.
"And G-d said, 'My spirit shall not continue to judge him forever; he is nothing but flesh, and his days will be 120 years'" (Breisheet 6:3). Man had gone from the Garden of Eden to the depths of depravity, and the days of lifespans of hundreds of years was over. Yet it took 26 generations - well over 2,000 years--until the Bible actually records that someone lived to 120; "And Moshe was 120 years when he died" (34:7).