This is as if the whole city of Portland, Oregon USA (609,456 in 2013) were on the march from Portland, Oregon to the boarder of Idaho, Ontario, Oregon. That distance is 375 miles and on I-84E that can be traveled in 5 hours 50 minutes.
The difference between a family and moving a large city on foot is quite large with this happening all of when Moses, the leader, was already 80 years old which was back in the year 1,311 BCE or 3,326 years ago. Back then, Moses was using G-d as his Garmin and Ipad, getting directions constantly.
|Moses took this route from Rameses in Egypt to Canaan|
Not long on the Exodus at Rephidim, Amalek came and battled Israel. They've been Israel's eternal enemies. Balaam had made a prophecy about them that though they were first among the nations they would be destroyed completely (Numbers). They were a nomadic people and had killed off the weak and weary Israelites. Their presence was a standing threat to the peace of the country. Joshua led the Israelites in defeating them later. It was there at Rephidim that they had no water to drink and attacked Moses verbally about it. The history here is explained that they needed to learn to trust in G-d by prayer when faced with deprivation.
Moses got the message. It wasn't good. He was told to order 1,000 men from each of the 12 tribes to form a legion of 12,000. Phineas, son of Elazar the Kohen was to be the leader of them. They went against the Midianites and killed every male and their kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba and Balaam, son of Beor.
Moses was still angry with his commanders because it was the females of Midian who followed Balaam's word to betray Israelites. Balaam had finally experienced true prophecy from G-d in telling Balak, King of Moab, what the future held. He was one who at first tried to curse the Israelites. Then he told Balak to entice Jewish men to debauchery because he knew that sexual morality was the foundation of Jewish holiness and that G-d did not tolerate immorality. The officers had allowed their troops to spare the women and they had been known to have participated in the orgies. Moses ordered the women to be killed as well and teen-aged boys, and spare the young children to keep for themselves. This was the retribution that had been promised against the Midianites because of their responsibility for the Israelites' immorality and idolatry that had been introduced to them by Balaam to Balak, who asked for curses on the Israelites in the first place in order to bring them down.
Resource: Tanakh, Stone Edition, chart 11 in appendix B.