How can a person who reads no Hebrew get closer to the text and feel of the Hebrew scriptures?

This is a question that readers frequently ask, wondering whether they are getting an adequate immersion in the culture, rhythms, and vocabulary of those who wrote long ago.

Bob MacDonald, author of the monumental work Seeing the Psalter (Energion Publications, 2013), has continued his work studying the rhythm, music, and structure of the Hebrew scriptures. He developed this close translation initially to show in English the intricate patterns of repeated words in Hebrew poetry.

Having discovered the inferences concerning the music at a conference on the Psalms in 2010, the author decided that the whole corpus of the Hebrew canonical text should be approached to allow English speaking readers some understanding of the music. The translation retains the order of Hebrew words wherever reasonable, so that changes in reciting note and ornaments can be in English on the same syllable that corresponds to the Hebrew.

This translation for the music a translation illustrated with music. Each musical example is derived from the accents in the text by a simple deciphering key. The accents that are above and below the text are hand signals specifying the music for the text to be sung.

Readers at all levels of biblical knowledge can benefit from the material here. The translation is accessible to anyone who reads English. References to the Hebrew text are available for the serious student of the language.

Books in this series

  1. The Torah, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  2. The Former Prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings
  3. The Major Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
  4. The Twelve, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
  5. The Books of Truth, Psalms, Proverbs, Job
  6. The Five Scrolls, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Qohelet, Esther
  7. The Remaining Writings, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles
  8. A Biblical Hebrew to English Concordance
  9. A is for Abandon, An English to Biblical Hebrew Alphabet Book
  10. The Progression of the Music, The Accents of the Hebrew Bible

These ebooks are available on many retailers. For example, you can read them under your subscription on

Kindle editions are listed here.

You can find further resources on the music of the Bible at Remembering and Reflecting.

Showing all 10 results