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The Abarbanal on Numbers 2 explains this. He explains that ideally since there are 12 tribes that come from 4 mothers that there would be two groups of 3 tribes from לאה, one group from רחל and another from the שפחות. However, since Levi was not with the other tribes (since he was in the middle), the groups were put in this way: Yehuda, Yisaschar, and ...


A person who does not have a Jewish father (whether a convert or a Jew because of the mother) does not belong to any of the twelves tribes. The reason is that tribal membership follows the status of the father. An example is the case of the blasphemer at the end of Parshas Emor (24:10-23) He was the son of an Egyptian man and an Israelite woman of the tribe ...

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