The placement of v. 20 in Psalm 72 has long puzzled scholars and has raised a number of questions: Why y is תפלה used? Why does the verse state that the prayers of David are ended? Where does this leave Solomon (v. 1)? Why is the verse placed after the doxology of vv. 18–19? And why is it found in the middle of the Elohistic Psalter? To solve these problems, a number of suggestions have been offered, none of which is entirely convincing. In this article, I suggest a solution based on insights gained from research on scribal habits and material culture. Departing from scholars such as Harry Y. Gamble, William A. Johnson, and Emanuel Tov, I argue that Ps 72:20 is likely not the conclusion of a collection but a frozen scribal colophon, originally intended to “close” a scroll. A possible analogy to such a fixation of a colophon is found in the Sumerian Temple Hymns.

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