The nation camped according to the directions of the compass. Each quarter of the camp had three tribes in it with the Tabernacle and the Levites camping in the middle. There were four (4) prominent tribes that had the four (4) campgrounds named after them: Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan. These four tribes and their respective partnering tribes (2 each) would evidently set up camp clockwise beginning with Judah in the east, followed by Reuben in the south, Ephraim on the west side of the Tabernacle and Dan on the north. When they struck camp to march, the four groups proceeded with Judah and her two companions (lssachar & Zebulun) in the front, Reuben and her two companions (Simeon & Gad) second in line, the Levites safely in the middle carrying the Tabernacle with its implements, Ephraim with her two companions (Manasseh & Benjamin) following after the Tabernacle and Dan with her two companions (Asher & Naphtali) bringing up the rear. If you can imagine what that would have looked like, well, it was a very reasonable, logical and orderly arrangement.
A Bedouin camp of 3 million refugees living for 40 years in the manner described in this chapter is a rather amazing accomplishment. No wonder God intervened so supernaturally with manna and such. If He hadn't, the nation would have disintegrated into civil war or starvation for sure.
Now, one more thing that is worth mentioning in this chapter is the fact that there were certain standards, ensigns, banners or (we would say) flags that were used in the camp and during their travels to mark the territory of each group, tribe and family. The colors or coat of arms (if you will) represented each segment of the nation and was conducive to preserving order within the nation. All of that may seem fairly distant and irrelevant to us unless we are willing to see the Messianic application in passages like Isaiah 11:10 where Jesus is called our ensign.