The Encyclopædia Britannica article “Twelve Tribes of Israel” says (emphasis added),
Jacob’s first wife, Leah, bore him six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Each was the father of a tribe.
That’s six tribes.
The article continues,
Two other tribes, Gad and Asher, were named after sons born to Jacob and Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant. Two additional tribes, Dan and Naphtali, were named after sons of Jacob born of Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel, Jacob’s second wife. Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.
That’s another six, to make a total of twelve.
But Joseph produces two tribes, Efraim and Manasheh. There is no tribe of Joseph.
So there are thirteen tribes in all.
Perhaps Levi doesn’t count due to its lack of territory. But the article clearly says that Levi is a tribe. And then it goes on pretending that there are twelve tribes all along.
Is my math correct?
This has been bothering me for years since childhood. Why does nobody seem to think there is any problem? Your math is correct the Levites were the priests however both sons Mannassah and Ephraim came from Joseph and because they were brothers counted as 2 tribe