There is a good bit of symbolism to chapter 48.
The chapter has to do with the re-establishment of God’s people, but one should be careful with this. It is not literal. God’s people would be re-established. There would be a wholeness to them (as opposed to their fragmented state in their previous history). All of God’s people would be a part of this new kingdom, and it would include the gentiles who would also have an inheritance among God’s people (cf. 47:23). This is really, the point of the chapter.
The tribes of God’s people would be arranged according to favoritism. They would be stacked one on the top of each other, above and below the sacred territory belonging to the coming prince of God’s people. Those furthest away in the north were to be the tribes of Dan, and Naphtali, (children of Rachel’s servant girl Bilhah) and Asher (son of Leah’s servant girl Zilpah). Those furthest away in the south were Gad (child of Leah’s servant girl Zilpah). Note that the children of the handmaids were furthest away. Those closest to the holy center are Judah (north) and Benjamin (south). Favoritism pervades this arrangement by the positioning of the tribes. The lesson, however, is the favored status of the people of God. If you are going to be near where the Lord is, you’ll have to be one of His people. There is no closeness to God without it.