Book V of the Psalter (Psalms 107-150) divides into three, with the Songs of the Ascents (120-134) as the central section, and the first and third units following parallel structures (historical, Davidic, alphabetical, Hallel psalms). The units are all compositions of the Return period: 107-119 for the reconstruction of the Temple, 120-134 for Nehemiah's wall-building, 135-150 for Ezra's mission. Psalms 120-134 follow the episodes of Nehemiah's 'memoir', in order. All three groups show evidence of evening-morning alternation, and were intended for festal use: 107-118 at the Passover of Ezra 6, 120-134 at the Tabernacles of Nehemiah 12, 135-150 at Ezra's Tabernacles (Neh. 8).
Michael Goulder is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Birmingham.