The Biblioblog Reference Library

[«] Posts From the Blog "Dust"(#66)

February 21 2018, 5AM

1 Kings 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103376)
A conditional word from Yahweh. Could I cope with conditions? Also here I see the technical term דביר, a word I have sometimes rendered as substance, or the holy place. This last phrase is a poor sounds-like choice. I think I will rename it as the wo... [1 Kings]

February 20, 5AM

Ezekiel 41 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103323)
This section of Ezekiel continues to be mystifying. It is clear that other translations are attempting to form a blueprint of sorts from it, but the idiom for description is less than revealing (to me at least) across the centuries. At the moment though I... [Ezekiel]

February 19, 5AM

Psalm 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103294)
The second alphabetic acrostic of the first book of the Psalms. Psalms 25 Fn Min Max Syll לְדָוִ֡ד אֵלֶ֥יךָ יְ֝הוָ֗ה נַפְשִׁ֥י אֶשָּֽׂא 1 Of David. א I will lift up my self to you Yahweh my God. 3e 3f 12 ... [Psalms]

February 18, 5AM

Isaiah 57 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103252)
One of he great lines in the KJV: for the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth. It is a shame to put aside the religious drawl of verse 17. I can still hear the King's chorister reading this lesson. But it is not the covet we hear of in the ten wor... [Isaiah]

February 17, 5AM

Jeremiah 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103223)
Verse 19 - surely a central text in the mind of Yahweh, communicated through the prophet. God talking to himself... How will I do this? Verse 32 sums up the argument with an ellipsis (possibly) in the first half of the verse anticipating its completeness... [Jeremiah]

February 16, 5AM

Daniel 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103173)
Whew - more Aramaic - but a chapter with a slew of repetition. (Or so I thought.) This chapter is indeed full of repetition, but the words have variations in the lists. And the music is also varied. Daniel 3 verse 5 in part - music identical to verse 10... [Daniel]

February 15, 8PM

As part of this reading project, and of course, to save time and drudgery, I wrote a very simple algorithm to collect sequences of 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and single Hebrew words that I had already drafted, and find those sequences in parts that I had not yet draf... [reading project status]


Isaiah 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103111)
How much reading into the text should a reader or translator do? KJV has for verse 4: a cruel lord; and a fierce king. JB has a hard master, a cruel king..., NIV has essentially what KJV is (though not always). LXX: κυρίων σκληρῶν // κα... [Isaiah]

February 14, 5AM

This chapter has some differences with 2 Samuel 5 its parallel. The Chronicler has David actively bearing (נשא) the kingdom for the people. Here the kingdom is lifted up (נשא) passive for the people. In both cases we can see that the king can miss t... [1 Chronicles]

February 13, 5AM

2 Samuel 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#103010)
Verse 8 is an incomplete 'challenge' to David's soldiers. Bibles tend to gloss a prohibition related to an undefined house. I have let the muttering stand as related to the inside as is referenced in verse 9. There is of course an insult to David, typic... [2 Samuel]

February 12, 5AM

1 Kings 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102964)
I don't know quite how to read the משׁל governance issue of Solomon. It sounds to me like he was a powerful business magnate (not their king מלך) with a number of powerful friends in neighboring countries. I never get the impression that e.g. Hiram... [1 Kings]

February 11, 5AM

Numbers 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102937)
What I usually think of as a singular pronoun, הוא in verses 18-20 and elsewhere, is used and seems to indicate a plurality. While I have rendered them in the plural they, sometimes I wonder if they should read as he or it. I am also intrigued by ל... [Numbers]

February 10, 5AM

Psalms 51 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102912)
Psalms 51 Fn Min Max Syll לַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ מִזְמ֥וֹר לְדָוִֽד 1 For the leader. A psalm of David, 3e 3f 9 בְּֽבוֹא־אֵ֭לָיו נָתָ֣ן הַנָּבִ֑יא כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֝֗א אֶל־בַּת... [Psalms]

February 9, 5AM

Genesis 28 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102856)
The instruction to Jacob from Isaac has a number of surprises for me. It is far more inclusive than I expected. "and may you be a congregation of peoples". And all this because of the deception of Sarah. Yes - it is her doing, her scheme, her (l... [Genesis]

February 8, 5AM

Psalms 50 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102800)
Psalms 50 Fn Min Max Syll מִזְמ֗וֹר לְאָ֫סָ֥ף אֵ֤ל ׀ אֱ‍ֽלֹהִ֡ים יְֽהוָ֗ה דִּבֶּ֥ר וַיִּקְרָא־אָ֑רֶץ מִמִּזְרַח־שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ עַד־מְבֹאֽוֹ 1 A psalm of As... [Psalms]

February 7, 5AM

Isaiah 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102739)
Two chapters in succession! Chapter 13 was intriguing so I thought we had better continue. The restoration is in language that seems to go well beyond restoration. Verse 4. The stem דהב is unique in the Hebrew text but recurs several times in the Aram...

February 6, 5AM

Isaiah 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102696)
This is the fifteenth occurrence encountered so far of what must be many prophecies of the day of Yahweh. The first two that we have encountered in Isaiah. One chapter (13) so far in Ezekiel has the phrase. The twelve have the rest (Amos, Obadiah, Malachi... [Isaiah]

February 5, 5AM

1 Kings 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102646)
This won't be a surprise. The automation got 80% of this chapter from the last one and a few other verses from other chapters of Chronicles. There are slight differences in most verses. Verse 1 - an odd juxtaposition of לְשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה, of... [1 Kings]

February 4, 5AM

Wisdom and shrewdness are the same stem for me.  I use one or the other almost at a whim. Solomon here exhibits the kind of planning and engineering that creates a wealthy show. We already know he used enforced labour of guests in the land for his bui... [2 Chronicles]

February 3, 5AM

Ezekiel 37 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102584)
Ezekiel 37 verses 1-14 is sung here according to this music. (Probably with a few minor differences due to variations in accents between Letteris and the Aleppo/Leningrad codices). There were not too many surprises in this other than perhaps the extens... [Ezekiel]

February 2, 1PM

Psalm 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102572)
Parallelism takes second place to the music. If you follow the music, it seems to me that you never lose a parallel. But it is less obvious in print. Psalms 5 Fn Min Max Syll לַמְנַצֵּ֥חַ אֶֽל־הַנְּחִיל֗וֹת מִזְ... [Psalms]

February 1, 12 AM

"We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it. ..." "Can't all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose. "Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."1 Keep on blogging2 Tanakh R David Moster... [carnival]

January 31, 5AM

Ezekiel 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102437)
Verse 11, in the extended parable, the pronouns change here from feminine to masculine/neuter. I have altered the text to read clouds (עבים) rather than cords (עבתים). This being a dirge (qinah), it should be in qinah meter. Like Lamentations... [Ezekiel]

January 30, 5AM

Psalm 82 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102395)
Psalms 82 Fn Min Max Syll מִזְמ֗וֹר לְאָ֫סָ֥ף אֱ‍ֽלֹהִ֗ים נִצָּ֥ב בַּעֲדַת־אֵ֑ל בְּקֶ֖רֶב אֱלֹהִ֣ים יִשְׁפֹּֽט 1 A psalm of Asaph. God takes a stand in the divine assembly,... [Psalms]

January 29, 5AM

2 Kings 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102359)
For some reason, we have not looked at much of the Elijah, Elisha cycle. Like many sections still to be read, the Joseph story, Ezekiel's temple, and probably others, this will be a fascinating read. I have from 2008 San Diego SBL an exploration of the or... [2 Kings]

January 28, 5AM

Psalm 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102322)
Psalms 3 Fn Min Max Syll מִזְמ֥וֹר לְדָוִ֑ד בְּ֝בָרְח֗וֹ מִפְּנֵ֤י ׀ אַבְשָׁל֬וֹם בְּנֽוֹ 1 A psalm of David, when he ran away from the face of Absalom his son. 3e 4C 5 10 יְ֭הוָה מָ...

January 27, 5AM

1 Samuel 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102288)
For some reason I have shied away from the former prophets. I bet it was the flannel board teaching of these stories from my pre-school days. I don't know. But even when studying the Psalms in depth I did not do the research I needed to do into the life o... [1 Samuel]

January 26, 5AM

Psalm 78 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102237)
Here's a psalm that will keep you reading for a while. This is the longest poem in the Bible. (Psalm 119 is 22 short poems all linked by the 8 synonyms for Torah - not that this should lead us to a careless use of language - or maybe it should). The stat... [Psalms]

January 25, 5AM

Genesis 27 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102180)
I oscillate between my child, and my son. Clearly I could be gender specific here. Your trident תלי. All I know is it is not a quiver אשׁפה. And I don't know that these are weapons or if venison is the target. (I have never used weapon so it wou... [Genesis]

January 24, 5AM

Psalm 112 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102125)
This post continues the one on Psalm 111. Each of the gem-like acrostic poems celebrates Psalm 110, the germ of incarnation, Yahweh's anointed embodying Yahweh. The one who fears God is compared to Yahweh in these two poems. Such a person is a disciplin... [Psalms]

January 23, 5AM

Daniel 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102071)
This is a very funny story. So enjoy. Time and season are issues. Daniel requests a season זמן. But the king is not predisposed to the magicians to give them עדן. The time to do the task. Discovering glosses is curious for this change of language... [Daniel]

January 22, 5AM

Psalms 111 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#102010)
Slowing down? Yes to some extent. So to keep up a single post per day, I am going to intersperse a Psalm every few days. I will try to cover the Psalms related to the Revised Common Lectionary during the week. Here then is Psalm 111, one of a doublet of ... [Psalms]

January 21, 5AM

Ezekiel 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101979)
The chapter begins and ends with riddle, and like one or two the parables of Jesus in Matthew, in this case, we also have an explanation from the text itself. Perhaps it is even a taste of the character of Ezekiel, visionary and poet. Many of us are suffi... [Ezekiel]

January 20, 5AM

Psalms 139 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101941)
Psalm 139 has had some press from a local colleague here (and at the related links on his page), so here is my translation from several years ago. In the three books, Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, an additional major disjunction occurs, the ole-veyored, a ... [Psalms]

January 19, 5AM

I keep working on Daniel in the background trying to become more familiar with the Aramaic turn of phrase. Meanwhile in 2 Chronicles, the same stems used elsewhere are applied to the capacity of the molded brass sea on the 12 oxen. This is a large capacit... [2 Chronicles]

January 18, 5AM

Isaiah 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101846)
The sequence in which I do these chapters is almost random now. I pick where there are holes to fill and from the top or from the bottom of the list left to do. It is curious that Isaiah 10 came up shortly after I began Leviticus 6 where the word for burn... [Isaiah]

January 17, 5AM

Leviticus 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101810)
Given that the prior post is mid-chapter depending on whether one is reading the English or the Hebrew, I have done the two in succession. Lifting high or exalting the fat after it has been a burning mass all night seems to imply that דשׁן means ashe... [Leviticus]

January 16, 5AM

Leviticus 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101742)
I noted the use of join as in join house to house (נגע, also touch, contagion) in 2 Chronicles 3. Now I see that the exception named with respect to the squab of a dove is phrased three different ways in Leviticus. In this chapter, verses 7 and 11, and... [Leviticus]

January 15, 5AM

A snippet of Psalm 19 from 2006 When you have 929 chapters to read from a distant time in a distant place in an unfamiliar culture, there are oddball milestones along the way every 99 chapters following the first 19. I reported one in October when I had... [reading project status]

January 14, 5AM

Verse 5, JB has festoons for שׁרשׁרה, a nice word that I won't use since this שׁרשׁרה is a word used of the creation of the vestments in Exodus 28 and I should gloss it the same, links, even though it is not a golf course. Palm trees figur... [2 Chronicles]

January 13, 5AM

Ezekiel 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101642)
Fake news is not a new thing. This is a troublesome bit of puzzling. It seems to me that other translations are equally stumped, but they read so smoothly you wouldn't know it. נפשׁ occurs frequently here, 8 times. It seems to me to refer to competing... [Ezekiel]

January 12, 5AM

Exodus 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101594)
Egypt gets its act together here. The predicament of the exploited is summarized under verse 16, and the sin is your people. If only we could find Pharaoh today to talk to him so plainly. But we know we are still early in the oncoming catastrophe for 'the... [Exodus]

January 11, 8PM

Genesis 26 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101575)
I think in my mind I have always downplayed Isaac. But here he is clearly a digger of wells, and that famous place Beersheva is simply Well Seven. Who knew? So how many Hittite wives did Esau take? See also chapter 36. Genesis 26 Fn Min Max Syll ... [Genesis]

January 10, 11PM

I watched an old version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by Le Carré the other day and a schoolboy reading the lesson from the King James Bible got stuck on the word shew. How much more should we get stuck on the word shewbread? shoebread? (Indeed it is mar... [2 Chronicles]

January 9, 5AM

1 Kings 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101456)
This chapter is shorter than the English versions. The next is longer. The word nourish occurs here, it might seem odd. But hold horses till we see its use also in the next chapter. There could be some tension yet in my resolution of the glosses for this ... [1 Kings]

January 8, 5AM

Numbers 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101407)
The anger burns (v 9) - there is no atnah in the verse, no rest point. I have glossed ענו as afflicted or gentle. I chose gentle here. Moses has a brother and a sister. Perhaps there are a few thoughts about sibling rivalry in this passage also. Note... [Numbers]

January 7, 5AM

Genesis 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101373)
Verse 7 - I do not need to be so literal with numbers, but this is here just for fun and for the music. Rashi has this note: When he was one hundred years old, he was as one who is seventy years old, and when he was seventy years old, he was as one who ... [Genesis]

January 6, 5AM

Numbers 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101360)
One can imagine the sense of verse 32, but it is grammatically awkward and it seems an impossible promise, unless to be with the chosen is to have also been chosen. But there is no divine passive here. Moses speaks as having the power to share the good of... [Numbers]

January 5, 5AM

Interesting for the history, detail or not, and for the variations in grammatical form. David and Josiah get the detail. Singular and plural seem odd at times. The computer translates בן as son or child. I have left it as guessed rather than trying to m... [1 Chronicles]

January 4, 5AM

Ezekiel 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101261)
Ezekiel 10 Fn Min Max Syll וָאֶרְאֶ֗ה וְהִנֵּ֤ה אֶל־הָרָקִ֙יעַ֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ הַכְּרֻבִ֔ים כְּאֶ֣בֶן סַפִּ֔יר כְּמַרְאֵ֖ה דְּמ֣וּת כִּסֵּ֑א... [Ezekiel]

January 3, 5AM

Exodus 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101205)
What are these parlor tricks that Yahweh is doing here? We read later that the rod into snake trick is duplicated by the Egyptians so we know it can't be much of a test of the divine word. Anyone 'in the world' can make a straight line crooked. And the fl... [Exodus]

January 2, 5AM

This sounds like a humdinger of a party, this massive Passover. The language seemed different and I almost got so stuck, I was going to start another chapter. (I do this sometimes, a verse at a time here and there, testing out how difficult the chapter wi... [2 Chronicles]

January 1, 5AM

I am reviewing the Biblical studies carnivals for the year to see who is active and what is being written about in this field. Am I missing sources? Carnivals were very regularly controlled this past twelve months by Phil Long. January saw the carnival ... [carnival]

December 31, 5AM

Numbers 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101075)
The use of curse in this passage has nothing to do with the English nickname for monthly periods in a woman. It is ארר, the only word I use for curse. It is the language of treaty and covenant. See Deuteronomy 27-28 for examples. The KJV uses curse for... [Numbers] [offering types]

December 30, 5AM

Isaiah 56 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#101044)
This is rather depressing. In the face of an extended promise, there is no response. Isaiah 56 Fn Min Max Syll כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה שִׁמְר֥וּ מִשְׁפָּ֖ט וַעֲשׂ֣וּ צְדָקָ֑ה כִּֽי־קְרו... [Isaiah]

December 29, 5AM

Exodus 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100998)
I could not think of a suitable synonym for burglar, so I left digs hard, my only gloss for this stem so far. I could have used burglar but that overlapped with another relatively rare word already apt for that gloss. Verse 22 uses the doubling of stems ... [Exodus]

December 28, 5AM

How does one fight ___ enemies (verse 4). Fill in the blank. If I use על or ב or ים? Then what? Is it always against in the blank? Or is that all we can imagine? Our excuse for this chapter is in Judges 3. There have to be some enemies left in the l... [Deuteronomy]

December 27, 5AM

Who knew leprosy was such a complex disease. The detail here I may well not have expressed in the most perfect medical terminology. I have been working this chapter for more than a month. A difficult thought process to read an ancient medical handbook. T... [Leviticus]

December 26, 5AM

Isaiah 34 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100865)
I am filling in a few gaps and then expect to start some sequences as a strategy for completing this project. This chapter pointed out some issues for me around the verb to meet, and my concordance rules in other chapters in Exodus and Numbers. It is alwa... [Isaiah]

December 25, 1PM

Diana started a letter and I finished it. That was quick. [Christmas newsletters]


Psalms 97 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100826)
Looking for a Christmas read in TNK. Christmas readings from the Revised Common Lectionary Year A, B or C: Isaiah 9 or Isaiah 62 or Isaiah 52, Psalms 96, 97. (Below) I will save Psalm 98 for next year. Psalms 97 Fn Min Max Syll יְהוָ֣ה מָ... [Psalms]

December 24, 2PM

Memories by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100807)
Uncle Ted, died at Vimy Ridge - just over 100 years ago This is from a reminder present from son, Jeremy, who got us to go and visit the grave in 2004. Jeremy standing in a farmer's field in France The inscription in the official record: BROWN, Lieut...


Joshua 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100790)
Men or persons, take your choice. They are referred to once as singular. I made it awkward to have an extra syllable in the English gloss. (More for the music! - to which I not paying much attention these days.) Raxab, to distinguish the harlot from the ...

December 23, 5AM

Genesis 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100769)
Some sections, are much more fun than expected. I work under constraint so I am not free to make the English normal. I am letting my now 70% completed glossary guide me. I see multiple places where it needs correcting and I do that, but equally sometimes ... [Genesis]

December 22, 5AM

Ezekiel 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100707)
Ezekiel 8 is here. It has been a few months. I had forgotten. Who is who? What is the nature of the striking? How many groups are defined by the graffiti? Funny word graffiti - but mark I have used elsewhere. Mark is a dark sound. The word is used of Dav... [Ezekiel]

December 21, 5AM

Isaiah 51 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100644)
This chapter underlines the role of Israel in the fulfillment of the purposes of God. True to the Christian, Jesus is this vine, but the vine is not without branches who suffer with it. And, more to the point who drink that heated cup. Notice the role of ... [Isaiah]

December 20, 5AM

1 Samuel 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100599)
Depart vs deport vs gone or whatever... probably exiled is more suitable. The verb is גלה. Gone is a non-starter. גלה is too specific. It does not fit in with generic words of movement of people or goods. It has the sense also of uncovered or disclo... [1 Samuel]

December 19, 5AM

Ezekiel 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100534)
Ezekiel never seems to tire of consequences. The כַּנְפ֥וֹת of the earth occurs in several places where it is not likely to be land. So I have left earth here. I don't see why our wings are spared, whether the earth is the ground (אדמה) we... [Ezekiel]

December 18, 5AM

Leviticus 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100489)
What to do with handful, fistful. What is this extraction from the oblation. Remember also that rich word קרב, (do a find ctrl-f to see how often the first two letters occur in this chapter). קרב 'means' one of: approach (69) bring near (95) brin... [Leviticus]

December 17, 5AM

Exodus 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100457)
Who is the speaker in the second half of verse 3? The pronouns are all singular. רפד is the stem for the place name Rephidim. What can we get from this stem? Check out the Song. Try 2:5 and 3:10. Amalek is figurative. The battle is close, severe, and ... [Exodus]

December 16, 5AM

Genesis 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100427)
It's an odd phrase in verse 4. The word did not come to him or happen to him, but we the reader are asked to take note. Not a bad instruction before going outside to ponder the stars.  אמן followed by ב with Yahweh occurs only 5 times. Here (v 6), ... [Genesis]

December 15, 5AM

With the last post I am at 70% complete. Who knew that 650, 50*13 was 70% of the chapter count in TNK? Unless I am missing something, that leaves 279 chapters left to read. Some of these are in chunks and I may elect to do them in sequence! E.g. Genesis, ... [reading project status]
Genesis 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100362)
I have done a few silly things with the names. Hm (הם) is written that way just to distinguish it from Noah's son's name which is actually Xam (חם), but I couldn't spell it like that. (It's not easy to see the difference, just a little air in the left... [Genesis]

December 14, 5AM

Isaiah 50 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100316)
The chiaasm of verse 1 is clear: Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 Stem אמכם your mother ░ אם אשׁר whom ░ אשׁר שׁלחתיה I have dismissed ░ ... [Isaiah]

December 13, 5AM

Ezekiel 40 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100261)
The cubit (אמה) and the mother (אם), singular and plural. It is common even in modern Hebrew to have a singular noun for larger numbers when English would have a plural. And cubit is one of those stems whose plural can be confused (אמות) with I ... [Ezekiel]

December 12, 5AM

Moving right along, sometimes on the path of least resistance. I will admit about this public reading I sometimes wonder why I am doing it. The axes I used to grind have long since disintegrated. But there is something to caring for the disadvantaged. T... [2 Chronicles]

December 11, 5AM

This is more different that I expected from 2 Samuel 24. Worth considering how the same story gets coloured and told quite differently. God and the accuser make appearances, but Yahweh is still involved. There is no detailed itinerary for the visitation a... [1 Chronicles]

December 10, 5AM

2 Samuel 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100105)
You can look these places in the journey up (sort of) on a map. They start by travelling towards modern day Jordan through some places that are not identifiable, into the land of Dan north of Kinnereth, then further north to Sidon where they turn south to... [2 Samuel]

December 8, 12 PM

Targets by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#100051)
People often ask, Where should I start to read the Hebrew Bible? Ha! If there ever was a loaded question that's it. Why should you read, why would you want to, what will we do with the choices, all bound up in a 'where should I start' question. I am now... [reading project status]


It is not surprising that Leviticus 18 would be 60% guessed after Leviticus 20 was done. It should have been higher but I had some confusion in the stems of chapter 18. After sorting this out I see that the two chapters share 80% of their words. The subj... [Leviticus]

December 7, 5AM

I was so tempted to allow set my face against as a gloss for נתן followed by את פנה ב (verse 3 and elsewhere) and then I see the stem שום that I use as set used with את פנה, (verse 4) so I am happy to keep the distinction in English sinc... [Leviticus]

December 6, 5AM

Ezekiel 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99910)
What to do with חלל, usually rendered by me as related to profane. JB just leaves the word out (rendered as men). KJV renders it frequently as slain. I have, true to my rules, not allowed slain, slew, since this for me and others is הרג. And in this... [Ezekiel]

December 5, 5AM

Joshua 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99856)
How revealing is it that grace is denied to the seven nations that are described in the first 3 verses? Joshua 11 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְהִ֕י כִּשְׁמֹ֖עַ יָבִ֣ין מֶֽלֶךְ־חָצ֑וֹר וַיִּשְׁלַ֗ח אֶל... [Joshua]

December 4, 5AM

Ezekiel 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99808)
This text, like much of TNK, was written largely for the male. It could be seen as quite anti feminist. But perhaps this is simply because the male is largely responsible for sin in the world. He spends much of his time blaming the female, but he is lying... [Ezekiel]

December 3, 5AM

Genesis 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99774)
Hagar conceives and Sarai is slighted. Note the use of המס violence (JB insult, KJV wrong) in Sarai's speech. Like all married couples, there is a touch of friction in this relationship. The Sarah-Hagar axis is equally complex and not such good news fo... [Genesis]

December 2, 5AM

Ezekiel 33 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99737)
There is an interesting pair of words in the final verses, playing on the idea of a voice as beautiful, using the word commonly rendered as pipes. (Psalm 150:4, Genesis 4:21) A tenor with good pipes is sometimes an asset, but here the pipes of the people ... [Ezekiel]

December 1, 5AM

Isaiah 21 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99674)
You know this one. The label watchman, need not change, since the root is שׁמר. Abbey Road, October 1939 HMV C1324 Lots of questions here about what's going on. Imagery obscure, actors uncertain. Maybe will be clearer when more of Isaiah is done. ... [Isaiah]

November 30, 5AM

Genesis 23 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99614)
We first met Heit (trad. Heth from אתת dismay) in Genesis 10 as one of the children of Caanan, who is one of the four named children of Ham. Both H's are the hard H that I sometimes render as X or ch. I am somewhat intrigued with the bargaining in thi... [Genesis]

November 29, 5AM

Isaiah 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99564)
People told me that these nonsense names were untranslatable. Such is not the case. Take care what you are told. As some great systems thinker said - It's not what you don't know that hurts you, it's what you know that isn't so.  Anyway, the name means p... [Isaiah]

November 28, 5AM

Ezekiel 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99507)
It is somewhat difficult to say much about this terrible prophecy. From a language point of view, it is pretty straightforward. Lots of heat and destruction. I do note that for the preterite, I could probably drop the 'and' connector. It is, however, a sy... [Ezekiel]

November 27, 5AM

Isaiah 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99468)
I did not plan this passage for the Advent / Christmas season. It just happened that way. I am surprised at what I find. The prophecy is political. There is no 'sign' as such (apart from the names of the children). A young woman is pregnant and gives birt... [Isaiah]

November 26, 1PM

Isaiah and Ezekiel are the only two books with more than 30 chapters remaining. So I am pushing these two down. Isaiah remains different. My guesswork is only as high as 43% at the moment. The more of this prophet I do, the better the guesses will be. (Pe... [reading project status]

12 AM

Mystery and music permeated my thoughts while working on this chapter on the Torah. A good mystery writer will find a way to illustrate verse 11. It is a suitable evocation of the implications of the commandment. All relationships pinned to truth. Such a ... [Leviticus]

November 25, 5AM

Ezra 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99410)
Aramaic is not familiar to me. Its parsing varies from Hebrew binyanim. Construct is often explicitly helped by a preposition. Its words have many similar meanings if not identical but there are many overlaps that slow my reading down. In the Hebrew chapt... [Ezra]

November 24, 5AM

Joshua 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99378)
More on the borders. Interesting that forced labour exists here between different classes of people. Plus ça change. Joshua 16 Fn Min Max Syll וַיֵּצֵ֨א הַגּוֹרָ֜ל לִבְנֵ֤י יוֹסֵף֙ מִיַּרְדֵּ֣ן יְרִ... [Joshua]

November 23, 5AM

A short chapter, sure, but it raises questions about the language that point to where I hope to see when I am finished. In part I am reading for language usage. I began because of the use of the Psalms in the Epistle to the Hebrews. I wanted to hear how J... [1 Chronicles]

November 22, 10AM

The cleansing after a birth. Leviticus 12 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר 1 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 3e 3g 10 דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵ... [Leviticus]


I have spent the last 5 days deep in analysis of English glosses. I managed to get them more or less into lemma form. The number of exceptions ending in 'er' is somewhere around 250. The two letter combos that demand a silent e are about 45 and there are ... [reading project status]

November 19, 2PM

One tends to take one's own tongue for granted. The last three days I have been running some tests improving my very ad hoc algorithms to try to discover where I am breaking my rules. Essentially this is a move from gloss to lemma, the form you would find... [grammar] [reading project status] [translation]

November 15, 10PM

Ezekiel 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#99007)
You know, there are times when I don't know if this exercise in reading is useful. It is hard to read with such rigidity. But - rigidity can be softened I suppose when the strict task is done. Here in verse 14, JB has an unsheathed sword following the exi... [Ezekiel]

November 14, 12 PM

Ezekiel 36 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98944)
There are clearly parts of this that I have never read before. Probably skimmed it in some English version on a bus to work some morning in the late '60s, but never noticed or even could have noticed what it said. This is a remarkable description of the t... [Ezekiel]

November 13, 3PM

Some parallels in 2 Kings 16, done last year.  I have always wondered about the fires these people made their children pass through. Now I see it is related to a somewhat archaic word that I needed to use and which we see in the traditional name Shrove... [2 Chronicles]

November 12, 5AM

Verse 11 - what is the antecedent of 'and them' just at the mid point of the verse. JB and NIV interpret as 'all his offerings' (not a bad guess). There is no preposition in the second half of that verse, the door is in apposition to Yahweh. This chapter... [Leviticus]

November 10, 10AM


A very short chapter. I have been working on Leviticus 14. It is long like 1 Chronicles 2. So I need a break. This chapter is really short like the two from Isaiah recently. Jeremiah 47 Fn Min Max Syll אֲשֶׁ֨ר הָיָ֧ה דְבַר־יְה... [Jeremiah]
Did you ever get to read a passage with a ton of names in a Sunday School class? These names are a very complex jumble. This genealogy focuses on David, and leaves out whole successions of other children of Israel. One initially expects X had A, B, and C... [1 Chronicles]

November 9, 5AM

Isaiah 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98703)
This, like the previous chapter, is part of a larger section in Isaiah of 'oracles' against the nations (chapters 13 to 23). There are similar sections in the other prophets. (Jeremiah 46-51, Ezekiel 25-32, and lesser sections in the 12, Joel 4, Amos 1, O... [Isaiah]

November 8, 5AM

Isaiah 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98651)
I am taking line by line as a reflection of a commonly used word in Isaiah 28 which seems to be linked to instruction ignored. The imagery, the target location of the oracle is obscure to me. Cush is Ethiopia but who is the nation drawn out and pared? And... [Isaiah]

November 7, 5AM

Genesis 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98599)
For some background on circumcision and completeness see this article. It is a total coincidence that this excellent explanation of Rabbinic thinking has appeared (via Jim Davila) as I start this chapter. Take it as a gift. The dialogue with Abram is of ... [Genesis]

November 6, 11AM

Here's the status as of today.  So e.g. for Genesis, there are 28 chapters left to do, guessed between 33% and 55%. Or for Deuteronomy, 6 chapters left with guessed words ranging by chapter from 40% (.4 blue) to 55%. You can see the uniqueness of Isaiah ... [reading project status]


Ezekiel 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98543)
This is a comprehensive review of the binding of Yahweh's hands. They are bound for the sake of the rest of the nations in the world. The character of God is to be bound for the good of the world. This is grounded in Tanach. Ezekiel 20 Fn Min Max Syl... [Ezekiel]

November 4, 7AM

Genesis 21 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98485)
There are a few surprises here. Isaac, however you spell it is not as polite as laughter. It is more like making sport of someone. In this chapter in the KJV and NIV it is inconsistently applied to Sarah and Ishmael as if God would not make sport of anyon...

November 2, 10PM

Isaiah 62 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98413)
I counted the chapters remaining in each book and it is clear that Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Genesis are lagging behind. So to get some respite from purity laws, I thought these three should catch up a bit. So here's a start with Isaiah 62, reflecting back on ... [Isaiah]


Numbers 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98404)
After Leviticus 15, what should rise to the top of the list (only 58% guessed - but that's a good start) but Numbers 19, the red heifer. The colour scarlet crimson here once and twice in Leviticus, is used 25 times in Exodus with the same stems in revers... [Numbers]

November 1, 12 PM

Doug Chaplin has posted a very thoughtful carnival here. [carnival]

October 31, 5PM

In this chapter of Leviticus, I was laying out the puzzle pieces and I came across several changes required in chapters I had already 'done'. Again in each case, the pieces, as in a well made puzzle, now seem to fit a little better and have clearer colour... [Leviticus]

October 29, 8PM

Status by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98168)
In my reading project to date, I have read in Hebrew and writ in English 613 chapters. And I have therefore 316 remaining. This is a unique status, a circular status. Perhaps that is why there are 929 chapters. But who knows, I may discover I am still mis... [reading project status]


Genesis 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98169)
I have never noted before that Sarah was reproved. This word is a keyword for the interpretation of the book of Job. (See Susannah Ticciati's book on Job.) JB says of these words in verse 16 וְאֵ֥ת כֹּ֖ל וְנֹכָֽחַת that they resist... [Genesis]

12 AM

Exodus 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98148)
As often, when there is a real story in the text, it is not what I was expecting. וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לָֽרָשָׁ֔ע לָ֥מָּה תַכֶּ֖ה רֵעֶֽךָ and he said to the one in the wrong [lit.wicked one], Why do you strike your associ... [Exodus]

October 27, 10AM

What does the spirit do? Saul [Sheol, the grave] is a difficult character. His battle against the flesh (Amalek) is ambiguous. His name indicates that Yahweh is still the one who reigns even in deadly times. 1 Samuel 11 Fn Min Max Syll וַיַּ֗ע... [1 Samuel]

October 26, 12 PM

Ezekiel 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#98041)
This is a bit more fun than Leviticus, so I choose from the middle of my list. The top is packed with chapters from Leviticus. In spite of all my agonizing over words, much of this is quite straightforward. Ezekiel 11 Fn Min Max Syll וַתִּשׂ... [Ezekiel]


The first time one reads this corpus, one likely gets little from it. This is true also of the subtleties of reading in a tongue that is not one's own and one notes that the reading alters one's own tongue. My rigidity may not make good sense in some cas... [translation]


בְּעֵ֥ין דּֽוֹר - could be translated as 'in the eye of a generation'. The woman of Endor would be a seer. The word I have rendered as superior, is the word for husband, Baal, בעל. The algorithm keeps translating Saul as the grave and tri... [1 Samuel]

October 25, 4AM

After Deuteronomy 14, we should have expected a set of parallels somewhere to pop up. And here it is in Leviticus 11, more beasts and fish. Note vulture is in this chapter דאה and in Deuteronomy ראה. You can see how easily these two might be confu... [Leviticus]

October 24, 4AM

With this chapter, we have read the 'beginning' and the 'end' of Deuteronomy. chapters 20-25 remain. The book is at nearly 90% complete. On the one hand I am delighted because Deuteronomy was Peter Craigie's specialty. And this week was the anniversary of... [Deuteronomy]

October 23, 8AM

Another short chapter. There is work going on behind the scenes though on long chapters. A full year appears to be just 'days' ימים by itself. Verse 7. This is the only verse I have seen with a rest between the subject and the predicate. (Music here... [1 Samuel]

October 22, 4AM

Isaiah 35 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97833)
Another short chapter of Isaiah, just to keep the wheels turning. Isaiah 35 Fn Min Max Syll יְשֻׂשׂ֥וּם מִדְבָּ֖ר וְצִיָּ֑ה וְתָגֵ֧ל עֲרָבָ֛ה וְתִפְרַ֖ח כַּחֲבַצָּֽלֶת 1 Wilderness... [Isaiah]

October 21, 11PM

This article is outstanding. [Links]

October 20, 9PM

Joshua 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97796)
This chapter continues the less appealing parts of the canon. I have allowed the name Ai to stand translated as Shambles. We are a shambles. But one has to work very hard to explain away the ban by allegory. The word for scale is the same as used in the s... [Joshua]


1 Samuel by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97745)
A short chapter while I move my office back home. 1 Samuel 5 Fn Min Max Syll וּפְלִשְׁתִּים֙ לָֽקְח֔וּ אֵ֖ת אֲר֣וֹן הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיְבִאֻ֛הוּ מֵאֶ֥בֶן הָעֵ֖זֶר אַשְׁדּ... [1 Samuel]

October 18, 5PM

Isaiah 40 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97653)
Nothing exposes one's constraints or one's butchery more than reading a familiar chapter. I (sometimes) regret we have given up the distinction between the singular and plural you in English (Ye and Thee). We lose out here. There is little appeal in the ... [Isaiah]

October 16, 11PM

Isaiah 33 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97549)
Six hundred and one, chapters done. I got ahead of myself last week and had several chapters pre-scheduled - so my regular posts came out even though I was sort of elsewhere - undergoing nasty medical tests. Yesterday I started working on Isaiah 33, the ... [Isaiah] [translation]


Joshua 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97509)
I will admit I am not much fond of this book under the name of Joshua. But that's because I have never read it except in translation. Joshua 7 Fn Min Max Syll וַיִּמְעֲל֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל מַ֖עַל בַּחֵ֑... [Joshua]

October 15, 4AM

After listing all the things Yahweh does not want from the people, the text is simply this: Complete you will be with Yahweh your God. Remember how important that word complete was in the Psalms. תם is The End for a film. To be complete in the mystery... [Deuteronomy]

October 14, 4AM

We are ploughing through Leviticus because there is a great deal of internal repetition in this operations manual for the temple sacrifices. Every time we do a chapter, it stimulates the guesswork in others. As I start chapter 7, the chapters remaining to... [Leviticus]

October 13, 4AM

You may think some of my phrasing is amusing, but not much beats the flat nose of the KJV in this chapter. (Unless of course this is translation reflecting a racial profile.) Rather than this, let's remember Song 4. In projecting the ideal physique onto ... [Leviticus]

October 12, 4AM

2 Samuel 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97325)
If you read, I will be had in honour, it seems impossible to me to hear, I will be glorified. I think of glory as not synonymous with honour. Honour is more a consequence of glory. So I cannot render כבד as anything but related to glory (or in a differ... [2 Samuel]

October 11, 4AM

The breach against Uzza. Note the odd phrasing in verse 2 anticipating the breach. David, like Yahweh burns. (It's the same word - and the same binyan.) I am thinking this is David, as the leader taking responsibility for the breach. Emotionally, what hap... [1 Chronicles]

October 10, 4AM

Given the preamble of 1 Chronicles 10 to the death of Saul and his children, here it is  from 1 Samuel 31 with some variations. 1 Samuel 31 Fn Min Max Syll וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים נִלְחָמִ֣ים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַי... [1 Samuel]

October 9, 4AM

Back-filling a bit. At one point I worked on David's lament over the death of Saul in 2 Samuel 1. This is part of its background.  I was going to work on Daniel 7, even though Leviticus was at the top of my list. But we had had enough of Leviticus f... [1 Chronicles]

October 7, 1PM

Here's an insight into the word I think is probably the most difficult to find an appropriate gloss for. In the first 63% of the Bible that I have read in Hebrew and written in English, here is an analysis of my glosses for the notorious נפשׁ, nun-pe... [fatigue] [glosses] [translation]


Verse 2 is hard to understand word for word. The first three tokens of the second part of the verse, אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֵ֧ם מַקְדִּשִׁ֛ים, are in a very strange order. I understand from a friend that Both Rashi and Nachmanides had problem... [Leviticus]

October 5, 8PM

Exodus 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97040)
This is a carefully told story. It is about salvation and the radical and complete job that the Lord has done to separate the sinner from the world that would enslave it. Egypt too must know so all 'the world' can be relieved of the failures we impose on ... [Exodus]


Joshua 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#97011)
More about borders and names. A curious read. Joshua 18 Fn Min Max Syll וַיִּקָּ֨הֲל֜וּ כָּל־עֲדַ֤ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ שִׁלֹ֔ה וַיַּשְׁכִּ֥ינוּ שָׁ֖ם אֶת־אֹ֣הֶל מו... [Joshua]

October 4, 3PM

Numbers 34 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#96975)
This is, I think, somewhat routine. Borders and principals who will inherit on behalf of each branch of the family. There is the rather daunting problem of naming people and places with some degree of consistency, which I have not done. Sometimes I am tra... [Numbers]

October 3, 6PM

Daniel 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#96923)
I have sung William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast but it has been a long time since I read it. I managed to do 7 verses from Daniel 5 about 3 days ago. I saw that it was taking me 20 to 30 minutes per verse. I had to investigate almost every word. It was... [Daniel]

October 2, 3AM

In Carnival 139,  at Reading Acts, Phil has kindly included my strange juxtapositions on the Blasphemer Narrative. I recall writing that post and deleting more comments than I left in. I have noted a large number of linkable articles, but I have not be... [carnival]

October 1, 1AM

1 Kings 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#96788)
A week off... And we begin with the parallel to 2 Chronicles 1 (though it is quite different) and the episode of the two newborns. There must be an analogy here. There is clearly a 'problem' or 'opportunity' with having multiple choices for English gloss... [1 Kings]

September 23, 1PM

This graph shows where I am in my reading project. The pace of reading has changed from the first two chapters (Psalms 1-2) which took several months in the summer of 2006, to roughly a chapter every day or two. (179 this year so far). It's a long and tor... [reading project status]

September 22, 11PM

The last puzzle pieces for the books of truth, ת Psalms, מ Proverbs, and א Job, אמת. I stuffed a few bits in that did not seem to fit well. I was doubting if I could even finish. (Holidays for the next week - no computer.) There are undoubtedly sev... [Proverbs]

September 21, 9PM

Numbers 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#96347)
Moving right along, not my favorite chapter in spite of the mention of Phineas in Psalm 106, the last poem of the 4th book of the psalms, the final poem on the history in the Psalter. The final verse in the Hebrew is clearly a half verse, a unique vers... [Numbers]

12 PM

Just reading the sections in Morrow's book An Introduction to Biblical Law on Sacrifice and gift offerings. I note a helpful simplification of the ideas of offering based on mode of consumption (page 140): unipolar, everything goes to God, bipolar, share... [offering types]

September 20, 3PM

Verse 13 is awkward. Translations correct it without comment. The translations are divided between Egypt (what is in the text) and Cilicia. Que or Kue is near or equivalent to Tarsus (in Cilecia). The sense of the last verses is obscure to me. (In fact th... [2 Chronicles]

September 19, 2PM

1 Kings 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#96218)
Recalling 1 Kings 2, this is the background of Adonijah's request for Abishag the Shunamite as his wife. Power, even political power, as well as holiness (I am just reading the sections in Bill Morrow's book Introduction to Biblical Law, on the Holiness c... [1 Kings]

September 18, 9PM

The summer is turning to fall and the wasps are drowsy. Well, one of them must have gotten into my software, because a part of it that I check with every completed chapter was not working. I asked myself why I was no longer seeing the concordance error li...

September 16, 10PM

One chapter of the books of truth left. One chapter of poetry. What will I do for respite? Verses 33-34 with preamble repeat a verse of chapter 6 with slightly differing spelling. Proverbs 24 Fn Min Max Syll אַל־תְּ֭קַנֵּא בְּאַ... [Proverbs]

12 PM

We are approaching 7 or more billion people. We have serious concerns over the climate and the resulting weather. Africa has not fared well since the '60s and the Kingston Trio's song, They're rioting in Africa... The lyrics are too apt. Claude Mariotti... [Kingston Trio]

September 15, 10AM

The Ambiguous Details of the Blasphemer Narrative, Leuchter, JBL, volume 130 #3 (2011) suggests that the story is meant to condemn the family and institutions founded by Solomon. There are some strange juxtapositions in this set of laws, following on from... [Leviticus]

September 13, 10PM

Exodus 21 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95938)
Here is another chapter of the covenant code (20:22-24:18). Ancient legal programming. This section is called after the word Mishpatim in verse 1, the judgments. The introduction to this case law in its different forms is very clearly outlined in Morrow'... [Exodus]

September 12, 12 PM

1 Kings 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95866)
David is candid with Solomon, with some rather astonishing admissions of failure as a father. Bathsheva's intervention is insidious and leads to much bloodshed. The construction of verse 4 is odd, having two open quotes (לאמר). Joab's daubing of blo... [1 Kings]

September 10, 12 AM

Which commandment is which? Bill Morrow in his book, Introduction to Biblical Law, shows that the 10 words are divided differently in three traditions: Jewish, Roman Catholic/Lutheran and Orthodox/Reformed. This curious difference made me look more closel... [Deuteronomy] [Exodus]

September 8, 9PM

Numbers 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95701)
When I come to generate the table from the database and I have not made any notes, it indicates that the reading was reasonably straightforward. In this one, the only thing I note that bugged me is what the computer first rendered as 'the hill of the h... [Numbers]

September 7, 10PM

Ezekiel 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95627)
Vengeance. What next? I must not forget my limited intent - to get through the reading, considering the underlay of the music. Let the reader then ponder the drama and its impact. Ezekiel 25 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהוָ... [Ezekiel]

September 6, 3PM

There are distractions in every project and I have resisted trying to solve the problems with the male domination of the English language. But my usage of it as a generic personal pronoun simply doesn't work. At some point I will have to change it! Perhap... [translation]


It is a source of manifold misconceptions that [Torah] is customarily translated "Law" ... George F Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era, cited in William Morrow, An Introduction to Biblical Law. This is to say that when w...

September 5, 2PM

Judges 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95508)
What a primitive lot. Must be a lot of primitives still around today to be proven, to see if discernment of the will of G-d is possible for humanity. Do we have to see war and violence to appreciate that it is futile even for self-interest? Judges 3 Fn... [Judges]


This chapter has lots of good advice that spoke to my concerns as I read it. There are also some favorite ones for those who are convinced by punishment as a model for behaviour. It astonishes me that Christendom should so have emphasized punishment. Ther... [Proverbs]

September 4, 11AM

Exodus 28 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95445)
Another largely repetitive component of the construction of the high priest's garment. The first word of verse 28 is curiously identical of the tense of the corresponding verse in chapter 38. וירכסו and they will tether or and they tethered? I just ... [Exodus]

September 3, 8PM

Exodus 39 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95410)
Alas, the cunning work of the KJV is so expressive. But it doesn't fit my concordance rules. I have already so compromised the common words for movement - go walk come enter etc, that I don't want to do a similar compromise with words for doing, making, c... [Exodus]

September 1, 12 AM

Numbers 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95286)
Numbers 2 couldn't be much further behind, even though the repetition is limited. It is a bit like translating a spread sheet or a grocery list. I am glad to say that 95% of the names and numbers were automated this time. It might be instructive to compar...

August 31, 6PM

Here is a bit of where I was October 26, 2015... Where are you again? Based on the automated look-ahead that I wrote in the last three weeks, I still have 75,699 unknown words, 139,330 that the computer can guess based on a single word, 22,835 that it h... [reading project status]
Numbers 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95272)
Numbers 1 has a large component of near but not exact repetition of phrases. Also I note a new phrase the dwelling-place of the testimony. I have used dwelling-place for משׁכנ from שׁכן and to date we have seen it frequently but usually not as co... [Numbers]


Exodus 23 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95257)
Here in this chapter there are a few new things. It has been rare if at all to see נפשׁ used as a verb. Here it is in verse 23. And a word everyone knows, forsake עזב appears also to have a homonym assist. This is quite a reversal. How does forsa... [Exodus]

August 29, 11PM

There is lots more to learn in the 40% of the chapters I have not yet read. What do you think of this data? These are the number of verses per chapter left in Exodus. The third column is the % that is automatically guessed. Are those near the bottom of th... [reading project status]


Numbers 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95137)
Large amounts of repetitive and near repetitive components of the puzzle. Lists of jobs and assignments for service related to the Levites. If you ever wondered what a Levite is, Numbers is where to ponder it. (I didn't use number for פקד for the usual... [Numbers]

August 28, 12 PM

Numbers 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#95082)
Another long chapter in which we meet again the parts of the sanctuary and the organization of those whose job was to care for it. Notice the frame of stranger within. And the outer frame of the use of firstborn. Verses 1-13 and 38-51 strange within and f... [Numbers] [recurring words] [translation]

August 26, 9PM

Four chapters left of poetry after this one. The words here are continually perplexing. The perplexity is made worse because of my rigid concordance rules. Unless the language changed between writing these and other sections of Scripture, (and it might we... [Proverbs]

August 25, 1PM

Ezekiel 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94976)
I do not know this book. Somehow it never comes up in the readings I have been exposed to over the last several decades. Ezekiel has the phrase my Lord Yahweh 217 times. Adonai Hashem would get around the prohibition of speaking the Holy Name. 81 of these... [Ezekiel]

August 24, 3PM

Exodus 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94921)
Never begin a story at the beginning. Having seen the final plague, and having wrestled with the impact of that word שׁלח, to send, we are at the onset of the sequence here. (These are the links to the other chapters in the story 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,... [Exodus]

August 23, 11PM

Exodus 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94876)
Another long chapter, and a strange ending for a number of reasons. The reading of בו - I have rigidly rendered as in it. It is like a refrain in the last several verses. There are 365 occurrences of this word and to date I have never rendered it with t... [Exodus]


Passover פסח and pass through עבר are unconnected in sound and share no letters. That they are connected in English is very misleading to the sense of the words. We might more accurately name the feast as Skip. The plague skips houses. I have avoid... [Exodus] [music] [reading and recitation] [recurring words] [translation]

August 21, 1PM

These maxims sort out the language. Verse 12 is a tweetable proverb for our time: A governor pays attention to a false word. All his ministers are wicked. מֹ֭שֵׁל מַקְשִׁ֣יב עַל־דְּבַר־שָׁ֑קֶר כָּֽל־מְשָׁרְ... [Proverbs]

August 20, 11AM

Numbers 27 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94726)
Forgive some odd spellings. I wish x were a more usable letter in English. It captures for me the guttural of ח in Hebrew. F too is not very useful (a פ without a dagesh). No`ah is not at all the same as Noah. The daughter's name has a guttural in the... [Numbers]

August 19, 11PM

Jehoram consolidated his throne with the blood of his own kin. No rest in the music of verse 16. There are a number of idiomatic uses of day in this chapter. The word occurs 8 times, 3 in verse 19 alone: לימים מימים and לימים שׁנים. An... [2 Chronicles]

August 18, 6PM

You will recognize most of this chapter from the previous post of 1 Kings 22. But there are a few minor differences. My automation achieved an 81% match. The little differences in spelling and grammar slow me down as I investigate, but it's good to be slo... [2 Chronicles]

August 17, 9PM

1 Kings 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94633)
Long chapter, wonder if we'll ever get out of Kings/Chronicles. Lots of minor issues too re my desire for 'concordance' and non-overlapping relations between Hebrew stems and English stems. Sometimes there are just too many Hebrew stems in the domain for ... [1 Kings]

August 14, 6PM

With a chapter from Kings one might expect a chapter of Chronicles to pop to the top of my list. And this short one did. A fascinating battle. The roles and actions of the women are key. In these chapters it is always difficult to keep the actors disti... [2 Chronicles]


2 Kings 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94447)
I could have been speaking to my shrink, and she said to me, Bob, where did you begin to go wrong that you wanted to change all the glosses in the English of the Hebrew Bible? And I answered, It was all the smiting. So now, she asked, you have all that ... [2 Kings]

August 11, 3PM

This is translation and it teaches me myriad lessons about languages, but I still think of it as a 'reading' project. We are now at the significant milestone of 555 chapters (out of 929) and so by this measure nearly 60% complete. Words in completed chap... [reading project status]


1 Samuel 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94364)
I suppose The House of the Butting Lamb is a neighborhood pub in the Mizpah. 1 Samuel 7 Fn Min Max Syll וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ אַנְשֵׁ֣י ׀ קִרְיַ֣ת יְעָרִ֗ים וַֽיַּעֲלוּ֙ אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֔ה... [1 Samuel]

August 10, 1PM

Joshua 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94311)
A short chapter but not without difficulty. Repeats aspects of the establishment of the cities differentiated for asylum (קלט). The word is  not refuge, חסה, a stem rarely used in Torah but frequent in the Psalms, where my gloss is the traditional ... [Joshua]

August 9, 5PM

Hear hear by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94250)
Hear, hear, is a commonplace phrase in the English of the town crier. I wonder if its provenance is from the Hebrew repetition of roots? Hebrew has frequent repetition of two identical roots in succession, usually in the form to do x you will do x. Somet... [personal theology] [recurring words]


Is Proverbs only second best poetry? Second best? to what? the Psalms? Job? It's an odd question. The three books of poetry are each unique in themselves. I admit that reading the traditional translations of Proverbs has generally left me cold apart from ... [Proverbs]

August 8, 4PM

Three chapters from the same book in a row! And not so easy either. I have been reduced to a sort of dynamic equivalence in one or two verses since the phrase from yesterday three [days], a somewhat common idiom (7 occurrences in Torah and Joshua) which ... [Deuteronomy] [grammar]

August 7, 12 PM

There are some doubled words that provide interesting patterns in this chapter. I note that הרם, utter destruction, the ban, has the same letters as רחם, compassion. Each occurs exactly twice in the chapter, compassion being the ultimate focus of th... [Deuteronomy]


Psalm 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94142)
I note in this article by John Meade on hidden Greek translations of the Hebrew c 325 CE that the historian Eusebius writes of a chaotic collection of translations at the time: And in addition to the well-known translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Th... [Psalms]

August 6, 9AM

From the extreme of theocracy, this chapter moves to presumption and thence to study of the canonical history in the care of the religious establishment (Torah). The sovereign is the individual. We are to be that royal priesthood. This is both an Old and ... [Deuteronomy] [personal theology]

August 5, 9AM

1 Kings 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#94068)
We have returned to the histories. Here is Solomon's chapter, the degeneration of the polity of the united monarchy. These are tensions that can be seen in the earliest history, as noted in Joshua 22. To speak of something as united is to recognize the r... [1 Kings]

August 3, 11PM

I did no suggestions for carnival this month. Just too busy, but the carnival master Ruben gave a nod to this blog, for which I am grateful. [carnival]


Joshua 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93915)
I am sure I have read this before and equally sure that I got next to nothing from it. This is religious politics continuing a process that began before the initial crossing of the Jordan. I know also that many people and institutions explained to me jus... [Joshua]

August 2, 3PM

How can we understand money? Cash in our pockets is one thing – or on our various devices like phones and computers. It is information, trust between us and the bank and the government, and we can spend it now. The now is crucial to our understanding of... [money and time]
I have now removed both mercy seat and loving-kindness everywhere from my completed chapters. They are not necessary to the translation. Their implications are fine, but to put them into the translation is to translate to a future that is not yet happened... [personal theology] [translation]

July 31, 1PM

Exodus 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93339)
Can't leave the frogs mid-story!  Yahweh is an insightful psychiatrist. We do not leave our possessions until we are seriously brought up short, and then when we have breathing-room, we indulge in a little self-glorification (כבד, glory, heavy, liver,... [Exodus]

July 30, 11PM

Exodus 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93340)
Often the more difficult areas to translate are those you are familiar with so you think you know them already. It is not so. Exodus as I noted earlier is about 'sending' not so much about 'letting go'. Everywhere that I have restored sending out to this ... [Exodus]

July 29, 10PM

All these are surely terse puzzles, every one, pair, trio, ... of them. Note the identity of verse 16 with 27:13, except the missing first letter, a weak ל, and verse 16 below has a ketiv that is masculine plural, where the qere and 27:13 are both femini... [Proverbs]

July 28, 9PM

Meaning by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93342)
Meaning what? Some resources: for children, This is not my hat. by Jon Klassen - look at the images. for adults - when one is too sure of something, Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication by Gunther Kress Look inside... [personal theology]

July 27, 3PM

Leviticus 10 Fn Min Max Syll וַיִּקְח֣וּ בְנֵֽי־אַ֠הֲרֹן נָדָ֨ב וַאֲבִיה֜וּא אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וַיִּתְּנ֤וּ בָהֵן֙ אֵ֔שׁ וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ עָלֶ֖יהָ ... [Leviticus]

July 26, 10PM

Exodus 35 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93344)
The chapter repeats some sections and phrases in Exodus 25. This feature of extensive repetition allows a reader and writer to correct their first impressions of a text when they meet it again (if one reads closely). At the same time, there is opportunity... [Exodus]

July 23, 4PM

Taking sporadic breaks over the next several weeks. Busy on other things. I will miss working on the puzzle, but it will still be there after whatever breaks I take. I picked a chapter of Jeremiah just to see what it was like after so much time on the c... [Jeremiah]

July 22, 12 AM

Pronouns are really strange. As you know, if you are reading with me or against me, I have sometimes used that two-letter word, it, for a generic non gender specific pronoun. Some pronouns are explicitly feminine when one would expect a masculine generic... [Leviticus]

July 20, 2PM

Numbers 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93347)
We are back to the chapters that are highly repetitive of words and word sequences. There is still some variation, but generally these next chapters of Torah are 55%-65% automatically glossed when I come to them. Psalms and Proverbs are different. It seem... [Numbers]

July 19, 4PM

Verse 7 needs an ole-veyored. I am surprised at its absence. The revia deals with the musical pause, but I don't observe them in my own punctuation. Are the slothful sluggard or the stupid dullard both examples of the weak (verse 17)?  There are gems i... [Proverbs]

July 18, 5PM

And G-d made web services, and extended markup language, and he said to the users, saying, Learn to control your data that you may understand the jots and tittles of your history and so learn to control your opinions. This is a chapter whose first verse ... [2 Samuel]

July 16, 2PM

Exodus 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93350)
The Exodus story is one of the formative stories. Plagues and 'freedom' from slavery. One cannot avoid hearing, let my people go, from the Spiritual, Go down Moses. way down in Egypt land Tell old Pharaoh Let my people go But the word is not go, but se... [Exodus]

July 14, 8PM

Isaiah 32 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93351)
Wood is gone from one root where it has been for 5 years. That is now forest everywhere to allow wood to be used for the wood of the altar. I am slow - I don't know quite why it took me so long to make this decision. I suppose it was because I was married... [Isaiah]


Isaiah 58 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93352)
This is remarkably apt for today's politics as was the previous chapter 5. I decided to do some low % Isaiah chapters. What a cool prophet. Isaiah will provide some ongoing respite from the more mechanical history when the challenge of Proverbs poetry is ... [Isaiah]

July 13, 10AM

Isaiah 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93353)
Well, I never expected this. It set me to hoots of laughter, but the perceived joke may now be muted. One would suspect a trap in this chapter, but not quite so much sarcasm as my computer driven suggestions gave to me for the language here. There is a w... [Isaiah]

July 12, 8PM

Psalm 38 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93354)
I am working on Isaiah 5, but with Isaiah and Proverbs I have been thinking about stupidity, the character of the sluggard. Stupid is a word that feels good on the tongue and lips. In some houses it is a swear word and it is forbidden to speak it. Good fo... [Psalms]

July 10, 11PM

This is more than awkward. The JB and REB make these make sense. It may be that the Proverbs are supposed to teach me more flexibility in my language. But if that, then are my concordance rules nonsense? These are really perplexing. E.g. verse 1 JB: Wh... [Proverbs]


Isaiah 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93356)
It's been a while since we did any of the latter prophets, so I picked a chapter at the bottom of my list, one with only 16% pre-guessed from work done so far. That means the words are in differing orders, or differing forms, or rare words not yet encount... [Isaiah]

July 9, 5PM

There's just too much to say about this. I have to figure out what's important and what's not. If I want anyone to continue this work, then I have to say how to manage the software app I have written. If I want to be corrected, then I have to find my ass... [reading project status] [translation]
Numbers 28 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93358)
This chapter was 70% done when I started because of its significant overlap with parts of Leviticus. So I did the top of my list even though it is time for a respite from the cult with a few more proverbs. There were also a number of other changes I caugh... [Numbers]

12 AM

Numbers 29 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93359)
There is much in common with Leviticus 23 here, so it rose to the top of my list of mostly automatically translated chapters. It is part of the final sections of Numbers that detail the regulations for sacrifices and appointed times. It is patterned and r... [Numbers]

July 7, 11PM

I think I have settled the classes of sacrifices (for now). They are almost all mentioned in this chapter. (The word for endowments,  מתן, is a bit of a surprise. As 'gift', I have seen it only as a bribe. I would have expected מנהח here. מתן i... [Leviticus] [offering types] [Semantic domains]

July 6, 11AM

A recent concert program included Lo, the full final sacrifice by Gerald Finzi. This accidental encounter reminded me of the metaphysical poets and how much I have loved them since my initial work with them in University and my lifelong singing of their t... [personal theology]

July 1, 5PM

Genesis 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93285)
Greg Jenks has posted on this bit of the lectionary this week, so I decided to see if I had any wits for it. I studied this text in 2003 at a conference in Cambridge mediated by Jacob and Jo Milgrom on the Hebrew roots of Christian sacrifice. I have sung ... [Genesis]

June 30, 9AM

Genesis 50 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93233)
For the record, there is no punishment in Bob's Bible. I only just noted this. My bias is clear. פקד is never translated as punish as it frequently is in the KJV. Nor do I use this word for any of the other roots that it is used for like יסר or נכ... [Genesis] [translation]

June 29, 3PM

The regulations of the offerings continue. Wherever his/he is written, read he/she or his/hers. Treat he/she as including any gender. I could not use it in this context without losing the distinction of antecedent between the offering and the person offer... [Leviticus]

June 28, 8PM

Exodus 29 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#93127)
Long chapter. Personal pronouns or neuter for animals? It is curious how the gender changes over the chapter. Yet perhaps it supports my use of other gender neutral aspects of the translation, or maybe it is a word to note that with respect to the Most Hi... [Exodus]


This has been written over several days while working on moving an office and Exodus 29 (to come soon) and getting a rats nest and dead babies and shredded mother out of my car. (Ugh). It may be a bit rambling. To add or infer prepositions, that is one q... [translation]

June 26, 5PM

Verse 2, and verse 10, I have known. Perhaps verse 4, but it is indeterminate as to who is the subject. We just saw the synonym backbone in the Levitical rites, so it appears here. For the record, several changes (11) outside this chapter, all triggered b... [Proverbs]

June 24, 5PM

Anyone who says the Bible is easy to read has not read Leviticus or struggled with the sacrificial system. If anything is foreign to us, it is this. And though we too enjoy burning the fat in the fire, we in this country don't butcher our own animals. The... [Leviticus]

June 23, 2PM

Leviticus 8FnMinMaxSyll וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר1And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,3e3g10 קַ֤ח אֶֽת־אַהֲרֹן֙ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו אִתּ֔וֹ וְאֵת֙ הַבְּגָדִ... [Leviticus]

June 21, 12 PM

The poetry of Proverbs is not in normal sentence structures. Slowly consider the alternative readings as you read. We have just noted the body of Yahweh implied in Exodus 30. Note throughout Proverbs how many body parts are mentioned. These books reflect ... [Proverbs]


Insight on globalization from OUP blog here. [politics]

June 20, 4PM

Exodus 30 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92690)
Note the two perfumes - one masculine, one feminine - lost in the English it. The first compound, the holy oil is for anointing Yahweh himself. To anoint the components of the tabernacle is to anoint the body of Yahweh (verse 31). The second incense compo... [Exodus]

June 19, 1AM

Ezra 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92600)
The first 2 verses of Ezra reflect the last two verses of Chronicles. The raising of the proclamation is very subdued in the music. The recitation is on the lowest recitation note though the hope is very elevated (line 3 below). The second to last verse ... [Ezra]

June 18, 11AM

Verse1 leaves out the verb in the first colon, and provides it in the second. It is an unexpected ellipsis. Again these are a subtle challenge to association. It is not difficult to see a verbal relationship to Psalm 1, but the shared word count is only ... [Proverbs]

June 17, 12 PM

The last verse of the Hebrew Bible is a substantial invitation. 2 Chronicles 36 Fn Min Max Syll וַיִּקְחוּ֙ עַם־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֶת־יְהוֹאָחָ֖ז בֶּן־יֹאשִׁיָּ֑הוּ וַיַּמְלִיכֻ֥הוּ תַ... [2 Chronicles]

June 15, 4PM

Status by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92471)
It's a palindrome set: 514 chapters done, 415 to do. Here's the status by major section of the Bible Books Chapters Verses Chapters 'Done' Verses compl ch Words compl ch weeks rem. by vs % 'done' by ch 1 Torah... [reading project status]


2 Samuel 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92472)
See also the prior post. 2 Samuel 8 Fn Min Max Syll וַֽיְהִי֙ אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן וַיַּ֥ךְ דָּוִ֛ד אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים וַיַּכְנִיעֵ֑ם וַיִּקַּ֥ח דָּוִ֛ד אֶת־מֶ֥ת... [2 Samuel]
1 Chronicles 18 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְהִי֙ אַחֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן וַיַּ֥ךְ דָּוִ֛יד אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים וַיַּכְנִיעֵ֑ם וַיִּקַּ֛ח אֶת־גַּ֥ת וּבְנֹתֶ֖יהָ מִיַּ֥... [1 Chronicles]

June 14, 9PM

Exodus 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92424)
This puzzle has entered  a more difficult stage or I am encountering more hapax legomena and I am running out of English words for the variety of Hebrew I encounter. From my last post, I found myself liking aspects of every translation I read. Now maybe ...

June 12, 10PM

This chapter has some unusual words, like לגלגלת which I have rendered per individual. I changed another spot (where I had used the word unnecessarily and perhaps incorrectly in retrospect) to reserve this word individual for this very odd word. We ... [Exodus] [translation]

June 11, 8PM

I never thought Proverbs would be fun. So far it is a respite from prose, and a challenge to wit. The human / earthling אדם, (adam) is in view here with its fourfold repetition. The root of the righteous will not be moved, but it will give... Prover... [Proverbs]


One day I must write a name checked to test my spelling consistency for all the myriad of peoples, person, lands, rivers, mountains etc. Would you write Ammon or Amon? Are they the same place or person? There seems to be a different one in 1 Kings - witho... [Deuteronomy]

June 8, 9PM

1 Samuel 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92176)
This is unexpected. My grandchildren are here today, and I would not expect to be able to work, but time being what it is, walks, and exploring the garden, and all the activities of grandchildren are done, and still there is a minute to continue reading (... [1 Samuel]


Judges 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#92152)
A cliffhanger. And some sarcasm from the mouth of Yahweh. Can Yahweh be reaped? or harvested? or will we imagine a homonym? Shortened would do, but let's wait and see. Judges 10 Fn Min Max Syll וַיָּקָם֩ אַחֲרֵ֨י אֲבִימֶ֜ל... [Judges]

June 7, 4PM

This has been among the most difficult of chapters for me to deal with. And the decisions made here have had a ripple effect to several previous chapters. This word כפר (kpr cover) has a richness that my English has trouble with. I could have used cove... [Leviticus]


What should I do with cover when it means covering over (not covering up) sin, transgression, and defilement, I have chosen a run-around, work-around, or phrase for כפר used as a verb with these objects: to find a cover-price or simply to cover. O... [Leviticus] [translation]

June 5, 11AM

Genesis 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91976)
Long chapter. The servant has a more awkward character than I remember, (if I have judged the glosses well enough). Genesis 24 Fn Min Max Syll וְאַבְרָהָ֣ם זָקֵ֔ן בָּ֖א בַּיָּמִ֑ים וַֽיהוָ֛ה בֵּרַ֥ך... [Genesis]

June 3, 2PM

Following up from the post on statistics and line length, here is the chapter of Proverbs with the largest standard deviation (5) from its median value of  8. The obvious exception to the terse lines in this chapter is verse 4 with a line length of 30! (... [musical structure] [Proverbs]

June 2, 8AM

Isaiah 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91859)
I just stumbled on this while working on another long chapter in Genesis and thought it would be nice to see how the emerging glossary dealt with it. English idiom gives place to what might be Hebrew idiom, the four wings (or hems) of the earth. More of a... [Isaiah]

June 1, 4PM

A recent interaction with Robert Holmstedt has given me some encouragement, and I found an essay by John Hobbins from 2007 on poetic structures (which it turns out I had read some years ago). Hobbins's rule is alarmingly simple, a hierarchy of 2's and 3'... [musical structure] [poetry]

12 PM

Jeff Carter has both amusing and serious posts for this month's carnival. Jim West also has a carnival here. [carnival]

May 30, 11PM

Ezekiel 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91702)
A spondee underlay in verse 15 Another short but droll chapter, with several very rude prophetic musings. I am surprised at the extensive use of the verb that typically means give. I have been forced into a very odd gloss for it. Of course, a native spea... [Ezekiel]


Robert Holmstedt has written a very clear short paper here with a focus on the syntax of Hebrew poetry, line by line. He is looking for feedback. His first few pages are promising, and raise for me questions I have been thinking about for some time: Is ... [poetry]

May 28, 3PM

1 Kings 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91577)
This story of prophetic political power and deception leaps the gap of several hundred years between Jeroboam and Josiah (2 Kings 23). Politics demands an unequal power relationship. Both the unnamed man of God and the old prophet get their insights... (N... [1 kings 13]

May 26, 9AM

I have just picked up again The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter. I read his concluding chapter first. He certainly emphasizes some things that I consider vital in reading the text. To wit: recurring words and by implication the importance of p... [reading strategies] [translation]

May 25, 11PM

There is considerable word recurrence in this chapter. It is not always obvious with the variance in gloss that I have sometimes chosen here.  E.g. these stems: חכם shrewd, wise, יכח correction, referee, reprove, reproof. Verse 31 - could be just ... [Proverbs]

May 24, 1PM

Genesis 35 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91376)
Something I have noticed that needs analysis. The second half of a verse, after the caesura, often has English word order identical to Hebrew. Note e.g. verse 1 b: וַעֲשֵׂה־שָׁ֣ם מִזְבֵּ֔חַ לָאֵל֙ הַנִּרְאֶ֣ה אֵ... [Genesis]

May 23, 5PM

Here is the parallel to 1 Kings 12. There are several differences. There is clearly a word missing in v 16. The same incomplete sentence as in 1 Kings 12 occurs here too, v 17. The name of the tax manager is different, v 18. Some other verses are shorten... [2 Chronicles]


1 Kings 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91325)
The Kings are back. And pieces of 2 Chronicles 10 get guessed also (86%). Some notes below. 1 Kings 12 Fn Min Max Syll וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ רְחַבְעָ֖ם שְׁכֶ֑ם כִּ֥י שְׁכֶ֛ם בָּ֥א כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְ... [1 Kings]

May 21, 5PM

Ezekiel 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91226)
The prophet travels in his memory, a dreamlike set of visions. Perhaps he was an old man remembering things.  Ezekiel 8 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשִּׁשִּׁ֗ית בַּשִּׁשִּׁי֙ בַּחֲמִ... [Ezekiel]


Ezekiel 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91211)
It almost looks like I am reading this in sequence. I have restricted by books to just three for the last week: Ezekiel, Genesis, and Proverbs. Ezekiel since it is new to me, Genesis since I have left out large sections of the most famous stories. And Pro... [Ezekiel]

May 18, 5PM

Proverbs pose puzzling pieces for the reader. In the KJV, the first and second parts of the verse are sometimes reversed. The drama of the puzzle is lost. There is a caesura between these two parts. One cannot put them in reverse order without doing the r... [Proverbs]

May 17, 2PM

Genesis 36 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#91026)
Names are a problem. I have no particular desire with respect to them. The ones that are common I generally leave the traditional gloss (unless there are distinct spellings even for the same person). The ones that are never remembered, I try to use a reas... [Genesis]

May 16, 5PM

Very short cryptic verses. Who will say they know the meaning of a proverb? The music divides the text. What can be made of the patterns in the music relating to both adjacent verses and to the set that is collected in this chapter? Proverbs 11 Fn ... [Proverbs]

May 14, 2PM

Genesis 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90871)
Genesis is definitely easier than Ezekiel. I wonder if this feeling will continue. There's no particular reason I can think of that it should be more or less familiar, but perhaps there is a perception of change in language than is measurable. And there ... [Genesis]

May 13, 11PM

Ezekiel 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90845)
From a long chapter to a short one. I continue to encounter concordance challenges. There are simply more distinct words in the domain of trouble-grief in Hebrew than in English, so I am forced to double up on similar sounding ones. Equally there seem to ... [Ezekiel]


I am presenting the music to a class on Monday. I think music should be the first lesson in learning the Hebrew text - what do you think? My handout is here in pdf form. [learning] [Music of the Bible]

May 12, 5PM

Ezekiel 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90806)
This is a long and complex chapter, with possible allusion to Psalm 110, and direct allusion to the cover-price, mercy-seat that is in the word כפר. The text requires a book length blog post but I will spare you. I am sure resonances will emerge as yo... [Ezekiel]

May 11, 3PM

UVIC Center for Studies in Religion and Society is looking for a team member for a 2 year study. Notice is here. [Links]

May 10, 1PM

Morning on the beach at Puerto Vallarta I am anxious to get to home in this review of our trip... I have a dinner tonight where I may have to present some images. Hopefully, Google photos will be useful. We still had one day left for Mexico and the port... [Panama]

12 PM

On board by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90690)
Comparing reds A few images from on board activities - particularly a tour of the kitchen. Generally speaking, my impressions of the cruise are positive. Every place we went was new to us. And being taken care of for 21 days is a pleasant indulgence, if... [Panama]


Huatulco by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90679)
View from the Secrets hotel Would this be a good place for a winter getaway? Friends were there this past winter so it was good to visit and see for ourselves. There are some lovely aspects of the spot, but if you were in one of the big resorts, it woul... [Panama]


April 16-17, 2017. Two excursions on two hot days in a row might have been too much, so I visited the market at the docks in Corinto myself just briefly. The next day we went to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala and took an excursion to a coffee plantation an... [Panama]


Costa Rica by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90671)
Following the day through the canal, there was a day at sea heading north to Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Hot 35°C. We took one of the shore excursions to a gondola lift through the rain forest. The lift itself was slow but relaxing. We did see several birds... [Panama]


I am just warming like the weather to Google photos. I still can't post a slideshow but at least I can put captions on the individual photos. Sharing is only by link for blogger. So here's a link to a soft and beautiful walk in the meadow at Government Ho... [flowers]

May 7, 1PM

Poetry is always a respite from prose. Here is the first chapter of the collections of proverbs. Where there is a comma, you may need to supply a verb. As in Hebrew poetry, I have tried to be terse. The parallels between the pairs of parts are not necessa... [Proverbs]

May 6, 5PM

Ezekiel 29 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90496)
If I don't get on with some of these books, I will never read them. The 'Old Testament' is so big, it takes a lifetime to get through it. Anyone who says to you, I will read it in a year, is kidding themselves. That would be three chapters a day without a... [Ezekiel]


I wonder if this link will share. The fight among the social media software manufacturers is severe. Next time I am on a cruise I will have to take one of those Microsoft courses! [Panama]

May 4, 2PM

Isaiah 37 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90395)
True to form, Isaiah 37 is ready quickly, but what it invites is a comparison of the music with 2 Kings 19. On a superficial level, apart from the extra verse division (verse 15), it looks identical. There are however several differences in ornamentation ... [Isaiah]


2 Kings 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90387)
I was skating about on the surface of several chapters and all seemed very unfamiliar to me till I noted that 2 Kings 19 was sitting there empty in the middle of a series of chapters from 13 to 25. Again this is from the 4 parallel chapters in Isaiah 36-3... [2 Kings]

May 3, 6PM

Reproof by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90336)
Reproof for חסד is gone. I had used it in Psalm 23 and 52. My first decisions after a month off are beginning to happen again. The decision to use reproof a few times instead of the more familiar loving-kindness or mercy was made up to 7 years ago, ... [translation]

May 2, 4PM

Day 2 - at sea - and a formal dinner. 23°16.7'N 084°43.0'W, Moderate breeze / Sunny skies, 24°C Day 3 - Grand Cayman. Sounds grand, doesn't it. Here we thrifty tourists decided to get a 'bus' - somewhat like the little buses in Turkey - to see the sig... [Panama]

May 1, 11AM

Park in Downtown Tampa  We are back from our repositioning cruise through the Panama canal from Tampa to Victoria. I cannot open my database at the moment. Something changed in the Oracle XE configuration. Being deprived of my work for a few more days ... [Panama]

April 26, 12 PM

Song 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#90170)
Song 8 Fn Min Max Syll מִ֤י יִתֶּנְךָ֙ כְּאָ֣ח לִ֔י יוֹנֵ֖ק שְׁדֵ֣י אִמִּ֑י אֶֽמְצָאֲךָ֤ בַחוּץ֙ אֶשָׁ֣קְךָ֔ גַּ֖ם לֹא־יָב֥וּזוּ לִֽי 1 C Who will give y... [Song of Songs]

April 23, 12 PM

Song 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89946)
Song 7 Fn Min Max Syll שׁ֤וּבִי שׁ֙וּבִי֙ הַשּׁ֣וּלַמִּ֔ית שׁ֥וּבִי שׁ֖וּבִי וְנֶחֱזֶה־בָּ֑ךְ מַֽה־תֶּחֱזוּ֙ בַּשּׁ֣וּלַמִּ֔ית כִּמְחֹלַ֖ת הַ... [Song of Songs]

April 21, 1PM

Ruth 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89887)
Ruth 4 Fn Min Max Syll וּבֹ֨עַז עָלָ֣ה הַשַּׁעַר֮ וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב שָׁם֒ וְהִנֵּ֨ה הַגֹּאֵ֤ל עֹבֵר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר דִּבֶּר־בֹּ֔עַז וַיֹּ֛אמֶר ס֥וּרָה שְׁבָה... [Ruth]

April 19, 12 PM

Song 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89755)
Song 6FnMinMaxSyll אָ֚נָה הָלַ֣ךְ דּוֹדֵ֔ךְ הַיָּפָ֖ה בַּנָּשִׁ֑ים אָ֚נָה פָּנָ֣ה דוֹדֵ֔ךְ וּנְבַקְשֶׁ֖נּוּ עִמָּֽךְ1CWhere has he gone, your beloved, O beautiful amon... [Song of Songs]

April 18, 1PM

Ruth 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89696)
Ruth 3 Fn Min Max Syll וַתֹּ֥אמֶר לָ֖הּ נָעֳמִ֣י חֲמוֹתָ֑הּ בִּתִּ֞י הֲלֹ֧א אֲבַקֶּשׁ־לָ֛ךְ מָנ֖וֹחַ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִֽיטַב־לָֽךְ 1 And Naomi her mother-in-law said to... [Ruth]

April 16, 12 PM

Song 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89583)
Song 5FnMinMaxSyll בָּ֣אתִי לְגַנִּי֮ אֲחֹתִ֣י כַלָּה֒ אָרִ֤יתִי מוֹרִי֙ עִם־בְּשָׂמִ֔י אָכַ֤לְתִּי יַעְרִי֙ עִם־דִּבְשִׁ֔י שָׁתִ֥יתִי יֵינִ֖י ... [Song of Songs]

April 13, 1PM

Ruth 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89450)
Ruth 2FnMinMaxSyll וּֽלְנָעֳמִ֞י מוֹדַ֣ע לְאִישָׁ֗הּ אִ֚ישׁ גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל מִמִּשְׁפַּ֖חַת אֱלִימֶ֑לֶךְ וּשְׁמ֖וֹ בֹּֽעַז1Now for Naomi there was an acquainta... [Ruth]

April 12, 12 PM

Song 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89386)
Song 4 Fn Min Max Syll הִנָּ֨ךְ יָפָ֤ה רַעְיָתִי֙ הִנָּ֣ךְ יָפָ֔ה עֵינַ֣יִךְ יוֹנִ֔ים מִבַּ֖עַד לְצַמָּתֵ֑ךְ שַׂעְרֵךְ֙ כְּעֵ֣דֶר הָֽעִזִּ֔ים ש... [Song of Songs]

April 9, 1PM

Ruth 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89223)
Ruth 1FnMinMaxSyll וַיְהִ֗י בִּימֵי֙ שְׁפֹ֣ט הַשֹּׁפְטִ֔ים וַיְהִ֥י רָעָ֖ב בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ אִ֜ישׁ מִבֵּ֧ית לֶ֣חֶם יְהוּדָ֗ה לָגוּר֙ בִּשְׂ... [Ruth]

April 7, 12 PM

Song 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#89162)
There were all sorts of minor punctuation errors in the earlier posts on this book. The remaining chapters will appear over the next 3 weeks without commentary. Song 3 Fn Min Max Syll עַל־מִשְׁכָּבִי֙ בַּלֵּיל֔וֹת בִּ... [Song of Songs]

April 5, 2PM

Giants ahead. There are a number of uses (25?) of the word Rephaim in the Scriptures. On the one hand it could be from healing (as in Job 13:4, 26:5), or it could be like the shades of Psalm 88, but it is a different word from the giants (Nephilim) of Ge... [Deuteronomy]

April 4, 10AM

Proverbs 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88966)
As usual, read 'it' as a personal pronoun of non-specific gender in a compromised situation. I have not always been consistent with this technique, but it is used frequently in my readings as I explore both the positive and negative aspects of gender usag... [Proverbs]

April 1, 9PM

ξἐνος has the carnival here. [carnival]

March 30, 11PM

Joshua 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88736)
Passing through or crossing over? I have choices for עבר across, pass, pass through, bypass, cross, go, transfer, traverse. For the 9 occurrences here, I chose pass through. Joshua 3 Fn Min Max וַיַּשְׁכֵּם֩ יְהוֹשֻׁ֨עַ ... [Joshua]


Joshua 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88720)
There is a struggle with translating the word for God. First, the first two letters (אל) are also a preposition. Sometimes they occur with another word (like Beth-el) indicating a place name. The word in the singular is אלוה. This form is most comm... [Joshua] [translation]

March 27, 9AM

I have an audit mechanism as part of the software I am using, (GX-LEAF). While taking a backup of critical files, I discover that I have made approximately 22,000 changes in the last 11 days, in the word table that I am working with in this translation ex... [translation]

March 26, 5PM

Proverbs 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88508)
This was where I was stuck. And if I think too much, I will be stuck again. One professor told me my words must make sense. But what is the sense it must make?  Why should one not go surety for someone? What makes it a trap? Is the writer counselling nar... [Proverbs]


Exodus 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88505)
I was stuck. And now am unstuck. It is quite easy to get stuck. So many questions arise when reading this foreign story in a foreign tongue and a foreign script that my mind must rest before attempting to deal with them. Hardening of the heart. KJV uses ... [Exodus]

March 25, 11PM

Psalm 27 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88483)
I am working on an arrangement of Psalm 27. I saw a remarkable sign in the Hebrew I had not noticed before. An ornament around verse 13. Three dots above the letters and three below. I have seen such dots but I had not paid much attention to them. And I h... [music] [musical structure] [Psalms]

March 23, 5PM

My guessing algorithm could be so much better if I applied a few grammatical rules to prevent silly single word guesses, and it will improve when my calculated stem is corrected in the estimated 10% of stems still to be corrected. But here are the results... [reading project status]

12 AM

Exodus 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88329)
When is הר a hill and when is it a mountain? (Whenever the reader decides). We have a hill nearby called Mount Tolmie (120 m) and another called Mount Doug (228 m). They are small actually, but bigger than a hillock. הר is indeterminate. Hermon is a m... [Exodus]

March 21, 11AM

Isaiah 61 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88251)
A short chapter. I wonder how this was near the bottom of my list. The words were recognized by the automation only one at a time. So Isaiah is a unique voice. He does not have phrases that repeat from the work that I have done so far. (Though we have see... [Isaiah]

March 20, 11AM

Numbers 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88194)
This is a complex interweave of several stories that I remember as discrete. But they are all together here: the manna and the nature of its preparation, Moses pain in childbirth, the quail and the spirit on the seventy (+two). And it reads very different... [music] [Numbers] [recurring words] [Wickes]

March 19, 11AM

2 Kings 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#88138)
I have some trouble here with the cool word, Chazzaq! חזק. This is an exclamation, the expression one finds in TNK at the end of a book. It is the cri de joie of the copyist as he counts words, verses, and chapters, and knows he has finished a major po... [2 Kings]

March 18, 9PM

This chapter has several implications for personal generosity and the responsibility of stepping up to the cost. Deuteronomy 15 Fn Min Max Syll מִקֵּ֥ץ שֶֽׁבַע־שָׁנִ֖ים תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה שְׁמִטָּֽה 1 At the end ... [Deuteronomy]

March 16, 12 AM

This is the first chapter I have done which contains the specific command to abstain from eating blood. It is not the life חיה that is in the body, but the soul נפשׁ, so why does the tradition translate it as life? Surely that is confusing. There i... [Deuteronomy]

March 15, 10AM

I did this chapter early in the process in several sections. It is formative as a summary of Deuteronomy. It is also the ground of the critique of Deuteronomy that is the book of Job. It surprises me that I have done so much of Deuteronomy. It just sort o... [Deuteronomy]

March 12, 7PM

Proverbs 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87784)
I always remember my affection for the first 8 chapters of Proverbs, but I did not understand them. Addressed to the son in traditional translations, and no doubt they were addressed to sons, yet they apply to all. I mentioned the image marriage yesterday... [Proverbs]

March 11, 7PM

Nehemiah 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87756)
Another short chapter before exiting to the opera workshop for a student performance of the Marriage of Figaro. Marriage is a timeless image. Here we have had a divorce. Temporary, we hope. Let faithfulness be restored. We must note that there is a crying... [Nehemiah]

12 PM

Exodus 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87750)
There's nothing quite like starting a story in the 10th frame of the sketch. How did I get here? I've been busy and I decided to do a short chapter. The story of the escape from Egypt is intriguing. The last time I read it, it read to me like a novel in p... [Exodus]

March 9, 6PM

Ezekiel 35 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87657)
I suspect there is a different feel to the language from different authors and at different times. This will be clearer when I have everything done and can run some queries on turns of phrase in Hebrew and see where I may have failed to see. In the meanwh... [Ezekiel]


Numbers 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87653)
Even in these cult practices there are surprises hidden by traditional translations. KJV has purifying water (a phrase for the word that it rarely uses) and JB has lustral water (whatever that means). The word is חטא, sin. Why make it pure or lustral? ... [Numbers] [translation]


Song 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87634)
The music is very beautiful. Of particular note is verse 5. Its form with ornaments is unique: e qad,qad,e z-q,g# ^A f g# e. The general shape of the notes is common e g ^A f g e. The difference is the extensive ornamentation on the opening tonic. The m...

March 8, 6PM

Song 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87595)
The last time I did the Song was early in this process, so here it is according to the traditional chapters, rather than split by chorus, and one chapter at a time, punctuation and glosses reviewed. The earlier post on the music of part 1 is heavily worke... [Song of Songs]

March 6, 2PM

In these days of radical behaviour and of political correctness, we need to read the tension in these verses with a clear distinction between good and evil. Can we do it? Let me be clear. Verses 2 to 5 depict evil. Now find us the good in this story. Rem... [Deuteronomy]

March 5, 2PM

Exodus 31 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87414)
After several months, we are back to the building of the tabernacle.  Just what is this? We did not call it tabernacle  The original posts are from December 2015 when we began with Exodus 25 and 37. This past two weeks I have been filling in gaps betwee... [Exodus]

March 4, 6PM

Exodus 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87389)
We can observe some repetition in Exodus about the firstborn. We saw it in chapter 34 and here it is at the beginning of the journey. We haven't done enough yet to identify if it is a significant structural element in the story. Verse 5b, One of the thin... [Exodus]


Jacob called this format metering the Bible. What else should be in a book that had the text in this form to make the metering useful? Fn Min Max Syll 1 Praise Yahweh, all nations. Commend him, all the clans. 3e 4B 8 7 2 f For his mercy has pre... [The Metered Bible]

March 3, 4PM

This is a milestone of sorts: Status as of  2017-03-03 Chapters Verses Words Completed 465 9,790 116,349 50.1% 42.3% 38.2% To do, including in process 464 13,150 148,896 56.8% 48.... [reading project status]


Exodus 34 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87336)
Exodus 34FnMinMaxSyll וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה פְּסָל־לְךָ֛ שְׁנֵֽי־לֻחֹ֥ת אֲבָנִ֖ים כָּרִאשֹׁנִ֑ים וְכָתַבְתִּי֙ עַל־הַלֻּחֹ֔ת אֶת־הַדְּ... [Exodus]

March 2, 3PM

Exodus 32 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87281)
If you don't laugh, you are not reading. Exodus 32 Fn Min Max Syll וַיַּ֣רְא הָעָ֔ם כִּֽי־בֹשֵׁ֥שׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָרֶ֣דֶת מִן־הָהָ֑ר וַיִּקָּהֵ֨ל הָעָ֜ם עַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן ו... [Exodus]

March 1, 11PM

The carnival is here this month at Jacob Prahlow's Pursuing Veritas. Jacob calls what I am doing metering Hebrew Bible chapters. An interesting description. I hope to keep metering along. A little measurement doesn't hurt. [carnival]


Exodus 33 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87197)
This is unfamiliar ground to me. The use of אהל, tent, is both for normal tents and for the tent of engagement that KJV calls the tabernacle, and both REB and JB have Tent with a capital T. I don't know whether to make this distinction yet. But some di... [Exodus]

February 27, 12 AM

Exodus 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#87041)
Jethro appears strangely and is strangely dismissed, (or set loose, or sent away), yet he outlines and implements a management strategy for Moses. Equally strange is the dismissals of Zipporah, the wife of Moses. I haven't yet done the earlier chapters in... [Exodus]

February 25, 6PM

There is much of historical and political history here concerning dispersal of Judeans and fraternal warfare as well. The many names are largely unknown to me, but there they are and one could consult a good commentary to find out more. The overture from... [Jeremiah]


2 kings 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86998)
Looks like I forgot to post this one. Am getting ahead of myself. This parallels Jeremiah 52, and 40, soon to come. Then I think several chapters of Exodus for a respite. 2 Kings 25 Fn Min Max Syll וַיְהִי֩ בִשְׁנַ֨ת הַתְּשׁ... [2 Kings]

February 23, 4PM

Filling in some holes in my sequences. Almost completed the last chapters of Jeremiah. This aftermath of destruction is not a credit to the people involved. Of course we know none of them personally. But they were all labelled as 'child of x', and there ... [Jeremiah]


Genesis 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86871)
I thought in approaching and passing the 50% 'complete' milestone, I should do a chapter or two from some books that I have long ignored. I came across something I hadn't yet considered in Genesis 12, beginning the story of Abraham. What was the soul, ... [Genesis]

February 21, 8PM

This chapter is called an Appendix in my old JB. Really! It is a summary of the destruction and a reflection of all the items of cultic value that were ruined for their precious metals. It reads and sings like a lament for a lost culture. Verse 18, anothe... [Jeremiah]


Some time ago in the last 6 months, I noticed confusion between אישׁ and אנושׁ in the various dictionaries I use. The Hebrew Latin concordance clearly distinguishes the plural of the first as אנשׁים. Some online resources confuse this with ... [translation]

February 19, 11PM

I have just come from a lovely talk at the Synagogue on Arabic influences in modern Hebrew. It occurred to me that hearing such nuance in modern borrowings is something we know, but how do we do such in an ancient tongue such as we are reading here? The s... [Jeremiah]

February 18, 5PM

Isaiah 36 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86728)
You can be sure I might have noted this similarity some time during the past 50 years, but like most things that I watch on TV, I had forgotten. So Isaiah 36 was 92% complete after I did 2 Kings 18. How curious. I may remember this now for a while. (Note ... [Isaiah]


2 Kings 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86729)
It may be that I am letting the word sequences take me by similarities around the newspapers of the complex generations of conflict, deportation, and exile in Judah and Israel with Assyria (Ashur) and Babylon (Babel). This is not history that I am very fa... [2 Kings]

February 16, 2PM

I thought I would have a respite and do a bit of Proverbs. But I picked a chapter that had another 10 missing verses in my data. So for the second time in a few months, puzzle pieces have been found under the sofa! I had this chapter marked as having only... [Proverbs] [technological convenience]

February 15, 2PM

Once 2 Samuel 7 was done, this chapter appeared as 74% guessed by pairs of words or better. So here it is, but there are little differences in many verses, sometimes a word change or a word or letter omitted, sometimes spelling. And I have tweaked a word ... [1 Chronicles] [music]

February 14, 5PM

2 Samuel 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86732)
Whew, a rest from Jeremiah. Some styles lend themselves to easier translation than others. Also some word usage seems to just happen, while others must be struggled with. Tim has a post on Genesis 24 in which he talks a bit about how Biblical narrative is... [2 Samuel]


There are confusing sequences in this chapter, some corrected by other translations like JB. It's possible to conjecture adjustments from the conflicts implied. Jeremiah 29 Fn Min Max Syll וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ דִּבְרֵ֣י הַסֵּ֔פֶר ... [Jeremiah]

February 12, 11AM

Jeremiah 37 Fn Min Max Syll וַיִּ֨מְלָךְ־מֶ֔לֶךְ צִדְקִיָּ֖הוּ בֶּן־יֹֽאשִׁיָּ֑הוּ תַּ֗חַת כָּנְיָ֙הוּ֙ בֶּן־יְה֣וֹיָקִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִמְלִ֛יךְ נ... [Jeremiah]

February 10, 4PM

Joshua 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86326)
Joshua 4 has a corporate reality to each band (or sceptre, שׁבט, if you prefer) within Israel. (I don't use tribe since I have already used the word repeatedly for another stem.) Each man from the midst of Jordan carries one stone for the band. Just ... [Joshua]


Joshua 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#86259)
This chapter had a number of surprises for me. This is the entry to the land, when the manna ceases, where Gilgal, the hillock of foreskins is created. The scene is not like a hospital. There appears to be one Mohel, Joshua. He circumcises the nation, a g... [Joshua]

February 9, 12 AM

I just realized that I have axes to grind. First was my emphasis on what is loosely termed concordance. (Concordance has degrees of impossibility). Now I am biased toward the music. (I have a few additional biases.) So what do I do with the verb to call?... [Jeremiah]

February 6, 4PM

After this chapter I extended the grammar post to see if I had learned anything. This is somewhat depressing content. The divisions in Judaic society is quite evident. In this case there does appear to be a real threat. I realize that 'child of' is an od... [Jeremiah]

February 5, 10AM

Proverbs 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85990)
I had forgotten how different poetry is! What a relief. Hear too the application of the first verse to the troubled world. Hear chastening. Such a prayer. Slowly, read and consider the active nature of Wisdom. This is no abstraction to be used, but a livi... [personal theology] [Proverbs]

February 4, 3PM

When I was a child, I spake as a child... and I spake naturally without thinking about rules of grammar. I didn't think about rules of grammar until I began to learn other tongues like French  and Latin. The teaching approach was appalling. It gets a No.... [grammar]

February 3, 1PM

As noted earlier, this chapter has nearly 70% shared words with chapter 34. No wonder it popped to the top of my list of chapters high on overlap with work already done. This section does seem to logically precede the parallel chapter 34. Still a few gaps... [Jeremiah]

12 AM

This is the state of the incomplete parts of Bob's Bible as of the moment. My algorithms guess translations as I proceed. I start with sets of 6 Hebrew words in sequence that are completed and compare the remaining sets of 6 that are not done. If I get a... [reading project status]

February 2, 11PM

This chapter is a verse turner, like a novel that is a page turner but for a slow reader. The JB has the heading 'Miscellaneous Passages'. Curious. It may be miscellany in someone's idea of collation, but it is not irrelevant. Where it fits in the history... [Jeremiah]


There's a play on words in a few verses that I have noted recently, notably in Numbers 14, 17, Jeremiah 44, and Psalms 102, 104 some time ago. The four letters yod-taf-mem-vav (יתמו) can be derived from one of two different words. The word tamam, (... [translation]

12 AM

Carnival by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85805)
The BS Carnival 131 is here. There is a large political section and a good set of links including a nice mention of my Throwback Thursday post on how music works. Thank you Cassandra. [carnival]

February 1, 3PM

Isaiah 64 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85799)
What do we know about ears and eyes? That we can be blinded and deaf. It is a troubling thought. We perceive with such a grey and foggy outlook, sheltered, so we think, behind our inner construction of reality. How do we tell the truth and distinguish tru... [Isaiah]


Isaiah 63 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85789)
I decided to do some chapters from the bottom of my list. I thought I might find that these, which had a low multiple word rate of guessing by the computer, might seed other parts of the data. It occurs to me that I could design a query to discover the %g... [Isaiah]

January 30, 4PM

Joshua 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85684)
I am not sure that Caleb is high on my list of heroes. Se the next chapter from last December. His resolute faith is noted, but the degree of its attractiveness is muted by the bartering of his daughter. I hope moderns, at least in the so called western w... [Joshua]

January 29, 5PM

Numbers 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85616)
Whose story can you tell? This is a question that has occurred to me as a parent and foster-parent of children of other races. Their stories intertwine with mine, but they are not mine to tell. For a long time, I felt Torah is not my story, and that is st... [Numbers] [translation]

January 28, 1PM

Whew. I had at some point typed 13 instead of 18 as the number of verses in Jeremiah 20. So now I have 5 more verses in my data. And they are a knockout punch delivered in a style even more bitter than Job 3. Jeremiah 20 Fn Min Max Syll וַיּ... [Jeremiah]

January 27, 11AM

A few interesting links that I hope are more than words: Living Wittily's post on the beatitudes. His next post is good too - on yes and no. He has a Turkish spelling error in it. cun for sun. Henry's post on reading the NT. I wonder who gets it. It's a p... [Links]

January 26, 12 PM

1978 - Bob and Di touring England in Bertie Come on, Bob. You can't explain that in a blog post. Deep sigh OK - here it is - this is how the music of the Old Testament embedded in the accents of the Hebrew Bible shapes and interprets the text. Bob is ... [Biro] [music] [musical structure] [te-amim]

January 25, 12 AM

Jeremiah chapters keep percolating to the top. That's fine. I know how long this book is and I wondered if I would ever finish it. Here Jeremiah flirts with atheism, and allows Yahweh to withdraw all promises, yet also insists that they will be fulfilled,... [Jeremiah]

January 23, 6PM

So you wanted to read the ancient texts in their first tongues. The puzzle is well worth the effort. But take care not to impose on it what you think it ought to say. The puzzle divides into 7 major sections: Torah Former Prophets Latter Prophets The Tw... [reading project status]


Jeremiah may be dark but there is light here. What does the human need to learn compassion? Would you raise your children with such violence? Jeremiah's long prayer is filled with his own apprehension, even with the fear of losing on a purchase transactio... [Jeremiah]

January 21, 9PM

Doing things out of order, we may not know where we are in the canonical sequence. But we are where the repeating words in the text have led us. And as far as I can see, 'this place' (below) is Jerusalem. Here if we mirror read for a moment, we can see w... [Jeremiah]


Jeremiah 35 Fn Min Max Syll הַדָּבָ֛ר אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֥ה אֶֽל־יִרְמְיָ֖הוּ מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה בִּימֵ֨י יְהוֹיָקִ֧ים בֶּן־יֹאשִׁיָּ֛הוּ מֶ֥לֶךְ יְהוּדָ֖ה ... [Jeremiah]

January 19, 2PM

I have many thoughts on this extended word against the return to Egypt, but I will share them only under duress. What completes? What is the sign? Why this extensive diatribe? What does Egypt represent? Why the extended jealousy? Why such intransigence in...

January 17, 11AM

David's elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan. I could use some feedback if anyone who plays harp would like to try this. I have made the accompaniment simple, and somewhat helpful, I think. Pitch it where it is comfortable for the instruments. I proba... [2 Samuel] [music]

January 16, 6PM

2 Samuel 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#85020)
Surprise! I chose a chapter that was far down the list. I want to develop a piece for harp and voice that will capture David's dirge over Saul and Jonathan. The language is quite stark, but we have sung such stark language in church for the first lesson... [2 Samuel]

January 15, 4PM

What can you do when you can't sing? or don't sing? or wish you didn't have to sing and the text is a musical line. This - very simply: pay attention to the reciting note and tune your reading voice to the tone of the text. For Isaiah 49, this morning's ... [Isaiah] [music] [reading and recitation] [tone of voice]

January 14, 11PM

I should have done this ages ago. If anyone is reading the lesson tomorrow and wants to see how it might be sung in English, the music is here with underlay. It's rough. You would need to work with it to perform it. I am reading, but I think I will just ... [Isaiah] [Lectionary] [music]


Exodus 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84930)
Loaded words. What is a loaded word? This chapter has two distinct stories. Distinct is loaded, story is loaded. There are some difficult sentences to parse. Moses seems dismissive to the people at the base of the mountain. In some ways, he got what he d... [Exodus]

January 13, 9PM

2 Kings 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84908)
It's somewhat easy to see why this chapter bubbled up to the top of my list after I had done the chapters on the reforms under Josiah (reforms is a gentle word for his severity). My 1962 Jerusalem Bible titles verses 24 ff as 'The Origin of the Samaritan... [2 Kings]


Links by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84882)
Several interesting links today in my various aggregators via Pet Enns on authority, The Bible is a paradoxical (and messy and complex and un-untanglable) convergence of divine and human involvement. via Jim Davila, on gods of the ancient near east Yhwh... [Links]

January 11, 8PM

With 501 chapters to go here is my status on the books I have not yet read. I mis-numbered and therefore mis-named my prior post - put it down to scribal fatigue. If you can't find 23 try 43. BOOK Total verses remaining Average complet... [reading project status]


Another short chapter that appeared. Jeremiah may be somewhat repetitive because his chapters are high on my to do list. (The automation can translate over 50% of them.) I will show some analysis in another post. So here's a short read for the evening or... [Jeremiah]

January 10, 4PM

Isaiah 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84726)
As previously noted, the famous passages are different when a concordant set of glosses is used. The question remains of course whether the concordance is sufficient to the task. At times it is not. Here however, as in many KJV and other translations, the... [Isaiah] [Semantic domains] [translation]

January 9, 3PM

Isaiah 42 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84681)
A flurry of Isaiah is brought to our attention in Epiphany year A. Chapter 42 again is so poetic to our tradition-immersed ears, we can scarcely hear any other but Elizabethan language. But repeated words are missed in this great English poetry and prose ... [Isaiah]

January 7, 7PM

Isaiah 60 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84616)
The gloss glory appears 4 times in Isaiah 60 below, verses 1, 2, and 13. In the KJV it appears 9 times. The other 5 are adornment and variations. And for this root KJV uses beauty but only once in the passage. I have glossed these roots as follows (so far... [Isaiah]

12 PM

O dear, O dear, when one comes with a certain type of concordance in mind to the traditional purple passages of favorite scripture, then all 16th century poetry goes out the window. Light - be light, arise vs rise, upon or against or on or by or what? T... [glosses] [translation]

January 6, 5PM

Isaiah 49 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84573)
I was having a look around the common lectionary. And what popped out at me is a lesson I am scheduled to read (a small part of) on the 15th. So here is Isaiah 49 - what astonishing power is in these songs! I have known them for years but they just jump o... [Isaiah]

12 AM

As might have been expected, my next chapter is the parallel passage in Chronicles of 2 Kings 22-23 - Josiah and his zeal. Note the initial 'they' (beginning in verse 4) that switches to the singular 'he'. 2 Chronicles 34 Fn Min Max Syll בֶּן־... [2 Chronicles]

January 2, 5PM

The December 2016 Biblical Studies Carnival #130 is here. Or is it 131? [carnival]

January 1, 11AM

2 Kings 23 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84344)
For one reason or another, this chapter proved difficult. I approached it and retreated several times even though it was 'on the top of my list' - i.e. about 58% automated when I began to look at it a few weeks ago. To be blunt, the zeal of the young kin... [2 Kings]

December 30 2016, 6PM

Pastor Christopher Page writes: "Bob MacDonald brings to the song of the Scriptures a meticulous attention to detail, an eye for imagery and symbol, and a heart for the feel and tone of the text … He enlivens the story with beauty and faith that is... [personal theology] [The Song in the Night]

December 26, 6PM

2 Kings 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#84135)
Note the urgency of verse 12 - without a mid-verse rest. Note also I have used recite rather than read. This would be my bias toward reading out loud (at a minimum). The root is קרא, call, proclaim, encounter, not exactly a silent speed read. 2 Kings... [2 Kings]

December 23, 3PM

Good figs and evil? or bad? or hurtful? Sound a bit like Santa's lists? You better not pout. The end of the hurtful is also a completion. And they are an example for all. Merry Christmas Jeremiah 24 Fn Min Max Syll הִרְאַנִי֮ יְהוָ... [Jeremiah]

December 16, 12 AM

Jeremiah is long, (21,775 words - longer than the Psalms and Genesis, the only two books with more than 19,000 words) and this is new ground for me, the bitter infighting in the exiled community, the refusal to listen, to do, to hear 'with the voice of Ya... [Jeremiah]

December 15, 1AM

Joshua 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#83655)
I knew some day I would have to approach the lists of towns, or of people's names. Well here's a first long list. We used to sing a piece by Tony Petti in a choir in Calgary called The Place Names of Alberta (in alphabetical order from the beginning). It ... [Joshua]

December 12, 11AM

Proverbs 31 was way down my list, but I was getting bogged down in 2 Kings and the reforms of Josiah. I wonder why. A respite to poetry was called for and particularly the last of the 13 acrostic poems, the only one I have not yet translated as an acrosti... [musical structure] [Proverbs] [recurring words] [translation]

December 11, 12 AM

2 Kings 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#83465)
The end of the story of Elisha. There seem to be some asides from the narrator. And nothing is made of the touching of the bones. This story must have had an effect on the issue of relics in the medieval world. 2 Kings 13 Fn Min Max Syll בִּשׁ... [2 Kings]

December 10, 1PM

Verses 7 and 8 are an analogy to the completion of those who serve the Invisible. An unattractive analogy in many ways. But note the emphasis on the gentiles in TNK. The opinion of Egypt is valued by Yahweh in Deuteronomy 9:28 as noted earlier this month,... [Jeremiah] [personal theology]

December 8, 10AM

2 Kings 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#83369)
I recall when I read these 40 to 50 years ago (in various English translations) that I thought, what were they doing with all this worship of idols? Passing through fire, I could figure out. Not a good idea. But the idea of idolatry was a bit of a mystery... [2 Kings]

December 7, 1PM

Is it just my imagination or is there considerable overlap between Jeremiah and Deuteronomy? My algorithms for guessing words and phrases are having high performance with both these. Either they both duplicate themselves or they duplicate each other in th... [Jeremiah] [musical structure] [reading project status]

December 6, 9AM

The Israelite is taught here how to pray. Note the change in personal pronoun in the rehearsed speech. Verse 13 raises the question, what do we do with holiness? We are to burn it (kindle) like political capital. As usual, my glosses are unconventional. A... [Deuteronomy]

December 5, 1PM

Of which much could be written, but nothing is needed. Do laugh, a little. Deuteronomy 10 Fn Min Max Syll בָּעֵ֨ת הַהִ֜וא אָמַ֧ר יְהוָ֣ה אֵלַ֗י פְּסָל־לְךָ֞ שְׁנֵֽי־לֻוחֹ֤ת אֲבָנִים... [Deuteronomy]

December 4, 6PM

Here is our Christmas letter. [Christmas newsletters]


Jeremiah 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#83188)
Jeremiah just keeps on happening. What is this 'Temple of God'? The question arises here that perhaps the people thought they were the temple. How suitable, how modern. The name given to Shiloh is Shemi Sham, My Name is There. The name given to Jerusalem ... [Jeremiah]


It's the 21st century and the fight is the same as it was 2500 years ago: who should care and how does the body of the political entity embrace or engulf the marginalized in society? Here is a short clear article from the OUP blog on the political 'saus... [politics]

December 3, 5PM

Now how should I spell all these various names. Nebu whatever his name is is the same fellow so matter how his name is spelled. So is Isaac, and Yitschaq, but they have varied spellings in the various books. And there are so many names and places, 1000s,...

December 2, 10AM

Moses here shows considerable skill in arguing with the unseen. The rationale forgets the limitations of the ancestors, and prevents the liquidation of the present or recalled sin of the people, by means of an appeal to what the rest of the world might sa... [Deuteronomy]

December 1, 9AM

I have 100 copies of my new book. They are all available from me. You name the price. My cost is roughly $10. These first 100 copies are free. If you would like lots, let me know. If I have to send them to you by mail, then you can send me the shipping co... [The Song in the Night]


Proverbs 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#83029)
Had to get back to work after 5 days away. I am hooked on this stuff. It's addictive. It is my folly. I am planning two 3 week breaks - at Christmas and in April. But will keep my hand in a little in those periods if they go as planned. Back to a little ... [Proverbs]

November 24, 11AM

I was tempted to break my rule and spiritualise the nephesh, (God forbid) but I demurred and used cadaver instead. Still I have refrained in my first 100,000 words from using soul in my translation. (I also have never used the word repent!) I am against y... [Jeremiah]

12 AM

Sorry about the vertically aligned headings for short columns. Blogger has changed something and I don't imagine I have an easy fix for past work. Future work will specify a width in the style. Blogger is currently taking whole words and numbers and turni...

November 23, 5PM

Sometimes it is curious to begin at the beginning. Deuteronomy was the book that a former teacher of mine, Peter Craigie, focused on. I cannot think about that book without remembering Prof. Craigie. I learned too little from him. What a great story telle... [Deuteronomy]


Most verses begin on the tonic. But sometimes not. The three books of poetry (Psalms, Job, and Proverbs) use different opening notes more often than the 21. When the first note of a verse is not the default tonic or home note (e), the music indicates that... [musical structure] [Psalms] [The Song in the Night]

November 21, 5PM

Exodus 40 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82642)
This was an interesting journey by way of deciding how to render certain words that are to my mind quite confusing in traditional renderings. I was never quite sure what tent, tabernacle, etc is being referred to in some situations. (And I still am uncert... [Exodus]

November 20, 1AM

Judges 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82578)
Every verse of Judges begins on the tonic. (Just checking). Judges 2 was high up on my list of half completed chapters, so I took it. Judges is not one of my favorite books. O well. Gotta do them all. Never know what you might find. The messenger (angel... [Judges]

November 18, 7PM

Isaiah 31 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82543)
A test for a format. What if we could see the first note in text, would it help understand inter verse connections? Three verses in this short chapter begin on a note other than the tonic. The possible notes are c, d, e, f, g, A, B, C. Where the c is mid... [Isaiah]


With this post we complete the sequence of the last 8 chapters of Torah. We had already done thee first 11 chapters of Torah (Genesis). A beginning and an end. Great gobs of Torah remain including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and so on. This chapter as... [Deuteronomy]

November 17, 12 AM

This has been a difficult chapter. Several unique words, perhaps used as few as once in the Bible (but my counts will not be complete in my dictionary until I have finished identifying the root of every word). In the passages I have not yet done, there ar... [Deuteronomy]

November 16, 10AM

You can see the discussion here. [The Song in the Night]

November 15, 12 PM

I spent a few days seeding my Aramaic data. What a relief to get back to Deuteronomy and a more familiar tongue! Aramaic will take some learning. I had noticed how low were the automated translation percentages for Daniel, around 1% where everything else ... [Deuteronomy]

November 11, 10PM

Friends, please spread this news. My new book The Song in the Night is now available. And for the next few days - until November 16, you can get it at only $12.59 from the US publisher.  Regular price is $17.99. The book is 152 pages and is about the mu... [The Song in the Night]


This chapter popped up the automated list to 60% completed by word when I had finished 1 Kings 9. That will continue to happen, particularly in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, perhaps even with higher percentages, the further I get into the text. These two ... [2 Chronicles]


Jonah and Eden. Like the manna-hoarding Israelites who, after the splitting of the sea, believe they can preserve their latest installment of divine largesse, the rebellious Jonah, after his own salvation at sea, renews his quest for a permanent Eden-lik... [Jonah] [Links]

November 10, 12 AM

1 Kings 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82134)
Didn't I just read about not doing deals with the land? I wonder if the writer of Ezekiel 48 was thinking about Solomon and the deals, the long project plan, and the shortchanging of Hiram, who appears not to have been able to avoid the embarrassment. Ima... [1 Kings]

November 8, 5PM

Hosea 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82075)
The last chapter of the 12. A whole section read. That makes 19 of 39 books done, but several of the rest are big books, though not as big as the Psalms. (Except Jeremiah, 21,775 words, a little over 2000 more than the Psalter.) The final recurring word o... [Hosea]


Hosea 13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82064)
Must keep going. Ephraim here plunders his own heritage. I cannot help thinking that Ephraim represents those who say they are of God but who pursue powers and principalities (false gods) and who end up with disaster. I admit you could apply this to any p... [Hosea]

November 7, 12 PM

Hosea 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#82016)
The verse numbers differ by one with English editions. This chapter is somewhat incoherent to me, with unfinished sentences and difficult pronoun switches. What is the significance of the reminder of the Jacob-messenger wrestling in Genesis? Note the dif... [Hosea]

November 3, 3PM

Ezekiel 48 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81821)
For something completely different. Ezekiel is a great mystery to me, so why not do the last chapter? So far incomprehensible. A set of cryptically worded measurements, a title 'principal' belonging to someone, I suppose, and a holding, or holdings, of a... [Ezekiel]

November 2, 4PM

Hosea 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81759)
The pronouns show that Hebrew is not always like English in making things agree in number in a sentence. Israel, Ephraim, are both one and many. One collective, many individuals. One people, many persons. One body, many members, just like the images used ... [Hosea]

October 31, 9PM

Let Bear, house of Bear rejoice with Gelotophyllis an herb which drank in wine and myrrh causes excess of laughter Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno, Fragment D Old Testament Tent Torah corner Claude Mariottini continues the discussion on Genesis ... [carnival]


A fine number - two to the seventh power. or find out how the Muppets meet Christopher Smart in East Coker. coming in only a few hours.... last minute suggestions welcome [carnival]

12 PM

Esther 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81643)
This is a story of the ultimate victory of the needy. When I was meditating on this chapter I could not see past the vengeance and I had not yet translated the first two verses. Yesterday the lectionary Psalm was 149. The Psalms have a bracket encompassin... [Esther] [personal theology]

October 29, 8PM

Overview The intent of this project is to find a rendering in English of the Old Testament text that could be set to the music that is embedded in the Hebrew text. Hearing the text with music is like hearing someone speak with vocal intention, tone of voi... [reading project status]


Esther 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81555)
... and he had correspondence sent by the hand of the racers on the horses the riders of the steeds the mules and the foal of the mares. And they carried the message by email, Facebook, and twitter. Not to mention hard copy. When the lies are dealt with,... [Esther]


The world can be known in four letter words. Evil and love will do for a beginning. Evil, even spoken or written under the seal of the king is still evil. We cannot learn love alone. It is not good that the human should be alone. Ergo, redoubts are evil. ... [Esther] [individual] [personal theology]

October 28, 11AM

Esther 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81525)
Esther is politically and emotionally shrewd to draw in her enemy by his own desires. It strikes me that the enemy is covering his insecurity with hatred. But perhaps that is too easy an excuse for jealousy. The enemy in this case is highly favored by th... [Esther]

October 27, 1PM

Esther 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81474)
Fraught with anticipation, (leap of the 6th to high C), Haman and the king come to have a cup of tea with the queen. Esther 7 Min Max וַיָּבֹ֤א הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ וְהָמָ֔ן לִשְׁתּ֖וֹת עִם־אֶסְתֵּ֥ר הַמ... [Esther]


Hosea 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81469)
Question in verse 3 - response in the last verse (15). Play on words between Bethel and Bethaven. House of God and House of Mischief. Extended harvesting metaphor. 22 words occur exactly twice, 11 more than twice. Complex image - deliberate, but not poetr... [Hosea]

October 25, 8AM

Joshua 23 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81366)
Joshua is now no longer ignored by me for 11 months. I was surprised to see this chapter pop up to 57% done by automation in my list. I think it is the repeated Deuteronomic phrasing in it. Warnings of the relationship between faithfulness and consequence... [Joshua]

October 23, 11PM

Job 41 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81293)
This completes Job. But it doesn't mean I am finished with it. Any completed chapter or book is subject to change when new information comes to light. Sometimes I might use a synonym once, and then require it elsewhere. Sometimes I have allowed a breaking... [Job]

October 22, 11PM

Job 40 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81260)
Yahweh is one might say, blunt in this speech, but also not without metaphor. This, however, is not to be understood as decipherable solely by the intellect. So here's the music.  Some verses are connected with whatever went before them through a lack of... [Job]


Hosea 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81253)
These verses might be applied today, not necessarily to Ephraim, but to anyone who considers themselves a favorite of God's but who is failing to act as Yahweh acts, with a preferential option for the poor. The precipice is very steep and rough. Hosea 9... [Hosea]

October 20, 3PM

Esther 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81175)
The presence of the harvest word, garner, may indicate a part of a metaphor. Still unclear to me. The faith of Mordecai is expressed in his confidence that the Judeans would not perish but be delivered from some other quarter if not through Esther. Ther... [Esther]


Esther 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81163)
This is as plain as can be. Verse 10-11 reminds me of Job being delivered into the hand of the Accuser. The council of the gods in this case is lower than we might imagine the picture in Job, but perhaps we should not think this. Perhaps we should not cap... [Esther]

October 19, 10PM

For some odd reason, it seemed good to do Deuteronomy 4. I cannot say the word Deuteronomy without thinking of Dr. Peter Craigie, a teacher of mine over 35 years ago in Calgary. He taught me that Deuteronomy is a book of love. So many of us youngsters t... [Deuteronomy]

October 18, 4PM

This is curious - it shows the last time I touched a particular chapter and book. Poor Joshua - haven't looked at him in 10 months. The percentages are words by book including the automated ones, and by chapter. I 'finished' Job 4 some time ago but it was... [reading project status]

October 17, 11PM

Esther 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#81033)
For various reasons, I don't read in sequence. In this case I noticed several days ago that several parts of chapter 6 were already done by automation, so I worked on that one first. It is the nature of story that repetition occurs in the telling and is i... [Esther]

October 15, 1PM

Hosea 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80954)
Short chapters but far from clear. Makes me think I am making progress. Some of the sentences here are disjointed. The general sense is clear. Those who are chosen can do foolishly. A lesson well learned if indeed it can be. Hosea 8 אֶל־חִכּ... [Hosea]

October 13, 2PM

Collecting the pieces of wood after having chopping the wood with one swing of the ax, is not so easy. It is relatively simple to show how many verses have a similar sequence of accents. The problem is - the list is too big unless it is in a database and ... [musical structure]

October 12, 5PM

Job 39 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80833)
Relief, back to some poetry. But hard to judge every gloss. I do not find Yahweh's speeches unsatisfactory. They express faith in the created order with all its dread from our point of view. Job 39 הֲיָדַ֗עְתָּ עֵ֭ת לֶ֣דֶת יַ... [Job]

October 11, 11AM

Hosea 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80773)
The baking / pancake analogy has perhaps a touch of humour. It is tempting to apply the ancient prophets to the current situation among those who think they are the beloved Ephraim. We might be happy to apply Ephraim to ourselves if love is the result, bu...

October 10, 11PM

We all know about the development of Sonata Form in the period from Mozart to Beethoven, right? We do not analyse music by individual line but by motif, and pattern, and theme, and development, and preparation and conclusion, and coda among many other iss... [musical structure]

October 8, 10AM

The top 40 (see the previous post for a different analysis) musical shapes in the Psalms. Music frequency accents example e B ^A f e  102 silluq munah ^atnah merkha silluq  Psalms 10.17 g B ^A f e  97 tifha munah... [musical structure] [psalm music]

October 7, 8PM

I got a question today for my database:  How many verses of the Psalms follow, say, [silluq]-munah-tifha-munah-atnah-merkha-silluq? And list them in order, with the most frequent sequences at the top and the least frequent at the bottom. Well this is fa... [musical structure] [psalm music] [statistics]

October 6, 2PM

Esther 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80561)
Looking at the music, verse 5 beginning on the dominant announces Mordecai. Verse 20 also begins on the dominant, drawing attention to the repetition of this verse's content from verse 10. (7 additional verses in the book begin on the dominant and 13 vers... [Esther]

October 5, 9AM

I wonder if it is time for me to be drawn back into Romans. Phil Long has a series on Romans in process in which he explores the background for Paul's thought in his contemporaries or immediate precedents. I would like to look at Romans from the point of... [Romans]

October 4, 2PM

Genesis 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80458)
Genesis 19 וַ֠יָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵ֨י הַמַּלְאָכִ֤ים סְדֹ֙מָה֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב וְל֖וֹט יֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּשַֽׁעַר־סְדֹ֑ם וַיַּרְא־לוֹט֙ וַיָּ֣קָם לִקְרָאתָ֔ם ... [Genesis]

October 2, 6PM

This book is now available for pre-order here. As I have already noted on Facebook, the book has received some immediate use today at Rosh Hashanah services on the West Coast. I am in the process of collecting blurbs. Let me know if you would like to see ... [The Song in the Night]

October 1, 9AM

A BS Carnival is a selection of posts related to Biblical Studies in the inter-blogger-webo-twit-face-sphere for the month of October 2017. (Social Media moniker is from the Crusty Old Dean.) The old sole-sources are defunct - the biblioblog list is alwa... [carnival]

September 30, 9AM

Hosea 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80285)
A short chapter. I must find some long chapters eventually. Fascinating to me how a distant change will happen. A Psalm I worked with in 2007, Psalm 46, suffered a tweak because of this chapter. The phrase changed was 'in the early morning'. There is alwa... [Hosea]

September 29, 11AM

Job 37 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80243)
Elihu has some good lines. All animate beings are metaphor for the human. The human (individual and together) is always the hidden antecedent, singular or plural. So the animal here anticipates Leviathan and Behemoth, and is Job also. Yahweh would not app... [Job]

September 28, 11AM

Esther 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80203)
I really don't know where this is going to take me. Esther is very offensive to some people. I suppose that's too bad. All of us have our touch points that offend us. Where is offence located? The first thing I notice is that this a sumptuous environment... [Esther]

September 27, 9AM

Hosea 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80165)
After this 9 more chapters of Hosea and I will 'finish' the 12 (the minor prophets). Also 5 more chapters, and Job is done. So I think I will pursue these two interim goals. Then I must tackle Esther. Perhaps it will introduce me to later writing as part ... [Hosea]

September 26, 11AM

Hosea 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80099)
We are quite able to be hurt by and with the inhabitants of the land we live in. Hosea 4 שִׁמְע֥וּ דְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּ֣י רִ֤יב לַֽיהוָה֙ עִם־יוֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָא... [Hosea]

September 24, 4PM

Job 36 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#80025)
Back from a short holiday. Not sure I could stand a long one without carrying my data and library with me. It's the nature of the work that it is a real escape. But the problem with this puzzle, as I was thinking this morning when watching my wife do the ... [Job]

September 17, 4PM

by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#79713)
There is great difficulty reading this chapter. Ask, who is speaking, who is being quoted, and who is the subject being discussed. Job 35 וַיַּ֥עַן אֱלִיה֗וּ וַיֹּאמַֽר 1 And Elihu answered and said, 9 הֲ֭זֹאת חָ... [Job]

September 10, 10AM

Here is a progress report so I can remember where I was (though I do have my 39 bookmarks). (Is that where Buchan got his title The 39 steps? The number is on my mind since we have 39 steps from ground level to our flat, really obvious to us in this time... [reading project status]

September 9, 11PM

Last chapter of Zechariah. Good time to stop for a two-week holiday driving to and from Regina. On the way I will see if I can find any readers for my new book. Let me know if you would like to be one. I have a half a dozen out there and would welcome som... [Zechariah]

September 7, 10AM

This is the lectionary for last Sunday so several local preachers preached on it. One such found the passage really troubling. See this post and the comments. Christopher tagged me on Facebook to respond so I have begun. But there is so much more that cou... [Jeremiah]

September 6, 12 AM

I suppose I might as well get right on with it. It seems to me that these past two chapters anticipate a different kind of death. Like birth, our birth. And just what is like what in this passage? Zechariah 12 מַשָּׂ֥א דְבַר־יְהוָ... [Zechariah]

September 5, 7PM

This chapter demands much creative thought. The limited concordance I have attempted is particularly important here. I marvel at what thoughts occur that I would never have noted if I were reading even slowly in English. I know readers who lovingly cares... [Zechariah]

September 4, 1AM

1 Samuel 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#79079)
Hannah's song I had done some time ago. Now to continue the story of the corrupt priesthood of Shiloh under Eli. O, the food for blame that this story could engender. Take care, Bob, that you don't let the self-serving of the priests convince you of anyt... [1 Samuel]

September 2, 9AM

From the research unit on the Cairo Geniza in Cambridge, (ht Jim Davilla), a fragment on who wrote the Bible. A fragment from the Cairo Geniza (2010-10-07 Cambridge University Library) To give a sense of what the fragments look like, this is an image o... [Links]
I recall my first memory of the Eucharist in the old Bishop's University chapel in Lennoxville. Sometime after that the clatter of little cups in the pews is a memory of the communion held every three months in the United church of Granby. Was I being tra... [personal theology] [politics]

September 1, 8AM

The latest carnival is posted here from JK Turner  on a Friday at the Monday Morning Theologian. [carnival]

August 31, 10AM

Isaiah 28 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78938)
Well, here's a surprise. Hezekiah is one who really prays. The historian in Kings and Chronicles does not record a prayer, just the judgment of the king's self-centred attitude toward his own remaining time, but the prophet records the prayer and it is te... [Isaiah]

August 29, 2PM

Daniel 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78857)
Finally I chose from the bottom of my list instead of the top. I was surprised that this chapter had as much done as it did, about 20% or so. It has a feel like the historical books, but the common words with Kings and Chronicles are 1 and 2 at a time rat... [Daniel]

August 26, 3PM

What did I think I was faced with as the raw data of the writing that Christendom calls the Old Testament? I remember being told that ancient Manuscripts of the Hebrew texts were consonants only without vowels or punctuation. I was also told that there w... [musical structure] [reading project status] [the music project]

August 25, 2PM

Job 34 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78694)
Elihu continues his harangue against Job. In the days when I was reading commentaries on Job, I noted from Crenshaw and Edwin Good that scholars are generally negative about this character. (Post from 6 years ago here. I remain largely in agreement with t... [Job]

August 23, 9AM

What might we make of Moses' supporting his hand on Joshua? Have you ever thought of 'the laying on of hands' as supporting the elder through the younger? I was surprised to see that phrase 'laid his hands on him' at all in the traditional English of the ... [Deuteronomy]

August 21, 1PM

Only two more chapters of this one to go! So I did the short one - only 12 verses. I was only at about 36% when I started. I still ponder why some books auto-translate and some don't. Sometimes it is new forms of words that I have not yet encountered. No... [Zechariah]

August 20, 8PM

Ah gentle reader, I would not want you to think the impoverished king was riding on two animals simultaneously, so I have not translated a vav. Horrors! You omitted a letter! Yes, beloved, because vav is a connector and can 'mean' just about anything the ... [Zechariah]


I just picked up the first proof copy of The Song in the Night a day or two ago. The image on the cover I took in Jerusalem in 2010. It is the west face of Old Jerusalem by night with the Tower of David on the left. Flecks of light appear almost like acc... [The Song in the Night]

August 18, 11PM

This is such a formative chapter. As I mistook one of the placings of the Atnah, I recalled that the text in the scrolls is unpointed. The cantor must decide where the rest is to be. And the rest of the shape. I read in Jacobson that there are 'rules' bu... [Deuteronomy]

August 17, 12 AM

It has occurred to me that I should acknowledge where I get my words, if indeed that is possible. Someone said to me, why translate the Bible? Hasn't it already been done? And yes it has. But I didn't do it and I wondered what the decisions were by those ... [personal theology] [translation]

August 16, 2PM

Staff in hand, Jerusalem, 2010 Who 'takes hold' of whose garment hem? Zechariah writes at the time of the restoration from exile in Babel (Babylon). Do we not all experience exile in some fashion? Is it wonderful in Yahweh's eyes today, the state of Je... [Zechariah]

August 15, 10PM

The music of Deuteronomy shows the relationship between distant verses that I have pointed out in other contexts. Verse 7 beginning on the 6th note above the tonic, closes the parenthesis begun in verse 2. The deeds in the parenthesis are those which all... [Deuteronomy]

August 13, 10AM

Numbers 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78187)
If one dies, all have died. (2 Corinthians 5:14) To what end is death appointed for all living? I expect we all come to this question eventually. The death of Jesus, Paul interprets as the death of all so that in the resurrection of Jesus, all are come a... [Numbers]

August 12, 12 PM

As aged parents, we could get quite personal here. Did we turn around to the house wall when we were will to the point of death? Did we get another 15 years and trouble for our grandchildren? Now here's where prayer is more a determined attitude than a fo... [2 Kings]

August 11, 11PM

Isaiah 39 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78126)
I can't believe that many are really reading these renderings of mine. I left an entire verse in ungrammatical word order and no one of the 100+ hits mentioned it. I don't think the hit rate means much either. Occasionally, there are comments. I am happy ... [Isaiah]

August 10, 9AM

Old Testament Professor Claude Mariottini has a number of posts related to issues of translation. I am glad to interact with him since his tradition is different from mine and he is educated in this field where I am not. We have touched on the problem of... [translation]

August 9, 5PM

Job 33 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#78037)
Elihu, what are you up to? Note the urgency of this - no rest, yet it is easily long enough to have two rests. Verse 27 is likewise one uninterrupted admission. Elihu, pace Job, is teaching repentance in one uninterrupted admission. Equally he is point... [Job]

August 8, 11PM

More links by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77990)
A relaxing review from Brad East on Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology, vol. 1. (Don't sweat the details to bore your readers or impress the authorities with your comprehensiveness.) Here's the beginning of a series on religion and American ... [Links]

August 7, 11PM

Complete is a relative term. Some things may change as new information appears. The appearance is not always expected. But so far it keeps happening. Current status: These are the chapters I have done to date. Apart from the Psalms, they are all online b... [reading project status]


What is the Baal word? (Pronounced as two syllables). The Israelites are frequently accused of worshiping the Ba'al and it's a mystery to most of us who read about it. Who knows anything much about ancient rites? They, the Ba'alim, must be bad, eh? But i... [Hosea]

August 6, 12 AM

Numbers 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77876)
Verse 1 opens with a verb that has no object and requires one. I do not like the solution that puts 'and he took' at the end of the verse. It violates the principle of rest implied by the accent on Levi. So I am guessing that the verb used for take, recei... [Numbers]

August 1, 10PM

Some links by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77695)
How the Iraq Inquiry Failed to Follow the Money. (And all this time I thought money was just information and trust. What is this thing called cash?) Phil Long has done the Biblical Studies carnival this month. I have volunteered for October. Perhaps I ca... [Links]


2 Kings 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77690)
It probably doesn't surprise you that the historical books give us some information on what the prophets were railing against. They also allow us to place a prophet in his or her context. About names of people and places, I have not made up my mind wheth... [2 Kings]


This morning, quite by accident I had to correct a phrase in Deuteronomy 28:53, 55, 57. Just a bit of awkward English. The phrase popped up in 2 Kings 24:10 as a suggested gloss and I checked where it came from and changed it. It turns out the post is re... [Moses as prophet]

July 30, 2PM

It's a toss up which chapter I will pick from those that are not yet complete. I make a list by chapter of the ones which are closest to being completed already by the automation. One or other may pop up to the top depending on which chapter I have just f... [Jeremiah]

July 29, 12 AM

Job 32 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77522)
I never would have believed, as I have said before, that Job would be a respite in this translation experience. When I come back to Job, I feel at home! I have fewer than 10 chapters left. What will I do when it is done? Elihu is a character all his own.... [Job]

July 25, 10PM

Judges 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#77390)
I suspect this first chapter is intended as formative for the reader by the author. The tribes are reported as compromising with total conquest. Instead of utter destruction, it appears that the Israelites had a policy of enforced service or slavery for t... [Judges]

July 17, 11PM

Example of the music of the responsive section Deuteronomy 27 וַיְצַ֤ו מֹשֶׁה֙ וְזִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר שָׁמֹר֙ אֶת־כָּל־הַמִּצְוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֧ר... [Deuteronomy]

July 15, 10AM

Job 31 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#76948)
The words of Job are complete. (He will say a few more in 10 chapters.) This chapter I find has a number of difficulties. At times it seems incoherent to me but a few guesses with helping verbs seems to have helped. Verses 1-12 are about the first need f... [Job]

July 10, 8AM

This quote might have come from Doug Saunders in a Globe editorial on the fear of refugees, but instead it is from a book I have just taken up, The French Language and British Literature, 1756-1830, British Literature in Context in the Long Eighteenth Cen...

July 9, 9PM

This is a curious story if only for the four levels of reported speech in verse 18 (Micah 3:12), not to mention the threats and counter arguments. I know very little of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Gradually we may meet them more fully. Brutality and self-intere... [Jeremiah]

July 8, 1PM

Job 30 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#76634)
When I began, I thought Job was serious in this chapter, but on finishing, I think he was needling his friends with his summary reminding them of words they used that implied a lack of care for the indigent. There is no rest in verse 27. Verses 3, 12 and... [Job]

July 6, 11PM

Why I wonder is Moses addressed in the second person plural in the last few verses. I have seen the people as singular but it seems rare to see a named person as plural. Is it the multifarious interpretations of regulation that are in view? Is Moses someh... [Deuteronomy]

July 3, 1PM

How is it possible to learn the right lesson from history? Or from canonical examples? Or from our traditions? Or from our immediate privilege? I'm all right Jack, or I'm a miserable sinner? Can one safely begin a sentence or initiate an action with the f... [Deuteronomy] [personal theology]

June 30, 3PM

The Liturgy site of Bosco Peters has raised the question of music in the Church with this provocative post. This is such an important topic, I have taken the time to try a fuller response. I admit my bias. My wife and I both sang in a semi-professional ... [music in the churches]

June 29, 7PM

The prod of drip, drips and dropped drops. Concordance is impossible. It is not the way language works. There are just too many exceptions. A large part of language is very fluid. Large parts of the puzzle of the corpus of the OT are a vague sea of colou... [translation]


Some ancient advice from wall builders: "The reader is warned against erecting a partition or wall in partnership with a divisive person, since the structure will be built with stones of wastefulness and the plaster that should serve to strengthen t... [Links]


Genesis 49 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#76193)
If I had hired the poet, I wonder if I would have paid for this song when it was finished. It is certainly blunt at times from Reuben's incest to Benjamin's violence. And in the middle (Gen 49:18), there is a three word prayer. None of the three words is ... [Genesis]

June 27, 3PM

Some of these are stunning. All worth a few minutes to hear how widely received this psalm is. The timbre of the four soloists in the second Rossi is striking. The Khazak film preview is very sad. The Chinese dance is fascinating. [Links]


Where have I been? Here's my current status by subdivision of books. Torah, for instance, has 187 chapters, 5843 verses, and constitutes 25% of the Hebrew Bible by verse. Of these I have read 26 chapters and reported my reading on this blog. That's 13.9% ... [reading project status]

12 AM

Job 29 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#76061)
Job's summary of his case (chapters 29-31) is as touching as any constructed literature one might read. The final recurring root in this chapter, (verses 21 and 23) what I would call its focus, is hope. Certain verses are marked by recurrence. Verse 13 h... [Job]

June 25, 8PM

Isaiah 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#76033)
A dismal chapter, but hear in the distance the Song of Solomon and the Lamentations. Love is not lost even though we are. The whole chapter can be applied to Brexit of course - work at it. If you read closely you sill see they had outsourcing even in thos... [Isaiah]

June 24, 6AM

Isaiah 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75979)
Good for nothing. = idol (if you wish). I had a rat once. Not a golden one, but a white and grey one, a lovely creature. Idolatry is a modern phenomenon. Apart from the first 5 verses, this passage is not widely quoted. To think about it, perhaps there i... [Isaiah]

June 22, 4PM

Job 27 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75893)
Just prior to the hymn to wisdom, Job is said to continue 'his parable' with these words. Please note that it is called a parable. It is not history. It is like a play that they might go to at the theatre. They were human you know, not fearful automatons... [Job]


Job 26 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75884)
A brief respite, filled with very modern skepticism. There is no extreme of the human condition that is not in these records of our ancestors. While my children are in the antipodes, it is interesting to see the northern bias. Why is north up? Job 26 ... [Job]

June 21, 9PM

Reading the text is probably more useful than reading commentaries. But it's almost too late. Now a little over 1/3 through this large collection of ancient texts, I am wondering why 'Moses' uses the phrase בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֔ים, ... [Deuteronomy]


Grunts by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75849)
Several words in a language are not much more than grunts. Sometimes they have residual meaning. Should one be careful with translating grunts? I haven't been.

June 19, 7PM

I find conditionals negative. They always contain threat. They are incompatible with love. Yet love is incompatible with a lack of response. For all that prelude, why is it that translators insist on translating a relative or consequential pronoun as 'if'... [Deuteronomy] [Structure]

June 18, 11PM

It was Peter Craigie who taught me in the late 1970's that Deuteronomy is the book of love. And this was not sentiment, but born of a close reading. It was not mindless instruction, but the reminder that we of that time (like most people all times) were i... [reading project status] [translation]


1 Kings 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75728)
My mother used to use the term, grievous, to mean severe, I suppose. But it works within the domain of grief also. This is not the greatest part of the OT, but is it grief or provocation to anger than is in view here? The word is כעס. It is not the wor... [1 Kings]

June 17, 10AM

I had misread this verse. It should read For what to me are iniquities and sins?My transgression and my sin, make me know. I have always been in danger of equating the mystery of sin with the mystery of God. These are two separate issues. The mystery o... [Job] [translation]

June 16, 3PM

Lamentably, אבל, still the people offer violence and hatred in every high place, but solely to their God (of course). What was it that bothered the Chronicler and others about sacrificing to Yahweh on the high places? Maybe it was that the violence of... [2 Chronicles]

June 15, 3PM

Genesis 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75587)
Curious to me that cloud is used as a verb here. We speak of it 'clouding over', but God says, when I cloud-over a cloud over... awkward in English but a repetition in Hebrew. And God is the actor. The other day a colleague remarked that it was God's sky ... [Genesis]

June 14, 10AM

Integrity by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75531)
There are times when I choose a gloss, that I may not find the lesser worth of that gloss for several years. This happened yesterday when I saw a distinction between wipe out and blot out that required me to reverse a decision made when I first rendered P... [covenant of blood] [personal theology] [translation]

June 13, 10PM

2 Kings 21 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75486)
We should wish I guess for a wise leader. Given that figurine and dung are the same root, this could be rendered much more rudely. 2 Kings 21 בֶּן־שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ מְנַשֶּׁ֣ה בְמָלְכ֔וֹ ו... [2 Kings]

June 11, 10PM

Job 24 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75406)
The second half of Job's speech in response to Eliphaz (Chapter 22), the beginning of the third round, a round that degenerates into many voices, until after the wisdom hymn in chapter 28, Job summarizes his arguments in three chapters 29-31. We'll get th... [Job] [musical structure]

June 10, 11AM

Job 23 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75373)
Job gets two chapters for his next speech. The next will follow later, but not too long. I had a look at my last work on this chapter and I think my present 10-year old self should talk more with my 4-year old self. There is a risk that I will simply mak... [Job]

June 9, 11PM

This is my second stretched out journey through Job in Hebrew. The first was done with commentaries in 2010 in a few months, the second began 15 months ago and I am in no hurry to finish. Job is a respite. Can you believe that? It is a dialogue that will... [Job] [Psalms]

12 AM

One is not expecting a warm homecoming. Zechariah is indirect in his criticism. There is perhaps no other way for the wayward human. Zechariah 7 וַֽיְהִי֙ בִּשְׁנַ֣ת אַרְבַּ֔ע לְדָרְיָ֖וֶשׁ הַמֶּ֑לֶך... [Zechariah]

June 8, 3PM

I don't know how I will pull together all the pieces of this translation project but it is fascinating. Today on my way to the University of Victoria for a lecture, a fine one, on evolutionary biology, I was angry at my glasses for getting tangled in my ... [reading project status] [translation]

June 7, 4PM

Genesis 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75246)
A little Genesis as a respite from Zechariah. Back to the barge which we left floating some time ago. The birth imagery is unexpected. (חול Dance, whirl, twist, give birth, be in labour). Also meandering and turning give a little more to the turmoil of... [Genesis]

June 6, 5PM

There are a few liberties with names taken in the following.You will get it. Ruinous grace. Even my disabled son said, oxymoron. I tear through this visionary when I should have been travelling on holiday. But that was not to be. So I pursue the translat... [Zechariah]


One thing Zechariah teaches us is to ask questions. He may have strange and dreamlike visions, but he asks rather than assuming he knows in advance the answers. Keep on with questions. Even simple ones. Zechariah 5 וָאָשׁ֕וּב וָאֶשׂ... [Zechariah]

June 5, 5PM

Zechariah is a visionary. I should add this to my book on the music as a commentary on Exodus 25, but the book is long enough. Yet surely this visionary is returning to a hope that was from the beginning.  Yet we must imagine the vision. Chose for yourse... [Zechariah]

12 AM

Every verse memorized in ignorance is reframed, reinterpreted, rethought, and reworked when you read it in Hebrew. If YHWH is against the accuser then the same is against Jerusalem. You cannot have it both ways. The preposition is the same ב. So the prep... [Zechariah]

June 4, 12 PM

Saturday by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75109)
I think I tend to do links on Saturday but it's not a needed thing. Doug Chaplin's articles on the articles are always of interest to me. This one has some reasoning toward openness that I concur with: "The particular historical life, death and resu... [Links]

June 2, 5PM

Zechariah by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#75041)
You know, friends, if such you are, his skimming is both tiring and difficult. There are so many decisions made for us who read in translation, I can see why the process might never complete. Anyone could easily spend a lifetime with any one of the myriad...


What's in a gloss? Is for example ארץ land or is it earth? How can one tell? Even if it is land, is it a specific land? The frequency of the word in Zechariah (one in every 5 verses .2) is among the highest. The count is shared by Genesis and Jeremiah.... [translation] [Zechariah]

May 31, 4PM

Words shared by Job 14:12-16 and Psalm 3:5-8 Robert Cole's work to show the relationships within the Psalter of Psalms 1 and 2 and 149 for instance is quote convincing to me based on the recurring words. I haven't read his book on the subject. I really d... [recurring words]

May 30, 4PM

This doubles parts of 1 Kings 8-9. Probably 1 Kings 9 will follow soon. 2 Chronicles 7 וּכְכַלּ֤וֹת שְׁלֹמֹה֙ לְהִתְפַּלֵּ֔ל וְהָאֵ֗שׁ יָֽרְדָה֙ מֵֽהַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַתֹּ֥אכַל...

12 AM

Job 22 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74849)
As I wait for the bread to cool, (it's a subtle bread, with a touch of cardamom, two challah braids, a half dozen buns, and a loaf), another chapter of Job. This part of the conversation is far from clear. Eliphaz may be quoting thoughts from Job's earli... [Job]

May 29, 10AM

There are all sorts of chapters that I come across that I have never looked closely at. This one is a curious possible analogy on partnerships between enemies. Who gets to be the one that triumphs over evil in the long run. (One could get carried away wit...

May 28, 1PM

Micah 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74807)
One more of the 12 completed, 2 longish ones to go. There have been a lot of other minor changes raised by this chapter. I found it slow going compared say to the history books. Again the judgment is against exploitation. Reading this morning's Globe and ...

May 27, 10PM

Not the exact words, but clearly one or the other text is alluding to the other. Micah is specific to corrupt governance where the psalm is more generic. Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 5 6 Vs Stem ...

May 26, 11AM

Links by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74731)
Amy Jill Levine - good lecture here. Lecture from minute 8 to minute 55 - some good questions following. And a super (non) answer at 1:05. Also later some amazing notes on prison ministry at Vanderbilt. OUP on the Song. [Links]

May 25, 8AM

Jeremiah 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74666)
All through here, traditional translation is pleading, though the verb used is one of strife, or dispute or contention, or making the case (Psalm 35:1 רִיבָ֣ה יְ֭הוָה אֶת־יְרִיבַ֑י). It's curious to me that I used plead only on... [Jeremiah]

May 24, 9AM

I'm 1/3 through and I have concordance rules that I have broken for various reasons: acrostics take precedence over concordance, there are some legitimate homonyms, some gadget usage is idiomatic in both guest and host language, sometimes I don't push th... [Semantic domains]
Jeremiah 2 gets about as raunchy as I have read in any prophet. Didn't know the Bible was fun, eh? This instruction is given to the  'hot young dromedary, fleet in criss-crossing her ways' - hey, stop exposing yourself: (verse 25) Withhold your foot fro... [Jeremiah]

May 22, 4PM

Help me out here, some of these things are not like the others. Can you find them? This first one is easy. I have bolded the first few errors that I see, can you see others? The errors might be spelling, or the gloss is not an animal of creation, or what... [Semantic domains] [translation]


OUP has a post on this today. My comment may not be accepted, or may get lost when I post it, so here it is. The greater the good, the greater the potential for distortion of the good. With respect to the song and its explicit joy in the gift of sex, the... [Song of Songs]

May 20, 11PM

Job 21 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74490)
How obvious it is when we return to poetry. Just look at the short sharp lines. There is nothing simlpe about the speeches. Verse 5 gets it: Face me and be desolate, and set hand over mouth. Job is God's quarry. Paying no attention seems desirable. The u... [Job]


There are deep roots to the biases we grew up with. As I work through my reading in Hebrew and writing in English, I struggle with many glosses. I am still saying to myself, You cannot do what you are doing. The KJV folks were right. You should be as care... [translation]

May 19, 9PM

Micah 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74444)
Does anyone read this stuff? Do we have evil enterprise in our midst? Us? Micah 6 שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֖ה אֹמֵ֑ר ק֚וּם רִ֣יב אֶת־הֶהָרִ֔ים וְתִשְׁמַ֥עְנָה הַגְּ... [Micah]

May 18, 11PM

Micah 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74399)
You may know that I am thoroughly biased toward the elimination of the violence that is within each of us. It is a destruction that comes through the practice of discipleship. It is not easily learned. Be angry - but without sin. It may be my bias, or it ... [Micah]


This is a republish of something I did - when was it - maybe 9 months ago. It was unreadable. So here it is readable. I was going to make a small change - considering how to untangle a few locks of the 12, and I couldn't read the way I had done it those ... [Joel]

May 16, 10PM

Take a divisive body where the right is at odds with the left. And you have discord and destruction. Are you surprised? Micah 3 וָאֹמַ֗ר שִׁמְעוּ־נָא֙ רָאשֵׁ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב וּקְצִינֵ֖י בֵּ֣ית יִשׂ... [Micah]


I thinking of another book. What's the process I use for translation? Here's a sketched outline. What have I left out? <!--[if !supportLists]-->11.       <!--[endif]-->Some helpful and also possibly hindering sites <!--[if !suppor... [translation]


One begins to get a sense of the completion of what Moses began when the building of the initial sanctuary in the wilderness. The description of the music is particularly notable here. It's very cheerful music. Note particularly the lower key on Jeduthun ... [2 Chronicles]

May 15, 11PM

This is largely parallel to 1 Kings 8. Sometimes it is just a spelling difference. Sometimes there are specific differences. (E.g. verse 13 below is new information about Solomon's scaffold.) But detailed comparison would be more detail than these posts c... [2 Chronicles]

May 14, 11PM

1 Kings 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74199)
There are some exotic and unexpected glosses here to pick up on repeating sounds in the Hebrew. It's too big a chapter to put in much commentary on the music or the recurrence (which is internally substantial.) [Just noticed that 2 Chronicles 6 translated... [1 Kings]

May 12, 10AM

Micah 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#74104)
Some chapters are very difficult to make sense of. The stutterers are traditionally translated as prophets. The music begins on a low c perhaps indicating a thought continuing from the prior chapter. Micah 2 ה֧וֹי חֹֽשְׁבֵי־אָ֛וֶ...

May 10, 12 AM

I have recorded my presentation. It is 36 minutes - a little too long - but if given live I will tighten it up. I don't like reading from a script. There are aspects to this that are quite difficult to tease out in an article or presentation. So I ad lib ... [the music project]

May 9, 12 PM

This is the opening minute of the lecture I hope to give in Idaho at the SBL conference May 20-22.   [the music project]

May 8, 9AM

Micah 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73881)
Some chapters are more foreign than others. For destruction, however, consider the carnage on our highways and byways, and the devastation that is Syria today, though all these names be foreign to us.  You may have noticed that the word of Yahweh is tang... [Micah]

May 7, 1PM

Hey - a whole chapter of proverbs - you never know where I will go next, but I don't go backwards except to make a correction. (I never know where I'm going either. I still don't know how I got here when I started at Micah 1 this morning!) When I started... [Proverbs]


Nobody reads the ancient prophets. But I hope you've read the Globe Focus this morning. Global warming, Air Rage, and Aggressive Nationalism are the targets. Doug Saunders on Global Warming Mark Kingwell on Air Rage Jeffrey Simpson on fierce Nationalism ... [politics]

May 6, 8PM

Amos 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73824)
When one goes down one path it is inevitably different from someone else going down another path. There is no sifting here but fugitives, refugees in modern terms. And the creation giving birth (see verse 9 below). This idea of creation giving birth is an... [Amos]


Apocalypse by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73820)
Two verses repeat in Amos, Amos 9:5 = Amos 8:8 and Amos 9:6 = Amos 5:8. This creates a bit of a circular structure with Amos 8:9 to 9:4 in the middle. That section contains the apocalypse. And what is that? After that section comes another promise of e... [Amos] [personal theology] [Structure]


This is a remarkable repetitive passage. When there is so much repetition, what is in the centre? The cloud was continually on the dwelling - remember how it was constructed 'early' (narrative time) in the journey (Exodus 25). Note there is no 'by day' i... [Numbers]

May 5, 10PM

This is new ground for me. I wrote a little program to clean up some old ground and it cleaned up quite a bit more than I anticipated! Like removing about 15,000 glosses that I maybe should not have removed, almost complete verses. But after a partial rec...


I am back to commenting a bit. I really wanted to translate today but instead I got a tree to put in the house (euphemistically called a houseplant). Ruth It's very tall. And it has moved since this placement closer to the window. (It's on wheels. Our... [flowers] [translation]

May 3, 11PM

It's not my practice but it is for some. The blogger software appears to moderate for me and warn me of spam without my needing to worry. I have two comments pending. One on L. Hurdato's blog and one on the Liturgy blog. One's a question. One's an answer...


Remind me by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73663)
A proverb or two a day. I should have learned verse 2 but I didn't. Verse 3 does not translate as KJV has it. The translator must have just been insulted by someone. Proverbs 27 אַֽל־תִּ֭תְהַלֵּל בְּי֣וֹם מָחָ֑ר כִּ... [Proverbs]


Amos 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73646)
As noted, the music of Amos 8 begins on the note one up from the tonic. The 13th verse has no rest point - so appropriate. It is a low recitation and I have continued the sentence into the next verse. Not all verses are isolated from each other even with ... [Amos]

May 2, 5PM

I have been wondering what the frequency of use of a reciting note is for the music of the te'amim. The preliminary results are in for the book of Genesis. For recitation greater than 12 notes: 0 C4 0 D4 52 E4 0 F4 0 G4 11 A4 166 B4 - the favored note f... [musical structure] [statistics]


The music of Amos 8 begins on the note one up from the tonic. This is somewhat rare for a verse (353, 73 of these in the 3 books). Here are the counts of verses, for beginning reciting note (default is e). Note that we never begin on an A, the rest note....

12 PM

Amos 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73598)
Two more chapters to go. I think it has been a long time since I completed a book. I am sort of close to completion for Job and for the 12. Perhaps both will be done before too much longer. I had thought to have done Job by last summer, but it was too har... [Amos] [musical structure]

May 1, 10AM

This morning I imagined I needed a foreword to my new book. It is scheduled to be available in early November. Contents are here. This is the foreword. Imagine yourself reading it 6 months from now. (It's only 150 pages). You have in your hands a readab... [the music project]

April 30, 6PM

Amos 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73505)
I keep on going. I have to stop on a dime and go shopping or tend the garden, but my bookmarks are kept and I sit down and am taken captive by the text, even if I have had to leave it for several days. It's a very big, nay gigantic puzzle. As I walked to... [Amos]


I haven't read Proverbs as a book. It seems too much at once. So maybe I should do one or two a day and see what emerges. I wonder if I am looking at frames in the few I have done so far? 14:12 and 16:25 are identical and similar to 21:2. 17:3 matches 27:... [Proverbs]

April 29, 2PM

Job 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73465)
Enjoying this so much! Zophar's next speech has been unfairly treated. 'Rain on his picnic'. Is that in the Bible or in Shakespeare? (Hint: this whole speech is by Bottom). Don't forget the omission of 'God' in the traditional hell fire and brimstone pas... [Job]

April 28, 5PM

Job 19 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73418)
So much today I am back to the beginning of the first attempts I made at Job 6 years ago. And my concordance helpers were really useful to me today, suggesting a reading that concurs with many. What do you think? Job 19 וַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗... [Job]

April 26, 9AM

Why would I have avoided Jeremiah for so long? Will I ever get to Ezekiel? Here's a paper that turned up on my Academia feed on Jeremiah. This prophet looks like he will be an interesting read. I wonder whether my reading will see the sorts of things tha... [Jeremiah]

April 25, 3PM

Jeremiah 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73280)
I found a bit of Jeremiah 20 that I must have done before the current database. Lost it was. In looking at it and given my unfamiliarity with Jeremiah, I thought I had better start from chapter 1. So here it is. Now is Jeremiah for or against? The prepos... [Jeremiah]

April 24, 11PM

אִ֥ישׁ וְאִשְׁתּֽוֹ - is not male and female strictly speaking, but it is used in verse 2 for the description of the clean and unclean beasts. Then in verse 16, the usual phrase for male and female is used, זָכָ֨ר וּנְקֵבָ... [Genesis]


Psalm 117 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73221)
Now here's fun. An uploaded score of Psalm 117, arranged by me this morning. Tell me harpists - will it work? [#psalmtweets] [Music of the Bible] [Psalm 117] [psalm music]

April 22, 8PM

Amos 5 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73172)
I hope to push the limits in the next couple of weeks to see how far I can get. We'll see. I am also preparing a presentation on the music for SBL regional meeting so there are other thought demands. The music always helps to hear the result of my reading... [Amos] [Structure]


Amos 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73165)
Inasmuch as we try to be understandable, yet we fail. A friend really tried to 'get into' my book on the Psalms, and he said to me, Bob, I have great capacity with numbers, but these words are too difficult for me. Really, I did not know this. I do not in... [Amos] [politics] [translation]

April 21, 8PM

Job 42 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#73128)
No, I'm not finished Job this second time through, but I just thought I would work on the last chapter before the remaining 20 or so that are pending... In verse 3 the quotation marks intend to show that Job is quoting Yahweh from chapter 38, but he is n... [Job]


Not my favorite story, but I have now really read it and will not likely forget it completely. Its value may lie in clues to uncovering the history of the language and its markings. Of course it also underscores the tribal brutality of the human and the e... [2 Chronicles]


Continuing from the prior post on 2 Chronicles 25, the parable of the thorn has identical music in both this chapter and 2 Kings 14. Does this mean it really is punctuation or just a well known ballad? 2 Chronicles 25:18 e tar,B e rev,B e zar,seg,ger,B r... [2 Chronicles] [2 Kings] [musical structure]

April 20, 11PM

It wouldn't be long before I got to 2 Chronicles 25 and what do you know but it's Amaziah again, this time with the story that shows us the absolute miserable state of affairs that the monarchy was. Not much different from today in the same part of the wo... [2 Chronicles] [2 Kings] [musical structure]

April 19, 10AM

What a strange thing the Bible is. I grew up with the cadence of The Authorized Version and the Coverdale Psalter. Talk about long influence. Authorized by whom? And who is Coverdale? Well, he's old, ancient, 4 or 5 hundred years or so, and he translated ... [translation]

April 18, 1PM

Here are the confident words of David. I have extracted the following from a section of my presentation for the regional SBL in Moscow, Idaho. Currently scheduled for 4PM on Friday One general question about the accents is how they support perceived ver... [psalm music] [psalm snippets]

April 17, 10AM

Here's a book that won't be written quickly. But if it is to be written at all ever, then it must be blogged bit by bit. So a series on translation (there probably are some posts already). Opinion was always part of my identity. Good grief, as of the mome... [translation]


Identity by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72926)
"The roots of my identity are not in time", Rowan Williams, Lost Icons, page 109. We don't need the personal pronoun. He is using himself as a generic human. The roots of identity are not in time. What is 'in time'. He means, we can't construc... [Book Reviews]

April 16, 2PM

Genesis 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72896)
Ah, the beginning of the Noah cycle, more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Enjoy. Some of my glosses will surprise you. I am still in transition from the earthling to humanity (same word), and construct and make/do are the same word in Hebrew, and so is dest... [Genesis]


Job 18 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72890)
And how does Bildad answer Job? The frame for the whole is the words after and place. From verse 5 to 18 the frame is light, darkness and tent. The inner frame is fright. (You do the coloring and you will see what I am saying.) The centre is solitude. Per... [Job] [musical structure] [personal theology] [politics] [recurring words]

April 15, 1PM

What to do by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72859)
Continues the post on Amos 3. Here is an image of the recurrence around the word for 'do', or make, undertake, etc. What does Yahweh do? Yahweh does not fail to do something (act) in the face of evil. (verse 6). Yahweh does not fail to uncover what he i... [personal theology]

12 PM

Amos announces that privilege comes to an end for the rich in Samaria. Is it a time when privilege will come to a conclusion for us? The prophets are about power, inequity, and consequences, destructive or not. Traditionally, the translations for Amos 3:... [Amos] [personal theology]

April 12, 4PM

Job 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72714)
If half the speech is done, the other half had better follow. (I know people move things around among the speeches of Job, but I don't.) There are verses that are short sharp triple sentences. It seems they should be split, but my program only splits for ... [Job]

12 PM

Job 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72701)
Job 16 takes some language from Lamentations 3. I worked with Job 6 years ago when I was about 4 years old. Reworking it is a second pleasure. It is a parable. A parable. A parable. And it underlines corporate responsibility. It is not about an individual... [Job]


Amos 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72691)
I was reading the JBL on trends in feminist criticism of Jezebel. That should improve my attitude to the Kings/Chronicles books. And the Elijah/Elisha cycle should also teach me something. But meanwhile, a little more of the Twelve. On my own archaic stil...

April 11, 4PM

2 Kings 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72657)
One goes up and down in this business or reading and translating. I think about the process and the various things I lean on that I could pull away from if only I found a complete dictionary in a form I could use with my home-grown software. Reading the C... [2 Kings]

April 9, 7AM

Amazing weather on the west coast at Point no point. Great supper too, all local ingredients, creative kitchen. And there's a rope hanging from heaven at Mystic beach on the Juan de Fuca trail.

April 7, 9AM

I was reading about pausal forms as determined by the vowels - O how nice. And they might correspond with the accents sometimes. This is relatively recent linguistic analysis of the Hebrew text by Dresher (Dresher, Bezalel Elan. 1994. The Prosodic Basis o... [impact]


Next year the Society for Old Testament Study is 100 years old. Two papers by David Clines were recently posted on Academia, both very clearly written, The Bible and the Academy, a short exploration of passion vs dispassion, and A Century of SOTS, one t... [impact] [Links] [SOTS]

April 4, 10AM

From the globe and mail focus Sat April 2: Mr Trump has felt omnipresent largely because the American electronic media has pretzelled itself around him like a lover. On a more serious note, Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman muses on 'soul' and gets my little cavil.... [Links]

April 3, 12 AM

Very complex inside jokes in the last month's carnival from N.T.Wrong. Thanks to Prof Dr Wrong for including a little night music. Also note a few other links - this from a favoured blog - Entangled States. I've been busy these past few days playing in ... [carnival] [Links]

April 2, 8AM

Job 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72237)
Returning to Job, a little wisdom literature to remove the taste of kings for a few minutes. Here Eliphaz structures his poem around filling the belly with wind. Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 5 6 Vs Stem רוח wi... [Job] [Structure]

March 31, 8PM

At the rate I'm going, it was take another 8 years to finish! So from the chart: words are now at 32%. That's a middle term. It counts words that are translated (some by automation) but the full verse may not have been done. Actual words touched are even... [the music project] [The Song in the Night]


2 Kings 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#72139)
Bones make up the body as does the more edible stuff. So we have to have these chapters that document the sequence of the dismal record whatever we think of the history from our point of view. I haven't pent much time considering how I will translate nam... [2 Kings]

March 30, 3PM

Is disobedience boring? Is sin banal? Certainly the recital of repeated inter-generational mundane 'he did evil in the sight of ' fill in the blank is less gripping than the David stories. Less musical too? Whoa - there's a lot of kings and a lot of repe... [2 Kings] [Music of the Bible]

March 28, 3PM

Exodus 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#71972)
What is holy ground? Is it a primal knowledge? Note the contrasts in the placement of the atnah. Sometimes very early in the verse, as early as the second word (v 18) and as late as the fourth word from the end. What is the tone of voice in verse 5?  N... [Exodus] [Hebrews]


March 27, 9AM

Back to translation for a bit I hope. Finding time has been impossible while writing a book and preparing presentations. But these are done and can stew for a while. I don't know what is going on with my blog these days. The stats are confusing. On all my... [Exodus] [personal theology]

March 26, 10AM

In Book 1 (Psalms 1-41) we have several (37 or 38 depending on what you count) Psalms that are inscribed 'of David'. The inscriptions are variable, rarely using the same accent combination for something as simple as mizmor ledavid. But the music is beauti... [inscriptions] [musical structure] [Psalms]
I am ready to restart. When a computer runs for a long time it can be sluggish. I have been running for a long time - at least 10 years - on the Old Testament. Wonderful, engaging, source of obedience, a story that is plentiful with low-hanging fruit suit... [personal theology]

March 25, 10AM

Well, sort of. Moscow Idaho that is. I will be speaking on the music of the accents in the Hebrew Bible in May. My presentation slides are here. My paper is here. Someone please give it a read if you have any time. It's hard to write a book and a paper o... [te-amim]

March 11, 9PM

This chapter has considerable interest from a musical point of view. Much of this chapter is duplicated in the Psalms. [excerpted from a draft of a chapter in my new book, no publication date scheduled yet]. Three psalms are sung. This makes it possib... [1 Chronicles]

March 5, 1PM

I have an outline of my introduction to the music of the Bible - but it is half cooked.  At 115 pages or so and growing, it tells the scriptural story in selected music. I am aiming for 150 pages max for this book. I keep finding more stuff that could b... [the music project]

March 3, 9PM

A reprise. Way back in 2012, I sang this at church fro the lesson in the early days of my learning the use of the accents. I am surprised it was so long ago. My transcriptions standards are improved but there's still much to do to decide the mode of each ... [Deuteronomy]

March 1, 5PM

Leap for joy, cause the day after leap day produced a carnival. Thank you Jacob for remembering that I too used to blog - and maybe will again. [carnival]

February 26, 11AM

I have mentioned Dr David Mitchell's book, The Psalms of Ascent, before on this blog. It has been rare till now that we would get a scholarly book on the Psalms written by a musician. He also knows how to put the skeptical scholars in their place. His co... [Mitchell] [Music of the Bible]

February 23, 3PM

Draft done by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#70260)
At least I think so.  I have drafted an introduction to the music of the accents in the Hebrew Bible. Everything else has been on hold these past 6 weeks. There are over 165 musical examples. It has a tough technical skin (Introduction and the appendice... [the music project]

February 8, 11AM

A semi-parallel to 1 Kings 15, so this one was more than 59% automated when I started. Lot's of things came up though and I have resolved a few dozen concordance problems in the process. It's interesting how the less appealing pieces of the puzzle contrib... [2 Chronicles]

February 6, 10AM

Interview with Martin Brokenleg worth reading. [Links]

February 5, 6PM

I imagine you knew this wouldn't be far behind Exodus 20. The whole law is really quite wonderful. Christians should learn to read it. Notice the present tense emphasis in verse 3. Not with them, but with us. The presence of the past. If all would pay att... [Deuteronomy]

February 3, 4PM

Exodus 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#69246)
Finally - another chapter done. I have made only incremental progress this past month. But I am getting more exercise - going to the University every day and discussing all sorts of things with others. Probably healthier. Also writing a short book on the ... [Exodus]

January 31, 9AM

Tim Bulkeley has posted a thorough carnival even with footnotes to slow us down. I have noted particularly and added to my reader the Sri Lankan blog of Vinoth Ramachandra. He is noting the past though not clearly enough the future implications of the wo... [carnival]

January 26, 5PM

This morning I did a spontaneous presentation (very little from me) based on a little of the last chapter in a book by Francis Landy (The Beauty and the Enigma 2001 - p 399, chapter 13 Ghostwriting). I had coffee with Francis a few days ago. He wasn't at ... [Music of the Bible] [personal theology] [the music project]

January 24, 7PM

OK that's a silly question - but here's what I mean: The Hebrew for God / gods אלוהם occurs in various forms, construct, with pronouns etc, and alone. When it is alone, is sometimes has the definite article. Why? The distribution is this: In Torah,... [Hebrew]

January 20, 4PM

This is an incomplete post but I want to use the incomplete information to consider a study done in Iceland on belief in the creation of heaven and earth among the Icelanders. Apparently no Icelander under the age of 25 considers that God made the heavens... [Creation]

January 19, 6PM

1 Kings 15 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#68482)
More palace intrigue. The music is not without interest. Some of the ornaments seem to indicate astonishment at some of these actions, like the generosity of Yahweh contrasted with the bribery of Asa. Interesting also that the 'and there was war' verses a... [1 Kings]


What do these verses have in common? Genesis 37:28, Genesis 38:21, Exodus 12:46, Exodus 13:19, Exodus 15:19, Exodus 17:7, Exodus 27:11, Exodus 33:19, Exodus 34:31, Leviticus 7:29, Leviticus 23:34, Leviticus 25:33, Numbers 11:29, Numbers 26:1, Deuteronomy ... [Isaiah]

January 16, 4PM

Isaiah 20 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#68351)
Another short chapter, but with an interesting last verse where I hope the music clarifies what the text seems to be saying. What do you think? And here's my reading of Isaiah's sign - hope for his sake that he did this sign for short periods of time in... [Isaiah]

January 15, 3PM

Sir James Douglas School is holding a fundraising Movie Night on behalf of several refugee sponsorship groups. All the information is here. And there’s lots of info there: suggested donation, which groups are supported, and a donation form. [refugees]


What constitutes a chapter? That's a question. We know what a verse is because of the music. It's not one or two or three sentences, it is a presence made one by a musical phrase. It may be a fragment of a sentence or it may be several. Poetry verses are ... [Isaiah]
Listen to a taster: "From Princes to Frogs" January 2016 Four chances to hear this splendid programme with FOUR horns, flutes, piccolos, oboes, recorders, bassoon and strings, directed by the fantastic British harpsichordist Steven Devine...
Time, light, and predestination. This post was intended for Christmas Day (but, whatever,  there is but one and that one ever, as Herbert says in his Easter poem). Go to the PEP talk post on this subject too. [Links]

January 14, 10PM

Poor Bildad, only 6 verses. Stephen Mitchell (Harper Perennial 1979) rearranges the speeches of the third round to give a little more to Bildad. He gives him verses from Job's response in chapter 26. But I doubt it is possible to sort out the confusion in... [Job]


Numbers 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#68240)
This is a long chapter but highly repetitive so I developed some extensions to my tools and algorithms to assist in the reading and saving of my readings. When the automated translation is now almost completely correct, I can 'approve' a verse with one cl... [Numbers]

January 11, 10PM

Isaiah 12 וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא אוֹדְךָ֣ יְהוָ֔ה כִּ֥י אָנַ֖פְתָּ בִּ֑י יָשֹׁ֥ב אַפְּךָ֖ וּֽתְנַחֲמֵֽנִי 1 And you will say in that day, I will give... [Isaiah]


Ezekiel 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#68079)
O my mystic mind, what a vision. I have set it in the present rather than the descriptive past. More present to the reader than otherwise. Amen. and of course it is set to music. ִIs there a Babylonian mode, I wonder? The music of this chapter is orna... [Ezekiel]

January 10, 10AM

Improvements including aural recitation are evident in Google translate For example, to learn a little Arabic you can use and Just paste a phrase into the left side in Arabic an... [refugees] [translation]

January 8, 9PM

We have started a constituency group for the support of refugees within our parish of St Barnabas. We have confirmed we are supporting a family of 6 as of today. A related family of 6 is also being supported by another parish just a few miles from us. Tha... [refugees]

January 2, 5PM

Carnival by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#67645)
Jennifer Guo has been very generous with her carnival. You will find it here. [carnival]
I am embarking on a new book. I have three months for research and work at the University of Victoria on a new fellowship. I wonder if the time is right... I hope to produce a short readable and singable book on the music of the OT. My initial outline is...

December 31 2015, 11PM

If the silluq follows a vowel and there is already a note for this syllable, then the silluq is a metheg regardless. Note re tightening up the vague decision on what is a metheg. Sorry folks - just discovered that each of the three books begins on a not... [musical structure]

December 27, 12 PM

Hosea 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#67346)
A nice short passage - just to say I can still do it after revising some of my software to deal with a slightly more official table of acceptable synonyms and acrostic or other exceptions to my concordance rules. Then off to a holiday for a week. May not... [Hosea]

December 26, 10AM

A beautiful carol and commentary from Matthew Larkin and his choir of Christ Church Cathedral Ottawa. The next generation of responsible musicians is evident. Some names will be recognized from across the country. [Links]

December 24, 12 PM

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day. (There is but one and that one ever - Herbert knew this even before Einstein.) I really will slow down for 10 days I am sure. I have just synchronized my backup database offsite - proving I could recover if I... [reading project status]

December 21, 2PM

I'm completing the chapters that my automation has done the most work on. I really must do a little more intelligent work on the automation. I have many routines with the rules for parsing in them but I am not yet applying them to the 130,000 odd single g... [Genesis]


Genesis 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#67079)
Finally a verse that is apparently corrupt in some way. The music indicates a stop in what would be an unusual place, right in the middle of a verbless subject-predicate. The traditional translations ignore the accents, putting the second word of the vers... [Genesis]

December 20, 11AM

Isaiah 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#67022)
We are skipping around - keeping in touch with several strands of style and content. Remember how many years during which this body of work emerged. There is no single short period of record, but as many as 1000 years of writing, copying, and telling of e... [Isaiah]

December 19, 3PM

New ways of sharing files emerging - here's our current newsletter. Diana's composition. I helped with the picture selections.   [Christmas newsletters]
Exodus 37 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66993)
I'm sure some of you guessed which chapter I would do next. Having done chapter 25, chapter 37 was 70% translated by automation. But it still represents some tough choices. The side problem is highlighted here in two consecutive verses where three words ... [Exodus]

December 18, 11AM

Exodus 25 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66934)
I wonder what possessed the translators of the creation of the menorah to use his or thereof when the pronoun in the Hebrew is her? Oh well - I used its. I don't need to personify the construction - but is the light of the world male or female? (Don't a... [Exodus]

December 17, 8PM

֦ב There it is - the rare double merkha, the kefula. Supposedly only 5 times in Torah and 7 times elsewhere (according to the article.) Let's see... I said in a comment on this post that I would report later. And I have just noted that promise while l... [Music of the Bible]


Two links here Storied Theology  and Quadrilateral Thoughts on a Wheaton College incident - go-d grief - another situation created by people who really ought to resign from their authority. Afraid of losing money from the big evangelical givers. That's ... [Links] [politics]


Job 38 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66850)
I've been here before in 2010 but there was a different discipline in my first cut. Then I read books. Now I am letting the computer read the text to see what it tells me. This is the first of Yahweh's speeches after 6 preparatory chapters by Elihu, to wh... [Job]
Read this by Rabbi Pam. [Links]

December 16, 11AM

A short chapter recently noted by another blogger. One item to note, verse 1a is repeated in verse 8. Also I wonder if the high one refers to gate or is an additional title of Yahweh (the Most High). The 'hill' might be better rendered as the hill country... [2 Chronicles]

December 13, 2PM

Following up on my last post on this chapter, there is a clearly marked repetition of a phrase in the section on building the ark and the cherubim (verses 16 and 21 below). The cherubim, kin to each other, are each looking onto the mercy seat, the place o... [Exodus]

December 9, 2AM

It seems to be an idiom - (takes a while to figure some things out) that ancient Hebrew speakers doubled their words. The KJV usually represents this as emphasis - but maybe it isn't, just idiomatic usage. Here's a suggestive example from a more modern h... [translation]


Rap is not my style but this is cool. Imagine James following this song, or little ones learning both the alphabet and its mirror. (I'm not into the Sefer Yetzirah but I do have a primary colours book on the Psalms that teaches a little about Kabbalah.) ... [Links]

December 8, 11AM

I have a pattern of assignment of gloss that is evolving in my reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. A gloss is not a translation. Defining anything is difficult. I would rather call my 'translation' at this time 'a reading' of Scripture. It's not an opinion ... [algorithm] [Concordance] [reading project status] [reading strategies] [translation]

December 7, 1AM

Here's where I'm at. I wonder where I should go and how. The Hebrew Bible divides nicely into 7 sections. Torah, the Books of Moses, represents 25% of the verses. That's the T section of TNK. The Prophets divide into 3 subsections:  The Former, Josh... [reading project status]

December 6, 9AM

A word from the Master, Roger Mosey:If you’re able to get to London, you can see the choir at our CarolService in St James’s Piccadilly next Tuesday, December 8th, at 7pm.Details are here. [2]But wherever you are in the world, we hope thevideo conveys...

12 AM

Judges 17 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66210)
The narrator (by varying the spelling of Micah among other turns of phrase) seems to sound a note of sardonic anticipation for Micah in this chapter, and the Levite sounds like both derelict and sponge. How curious that a supreme holy would be alluded to... [Judges]

December 4, 9PM

I'm going to have to slow down a bit when I finish the next chapter. It will be Judges 17, nice and short. Tomorrow I go for a training session on settling refugees. Then in a few days I am off to see my newest grandson, a child with a serious considerati...


Joshua 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66158)
Joshua 1:8, music based on the accents Here are direct references to Psalm 1 in Joshua. What is the direction of the influence? Confining the comparison to just 3 verses highlights the dependency. לא not ░ JOS 1:8לא התורה instruction ░ JOS... [Joshua]


The word of Yahweh to Joshua is surprisingly direct. Probably one could read the first three words and sing the first 5 notes slowly. Then - get on with it. Joshua 1:2 Music from the accents (automated) Moses, my servant, has died.So now, arise, cross... [Joshua]
Ruth 1-4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66144)
My old PDF is inaccessible and the wrong format anyway - so here is the whole of Ruth as it currently stands in my data. I was messing around with semantic domains and found a workaround for the idiom of three that Boaz mentions in 2:11. Ruth 1 וַ... [Ruth]

December 3, 3PM

Daniel 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66080)
37 down, 2 left to start, Here is the strange Daniel. You are not supposed to understand. But stand in your lot. Yes - that's the same word as throwing the dice. A recognition that we are cast like dice into our world, and some roll with the lot, and so... [Daniel] [personal theology]

December 2, 1PM

I did laugh a bit here, but it does get serious. There is, in the grand metaphor, no room in the spirit of the tradition for prophecy that makes one cringe. No room at all these days. Who would want such hairy preeminence? I am defeat. Zechariah 13... [Zechariah]

12 PM

Amos 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#66017)
I see I did some initial work on Amos 21 months ago. I remember learning about the differing manuscripts and so on. At that time, I did not know I could really complete the music as I finally have in September of this year. Amos 1 דִּבְרֵ֣... [Amos]


So many thoughts converge in this rather intense period of reading closely. Just what is this total destruction, this 'ban', Hebrew חרם, mentioned before, the last word of Malachi, the substance of Joshua which we haven't got to yet? Here in Micah we ... [Micah]

December 1, 6PM

Nehemiah 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65966)
Is God shrewd? What is the political lesson here? The comforter (Nehemiah נחם) works in secret and does not let even those who might have been allies know what is in his heart. Who gets to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem? (Spiritual or physical J.) And ... [Nehemiah] [personal theology]

November 30, 10PM

I worked with this and the music 6 months ago but I hadn't completed the chapter - so here is the whole chapter. Can children understand politics and power? I really doubt that this chapter should be presented to children on flannel board. My God give th... [1 Samuel]


Ezra 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65899)
Gradually knocking of at least 1 chapter from books I haven't yet started. It's easy to forget that when the text says month, it also means new moon. Only here and in Nehemiah 7:72 do I see נגה preceding חדשׁ. Ezra 3 וַיִּגַּע֙ הַ... [Ezra]

November 29, 3PM

2 Chronicles 12:9-12 and 1 Kings 14:25-29 share 116 or their 139 words, 21 stems in sequence of which several are repeated multiple times. (I could show you the table, but it is pretty obvious without it.) Clearly one is copied from the other in a slightl... [2 Chronicles]


Margaret Wente in yesterday's Globe seems to me to put a good spin on a tired explanation. What do you think? (Or is thinking sufficient?) Here's her conclusion. Hope you can access the article - no idea what the Globe's access rules are. Why are so man... [personal theology] [politics]

November 28, 11PM

Numbers 6 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65803)
It strikes me that there are many categories of instruction, far more than the moral and the ceremonial. Even in our own culture we have regulations, policies, rules, written and unwritten, conventions, traditions, and also laws of many different types. W... [Numbers]

November 27, 11PM

Proverbs 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65764)
It was only 97% done [so incomplete even though there is a prior post!], so I dusted it off. So Proverbs 2 as I asked before, where do the sentences begin and end?  This is poetry - so syllable counts are back in the fourth column. Just look at how regu... [Proverbs]


Can tribes and nations 'sin' (a carelessly used gloss) or transgress (my concordant gloss for verse 1) against each other? Shouldn't be hard for a modern person to answer this in the affirmative. Can my nation sin or transgress against another? Some will ... [2 Kings] [personal theology]


I didn't pick this one deliberately. I just looked at the path of least resistance: which chapters has my automated algorithm done most completely in the books I have not yet started. Well, out popped 1 Kings 14, as one that 'pisseth against the wall'. O ... [1 Kings]

November 26, 1PM

Esther 10 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65699)
Moving right along. I had done a bit of Esther before. I think chapter 1 is drafted. I was, however, shocked at the farcical nature of that chapter, so in earlier days, I did not continue my work completing the five scrolls. So I won't start with chapter ... [Esther]


Exodus 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65671)
Names - Shemot (שׁמות) - is the name of the book of Exodus. Appropriate that it should happen while I was struggling in the red mud of 1 Chronicles. Exodus 1 וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּא... [Exodus]

November 25, 5PM

You don't need to read the Bible. You do need to be kind. If you are afraid, it's more than likely that you will not be kind. Sunny ways - says Mr. Trudeau. It's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a co-operative sunny village to raise our consciousness. ... [personal theology]
I must be mad to be doing this! There are a myriad of names in some few chapters of the Bible. Think of a name you know. What memory traces does it raise in you? That's the opening impression I have of the Chronicler. I have no axe to grind when it come... [1 Chronicles]

November 23, 1PM

repairing the clerestory ceiling And a thought came to me. You cannot move from one language to another without adequate scaffolding. My scaffolding is the hierarchy of semantic domains I am building. Some stems span domains and some do not. Why? Just a ... [personal theology] [reading project status] [reading strategies]

12 AM

Re the traditional gloss 'son of man' for בן־אדם in Ezekiel, I'm taking it as a term of both endearment and responsibility at this point. As with every reading, it is subject to further information... Ezekiel 15 וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־י... [Ezekiel]

November 22, 2PM

A word to the scribe via the prophet from Yahweh. Shall I listen in? My next target is to have at least 1 chapter of every book read online. And we have an upcoming lesson on Jeremiah as part of an advent series by a very fine colleague. I had better pr... [Jeremiah]

12 AM

Hosea 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65471)
The first chapter of Hosea is 2 verses shorter than English versions. These verses will show up in chapter 2. This is like other prophecies, a lived parable. Words happen. They have an impact. So do the action in love and love will happen. Love the stran... [Hosea]

November 20, 8PM

Samuel is an honest broker, a rare politician, and his people are 'deal-makers'. Is deal-making faith? I was at the library yesterday with row upon row of commentaries in front of me, some large, some small, the full Anchor Bible, many sections of the Wor... [1 Samuel]


OUPblog has a nice article here. A bit like Yogi Berra for his aphorisms. [Links]

November 19, 2PM

Isaiah 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65366)
Isaiah makes me laugh out loud. He is such an antagonist to religious demands and prohibitions. When you come to appear before me, who demanded this from your hand to trample my courts? And when you spread your palms, I avert my eyes from you. Even thou...

November 18, 1PM

No lid on my lips necessary to re-post this psalm that I just happen to be reading. Am I totally out to lunch when I say that David was taught a different kind of war that the nations have not yet learned. Psalms 141 מִזְמ֗וֹר לְדָ֫ו... [psalm music] [Psalms]

12 PM

Yes, Virginia, spears and psalms are homonyms in Hebrew, both from the same root stem, זמר. I guess it wouldn't surprise you that 112 of 140 words in Isaiah 2:1-5 match Micah 4:1-5 (excluding the most common על,יהוה,אלוה,כּי,אל,אתּ)... [personal theology] [recurring words]

November 17, 1PM

Habakkuk would rather sing a song than retaliate against violence. No trust in the economy here, but a trust in the invisible. The reality of the invisible God for the prophet is something we, in the age and place that I live, have a hard time with. One d... [habakkuk] [personal theology] [violence in the Bible]

November 15, 7PM

25% roughly - a little more on a word basis, a little less on a verse basis. Oct 26 Published on this blog or in my book on the Psalms, there are 221 of 929 chapters or 23.8%. Today it is 232 or 25% Oct 26 Empty verses as collected, there remain 18... [reading project status]


Make sense of it as you will. 15 of 17 words in verse 8 recur in subsequent verses, many of them of course in verse 17 where a large part of the verse is repeated. Who is the subject of verse 5 (or subjects) I cannot tell. Perhaps the 'being' of vs 4 is s... [habakkuk] [violence in the Bible]

November 13, 9PM

Very different in many details from Psalm 18 which it follows or precedes closely. I thought this was going to be a slam-dunk but it took the best part of a day, comparing the text with Psalm 18. I expect one could do a doctoral thesis on these two. Aliso... [2 Samuel]


1 Samuel 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65324)
The first three chapters of Samuel are among my favorites. Hannah is a powerful character and her determination in prayer a lovely antidote to her hardness and inward turning at the instigation of her rival wife. Chapter 2 anticipates Mary's Magnificat, a... [1 Samuel]

November 11, 3PM

This is very close to modern day news. I have ascribed the utter destruction (ban) חרם to what it is rather than disguising it as a fishnet, but the fishnet is the metaphor. The worship of violence (חמס) is clearly here as well. Perhaps those who st... [habakkuk] [violence in the Bible]


People have lots of purposes for their passions. What am I doing here? Why bother?  First thing to note. I did not originally start translating for the sake of the music. I started reading the ancient Hebrew (not modern at all) to read the mind that for... [names] [purpose] [reading strategies]
Isaiah 52 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65327)
You can't say I am saving the best till the last because I am nowhere near the last and won't be for much time to come. I was sent here by Nahum of course with his anticipation or reflection of verse 7 below. These are the shared words ההרים the hi... [Isaiah] [Nahum]

November 10, 10AM

Nahum by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#65328)
Nahum like Malachi has a load to deliver. Load (משא) is derived from the word used for lifting up or bearing (נשא) . There is much to be borne in these chapters. At times he addresses Nineveh directly and even encodes the country name (Ashur) in a... [Nahum]

November 4, 1PM

Malachi 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#64743)
I was surprised to see the word חרם as the last token of the Old Testament. It is not, of course, the last token of the Tanach since several books follow the 12 minor prophets. But it is the last word of the Old Testament, a testament that begins with ... [Malachi] [musical structure]

November 2, 11AM

Malachi 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#64627)
This chapter is the first to be produced with a slightly different technique. First I concentrate on the interlinear - thinking a word or phrase at a time. I have some new search tools that compare both words and phrases as already used. Then I collect t... [Malachi]

November 1, 11AM

This post moves Ruth from the database and into visible post. I chose the interlinear form for this one and not the form I am using for other parts of Bob's Bible. I noticed a failure of concordance in the use of the word left - and many other changes I h...


You'll find it here at Reading Acts. It's a substantial list. [carnival]

October 31, 10AM

I am encouraged that some people are seriously looking at the 6000+ pages of music I have made public (see the page link at the top of the page). There is a long (for me) series of comments on this post from July that are interesting to me because they o... [Music of the Bible]

October 30, 11AM

I see there is a new website devoted to the promises made by the new Liberal government of Canada. What a great idea for sharing and tracking corporate memory and responsibility. If we don't remember the promises and come to understand and take responsibi... [politics]


At some point one has to get serious about why the Bible is important and how to read it without getting one's feet trapped in the quicksand. For there is no doubt there is quicksand here of a thousand sorts. Why bother then? It is first of all a time-d... [#bgbg2] [#psalmtweets] [personal theology] [Psalm 135]

October 29, 3PM

Job 14 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#64419)
This is the third chapter in a row for Job and it captures the essence of his complaint (not for the last time). There is a little brightness in the chapter, but hard to read in the translations. Mitchell captures the delight of a father with his children... [Job] [musical structure]

October 27, 10AM

Isaiah 17 and Psalm 35 have some common words. One is dependent on the other I suspect. I noted this while pursuing some unknowns... I see that the unknowns will disappear several at a time without any deliberate pursuit of them. Word / Gloss12345VsStem ... [recurring words]

October 26, 8PM

What? Hasn't that already been done? Yes repeatedly but - every generation reads it again and makes new guesses. (Just slightly kidding you.) I have wondered if I really should continue this project. But it's on its way and it's measurable. That's a key... [reading project status]


Malachi 1 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#64215)
Moving right along. I noted a post in which I posted the wrong chapter! (Now fixed in case you noticed). Lots of issues here with the choice of Yahweh - to love Jacob and to hate Esau. Note how the two are adjacent but in separate verses. That's importan... [Malachi]


Genesis 5 begins the begats. The message is seen in the fourth column below which shows the small number of syllables following the cadence in the music. There are three in a row: and he called his name x, and he had sons and daughters, and he died. The ... [Genesis]

October 23, 10AM

Genesis 4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#63993)
This is a both dreadful and curious chapter. Here begin the begats. And here is the primal murder from burning with anger. In the naming of the ancestors, there are some funny aspects in this narrative. My glosses are strange of course. But it is here wi... [Genesis]

October 22, 3PM

I nearly fell off the cliff.  Really - they (Microsoft) shouldn't advertise. I am not of course a typical user. Fortunately I had remote software installed so I could operate the now disabled machine from another computer. Windows 10 not only wants to ... [technological convenience]

October 20, 6PM

Job 12-13 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#63831)
Job works up to a bold confrontation with the God implied by his three friends. (The fourth column below is the syllable count on either side of the atnach. There are no ole-veyored cadences in the text in these two chapters. Chapter 12 וַי... [Job]


There's an indeterminate problem in the coding of the Leningrad Codex Unicode. Meteg (variously spelled), a punctuation point is not distinguished from silluq, the end of the verse and in the deciphering of the music, the tonic note. Both these conflictin... [Music of the Bible] [musical structure]

October 19, 11AM

Surprise! I was on the program 'On the Island', interviewed by Gregor Craigie, son of Professor of Old Testament, Peter Craigie. The interview is on soundcloud here I... [Music of the Bible] [Radio]

October 16, 1PM

You might enjoy this. He could give other examples, but I'm glad he chose Job. It's a good lecture. Bend in the space-time of the Universe strong and tight and you are caught in a gravity well that might not be escapable. [Links]

October 14, 1AM

Genesis 3 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#63499)
I have, as I said, stayed away from the many distractions abounding in the blogosphere around this story. But here's the rest of my initial reading up to the expulsion from the garden. It was curious to imagine the distinctions between, the human, the ea... [Genesis]

October 12, 9AM

What am I doing with the Bible? I did not write it. In many ways it was foisted upon me by tradition, whatever that is, a combination of wisdom and ignorance. I added a note re consistency to my previous post on this project. When I lost several of my da... [personal theology] [reading project status]

October 11, 10AM

Genesis 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#63375)
Beginning at verse 4. For 1-3 see the earlier post. I have stayed away from this story in order not to enter many of the great distractions of our time. But it must eventually be done, so here it is, with all its story or so I hope. Note a thing or two:... [Genesis] [translation]

October 10, 7PM

My estimated ending for this reading I am in the process of doing is about 2.5 years away. So I thought I would try and reduce the time it takes me. To do this I have invented an algorithm to translate the work I have not yet read based on the work I have... [reading strategies] [translation]


When you go into the polling booth, remember Budgets should not be in omnibus bills along with other unsavory parts. Forcing your ideas on others is not democracy. It is a form of bullying. These bills are the actions of a fearful minority who want to im... [politics]

October 6, 2PM

So why does this prophet, after a spot of what can be read as childish tit for tat, move to war and judgment of an apocalyptic sort? What is the reverse of peace to accomplish? Yahweh then asks - What are you to me - concerning the cities and nations tha... [Joel] [musical structure] [personal theology]

October 5, 4PM

I realized that a 'conjunctive' is just about non-existent. Conjunctives are supposed to join two words in the text. Only one such mark exists, the maqqef, essentially a hyphen. From the point of view of word-count, I ignore them. There are just over 3047... [cantillation] [musical structure]


If the scale as inferred by Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura is correct, then the count of the number of syllables on a reciting note can be discovered. Would this be an interpretive factor for a verse? Might measures of this nature indicate a mode for a section o... [Genesis] [musical structure] [Psalms]

October 3, 9PM

I found an easy way to query the music as a by product of the production process in XML about long recitations on any note. Eventually I will build in the data to my database. There are a few long recitations on the subdominant after the atnach mid-verse... [musical structure]

October 2, 9AM

O my beard and whiskers, what is the prophet doing in this chapter? He tells us to sanctify a war. (You won't find this in other translations. קַדְּשׁוּ מִלְחָמָה They can't believe it.) Then he says to the vanquished, beat your plowsha... [Joel] [personal theology] [politics]
To my orthodox friends and also to anyone interested in the history of Jerusalem and Palestine, this article by Greg Jenks is fascinating in its breadth. [history] [Links] [politics]

October 1, 4PM

The short third chapter in Hebrew (the last five verses of chapter 2 in English editions) is a critical passage for understanding what gives in both Old and New Testament. Joel 3 וְהָיָ֣ה אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֶ... [Joel] [personal theology] [politics]


The carnival for September 2015 is posted here. It has been collected by William Brown at The Biblical Review. [carnival]

September 30, 9PM

The Hebrew of Job 2 is only 27 verses where the English is 32. The remaining 5 verses are in chapter 3 of the Hebrew. Chapter 3 English is chapter 4 Hebrew. I wonder if the music provides a rationale for this division.  So let's look in detail at each ph... [Joel] [musical structure]

September 28, 12 PM

For what its worth, it is feasible to list all the unique and not unique musical phrases in Joel. Sequence of accents Frequency in the Bible Frequency in Joel e f g# ^A A g# f e  65 3 e f g# ^A A g# e  54 1 e... [Joel] [musical structure]


What sort of prophet is Joel, I wonder... I have read him before, but I don't remember. In this first chapter he describes devastation. I note the perplexity of the animals. As if they are asking, what have you humans done? The music has some interesting... [Joel] [personal theology]


For my own sake, I must expose the modes as I have coded. I forget how to use my own program! Here's my picture from 2012. In doing the first chapter of the prophet Joel, I wonder what the chromatic phrygian is. Here they are as coded Poetry 1 C4 D4#... [modes]

September 27, 8PM

Blueberry Hill - looking west, expecting the moon to rise in the East Mt Baker in the mist of evening taken from 112 km away After 35 minutes of waiting the moon appeared in the middle of the sky, having snuck up on us through an invisible mist. ...

September 26, 11AM

I have just listened to David's lament as set by Tomkins again. It is very moving. The heart-wrenching images superimposed on the music of this performance do not include the latest in the refugee tragedies that we have seen every day recently. But they m... [body] [personal theology] [the music project]

September 20, 3PM

These numbers are for musical sequences that occur in more than 20 verses in the Bible.They may indicate different musical practices among the different books. There are, however, only 2612 (10%) verses are involved with these 61 most common patterns. 15,... [musical structure]

September 18, 5PM

Again I have separated the counts between approaching the cadence and returning to the tonic. in approaching the cadence Zarqa occurs 1300 times as part of 621 distinct patterns Tarsin (double geresh) occurs 1060 times as part of 365 patterns often wit... [musical structure] [ornaments]


You might have guessed I would try this. What sequences do the ornaments appear in when they are used? It is one thing to count them by type, but it is how they are used together as well as how they are used rarely that will mark their effect on the music... [musical structure] [ornaments]

September 17, 3PM

I will probably give this up in a few days. But here are the patterns of approaching the rest (or not - one line below has no rest) that occur more than 100 times in the first 14 books of the Tanach. That is Torah, and the Former Prophets and the major pr... [musical structure]

September 16, 7PM

I don't know if the accents are used in different ways in different books. Except we learned something about the 21 books and the 3 books in the first two posts from this month - that in the 3 the rest on A is approached often without the g and in the 21 ... [musical structure]

September 15, 8PM

What about the ole veyored? that secondary cadence that is somewhat common on its own, and by some considered more important than the atnach (but it isn't. How could a cadence that occurs only 44 times out of 2527 verses be more important than one that oc... [musical structure]


Psalm 119 is 176 verses long. It is an 8 fold alphabetic acrostic celebrating the poet's love of Torah under 8 repeating synonyms. The poet recognizes his own weakness. There are no secondary cadences in the Psalm and there are 27 verses with no primary c... [musical structure] [Psalms]

September 13, 4PM

Here is an analysis of the ways in which the Psalms manage the second half of each verse, given a first half. (It is to be noted that although every verse does not have a rest on the subdominant (atnach) or even a secondary cadence on the supertonic (ole... [musical structure]

September 11, 11AM

It seems easy to say, I know this. What new thing can you tell me? Even the Preacher says And there is nothing at all new, under the sun. Well in Psalm 119 part 1 of all places, there is something new this morning. The music is quite unexpected. We all... [musical structure]

September 9, 11AM

We would take turns reading passages aloud, and words literally rose up in the air and descended upon us like a fine mist, touching all five senses. There was such a teasing playful quality to their words, such joy in the power of language to delight and ... [CBC] [Lolita in Tehran] [Pirsig] [Proverbs]

September 8, 10AM

Job 11 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#61665)
Job chapter 11 divides every 6 verses with reasonable but limited recurrence of words, verses 1-6, these four in parallel sequence ענּה אמּר דּבּר שׂפּה 7-12 these in a circular pattern - what can you know ידּע מּצא אםּ מּה... [Job]

September 7, 9AM

We are inference engines. That's the whole we and the individual 'I' in the we also. We do this inferring alone and we do it together under the influence of each other and of us all altogether. We are one body. It takes both the good and the evil to infe... [explanation] [inference]


Bob-\bie, ^Bobbie \How *will /you explain this |Music Music and text don't go together easily. We are taught as children to speed read and we learned to go so fast we don't remember much at all. There are techniques to slow us down, like poetry. But th... [explanation] [inference]

September 6, 10AM

I am testing again the thesis that individual verses of the Bible are unrelated to each other with respect to the music. "Logically, a verse may be closely connected with the one preceding or following it; but musically and accentually no such conne... [Job] [musical structure]

September 5, 9AM

Agnus Dei by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#61513)
Inasmuch as ye did it to the least of these ...


Don't miss this article. Especially those who are hard-core Xenophobics. Fear never wins. As Elizabeth Renzetti said in her own piece this morning "There’s a gap in the future. We’ll never know what we’ve missed, today or two generations from n... [Links]

September 1, 5PM

In the three books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, here is how and how often the mid point rest of a verse is approached from tifcha to atnach. It is no wonder that the simple rule quoted by de Hoop that tifkha precedes atnach is hard to express. First it is onl... [musical structure] [personal theology] [translation]

12 PM

It has come to my attention from both Jacobson and other writers that there is a pairing of accents in their theory of how they work. Possibly this is true, but it is better I think to ask another question. In how many ways can one approach a cadence? (Fo... [de Hoop] [Exodus] [Music of the Bible] [musical structure] [the music project] [translation] [Vantoura]

August 31, 9PM

Prelude: Owen Chadwick (British clergyman, academic, writer, and prominent historian of Christianity) died on July 17th. His funeral was at Great St Mary's on August 3rd. He warned, citing Augustine, that we must befriend those whom we would study from t... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]

August 27, 5PM

Argument? nope - Read this book? - nope - read all these books then come back and talk to me. Such an advisor I have. At age nearly 70, have I time?  We'll see - so I keep the list for reference. All I can offer you - a bibliography. This list is not ... [cantillation] [te-amim] [Vantoura]


I have written much on this blog of my progress in deciphering the meaning of the signs in the text of the Hebrew. Now for a simple example of uncertainty, science, and testing of the results. There is much more to do - particularly to teach scholars how ... [Jacobson] [Music of the Bible] [research] [the music project] [Vantoura] [Wickes]

August 26, 10PM

There is little sense I suppose in arguing. It was Will Durant who said that "History is mostly guesswork, and the rest prejudice". I prefer to avoid the arguments in the religious world. But I do ask: What do all these accents in the Old Testa... [Jacobson] [te-amim] [Vantoura] [Wickes]

August 25, 1PM

There are many shared words in sequence in these two chapters, Psalm 39 and Job 10, the second half of his response to Bildad (though he has forgotten Bildad). Notice the sweep in the table from left to right in each section. אדּבּרה I speak ░ J... [Job] [Psalms]

August 24, 10AM

This is the first half of Job's reply to Bildad. In it he prepares himself to speak to God directly. Only in Job and the Psalms do we have these poems of direct speech. My reading differs from traditional readings at several points. Some verses seemed imp... [Job]

August 21, 3PM

With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine, Pacific time August 31, 2015, the bar will be closing on the August BS (that's Biblical Studies) carnival. Please let me know if you have any favorites posted during the month of August 2015 that you would li... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]


This extract from Barth on Ephesians is from a translation of Barth’s Academic Lectures on Ephesians, delivered in Göttingen, winter semester, 1921- 1922.The translation by Ross McGown Wright for his doctoral thesis was composed from a typescript of Ba... [Barth] [theology]


Here we have a very complex sentence structure in the whole chapter. The teacher outlines the consequences of holding on to good instruction. If you want to read the Bible you really ought to learn to read music. I personally assure you that without the ... [musical structure] [Proverbs]


I have lost my traditional ftp site but I have loaded all the first-cut diagrams of the psalms and all other early bits of Scripture I diagrammed this way here. If you associate the .htm suffix with a browser and open an htm file, e.g. 173.htm then all t... [gospel parallels] [psalm diagrams]

August 20, 7PM

Proverbs 1, Domains I continue with the analysis of Semantic Domains. Does anyone have a suggested high level set of domains? Mine will continuously evolve over the next 3 years as I continue my reading. As I read, the new chapters get added automaticall... [Proverbs]


Here is first the music. Verse 10 stands out as without atenach (no mid verse rest). The mode and melody are very similar to many Psalms. Verses 11, 22 and 23 (showing as tricola) have an ole veyored cadence on the supertonic. In spite of recurrence patt... [Proverbs]

August 16, 2PM

I keep discovering these snippets that I have read but not done my concordant analysis on. And I might say that concordance will not be over till we are close to 100% complete - and we are barely over 25% at the moment. But the task must go on bit by bit ... [1 Samuel]


The primary problem with the Harper government in Ottawa and wherever their mind travels is this: a trivializing of morality. You might think it is important to be right, and to be seen to be right as opposed to be seen to be wrong or to be wrong. We, af... [politics]

August 13, 4PM

The last verse of Psalm 104, based on how the music behaves, puts itself outside the domain of the rest of the Psalm. Check out the music here - note there is no mid point rest (atnah) even though it is quite a long verse. This is worth comparing with... [Music of the Bible] [psalm music]


I was seriously tempted this week to stop this reading project and just let the church remind me of readings week by week. And maybe rant occasionally. Imagine, walks, tennis, golf, bridge, and partying... But my Hebrew coach got me round the depression... [reading project status] [the music project]

August 12, 1PM

See the prior post for my silly title. If you only appeared in one carnival, sorry... This site among thesepostswascitedby this host 2read... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]
Jim West asks about who cites whom over the last 17 carnivals. There are too many lines to keep them all, so I have confined the list to posts referenced by carnival where the site is referenced more than once. So this is a 'who loves me' count - except I... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]


There is a certain logic to the inner dialogue, and it uncovers (reveals) that politics is building a team. It is not a solo job. Haggai, that prophet to Judah of the initial period of the rebuilding of the temple, is obscure to most of us, I am sure, but... [Haggai] [politics]

August 11, 2PM

I put as accurate a picture of the links in the last 17 carnivals through excel having used the W3 link-checker into a database where I could do some analysis. Who gets the most links in carnivals since March 2014. I didn't go any further back since the ... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]

August 10, 11AM

There is a collection of sites in a Biblical Studies grouping known as Biblioblogs. Twitter feed @biblioblognews, duplicated (I think) at I tend to avoid sites that require a charitable donation to see the content. Generall... [Biblical Studies] [carnival]


Here's a paper I've been working on since 2013. There is still much to do in the analysis of the music and the shapes of the phrases that are chosen to illustrate the music. This paper gives a sense of the kinds of questions I have been thinking about.  ... [Music of the Bible] [te-amim]

August 5, 11AM

I don't think I saw this on any Biblioblog sites. On July 17, Owen Chadwick died. His funeral was on August 3. You can read the address by Sir David Harrison here. The address by Robert Hardy will appear shortly there or you can read it here. Here's som... [Links]

August 4, 10PM

I decided to search for these carnivals and the people behind them so I can see what the former content has been. It is likely that several of these links no longer work. But why? I wonder. Have people slipped away without our knowledge? Is there a missed... [carnival]

August 2, 11AM

A few photos of the Regina waterways near the University Library. Pelicans & geese - see link for detail What is this? This is Callie [flowers]
Let me know through Twitter (drmacdonald) or in a comment on this post if you have some posts you would like to see in the August Biblical Studies Carnival. The July carnival is here complete with an appearance of N.T. Bigfoot. [carnival]

July 26, 3PM

Haggai is a new prophet for me. I am sure I read him in English a few times in my zealous youth, but I little remember. Now here is chapter 1 in my reading from the Hebrew late in my life. Perhaps the 12 will make a little more sense to me as a unit when ... [Haggai]

July 21, 1PM

A rather good site with relatively easy access to the Aleppo Codex has I presume not been renewed. It displays a message. I hope the owner is able to take appropriate action. If you know him or her, please tell them. Future hom... [Aleppo Codex]
What is the significance of the Single letter, S or P standing alone following a verse in the Hebrew Bible? Here are some examples I have come across so far. In some books the letter might be seen as marking sections, but this is clearly not the case. In...

July 20, 8PM

without opening it. "Bit by bit, a letter at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done." (Jim Davila reveals his interest.) more here. [Links]

July 16, 10AM

Proverbs 8 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#58877)
Promise in Proverbs 8 This has long been a favorite passage of mine. This passage has different music in verses 23 and 33. Each of these is without rest. Verse 23 is unique starting on the minor third above the tonic and descending by step to the tonic. ... [personal theology] [poetry] [prejudice] [Proverbs]

July 15, 7PM

I have added a couple of calculated columns to a table I save after every decision when reading in Hebrew and writing in English. It tells me the last chapter and verse that I changed and when and the percentages of what I have read that is in my database... [reading project status]

July 14, 6AM

England today is as far away as ancient times. All words and no sounds. U-tube blocks these songs. But AKM Adam in a rare long post gives much interpretation that is worth while reading. The post is here. the Mountain Goats make the moral and theological... [carnival] [Links]

July 13, 9AM

It was Malcolm X in his autobiography who described learning English from reading a dictionary. He was of course fluent in street-language. I am not in prison but I am in the bonds of iron imposed by my God and I have decided to add to the mix in my proj... [Hebrew-Latin] [translation]

July 10, 10PM

Here is a second reading of chapters 10 and 11. About 40% of my first reading changed as I conformed this rereading to the discipline of the computer-enforced concordance. This set of almost random proverbs is curious. 10:3 seems right out of Monty Pytho... [Ecclesiastes]

July 9, 12 PM

Is anyone out there using the XML files I produce auto-magically for the music of the Bible? I have added text from my translated sections if they exist. The initial placement is usable but often runs off the page since my program does not know where on t... [Music of the Bible] [the music project]

July 8, 5PM

Qohelet 9 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#58451)
נַ֥חַת לָזֶ֖ה מִזֶּֽהWhat is this נחת?Can anyone help me with H5181,2,and 3? Why are these considered 'different' words. They have various glosses. Looks to me like complete guesswork. One example is below, verse 17. No idea what it ... [Ecclesiastes] [translation]


Qohelet 12 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#58449)
I haven't finished Qohelet 9 to 11 yet but I did do 12 a few months ago so here it is. I must admit it is difficult to leave the traditional sounds and rhythms of the KJV behind. The poem from verses 1 to 7 is moving as one moves into old age where one pr... [Ecclesiastes]

July 7, 2PM

There is an excerpt of a new book by Richard Bauckham here. I have seen him go hammer and tong with other theologians - love the passion. The first section is on the individual's relationship to Jesus. This is language quite foreign to scholars. He himsel... [Bauckham] [Book Reviews] [individual] [personal theology]

12 PM

Christopher Page tells me he gets much more traffic when he writes about sex rather than the Bible or his own profession as pastor. Well, I'm not so sure I want to try, but a Marginalia review of Diarmaid MacCulloch's Silence, A Christian History, reviewe... [Book Reviews] [Seen from the Street]


Following the clear bias of the preacher's attitude concerning women at the end of chapter 7, there is in the beginning of this chapter some political advice concerning the king and his relationship to the oath of God. Which is the antecedent of the prono... [Ecclesiastes] [personal theology] [politics] [recurring words]

July 3, 4PM

Qohelet 7 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#58184)
The end of this chapter is disappointing. The preacher loses the edge of the sword. Perhaps I should not believe him/her anyway. The Qohelet's name is besmirched slightly. ט֥וֹב שֵׁ֖ם מִשֶּׁ֣מֶן ט֑וֹבוְי֣וֹם הַמָּ֔ו... [Ecclesiastes]
It is inevitable in a book as large as Seeing the Psalter, that some issues are going to get away from author and computer alike. One of these is the stem for the long word, מֽוֹסְרוֹתֵ֑ימוֹ, in Psalm 2. נְֽ֭נַתְּקָה אֶת־... [psalm snippets] [recurring words]


Why foxglove? a weed, a medicine, or just beautiful.  "what the sly fox has to do with the foxglove remains a mystery" I enjoy watching these tall flowers grow. One in my garden is stunted this year because the official keeper of the garde... [flowers] [Lamentations] [Song of Songs]

July 2, 5PM

This is new ground for me. Much to see and learn. Verse 1 begins with a pause (שֶׁ֑) on Moses. The ^ under the shin is the signal for a pause. It is the atnach, a rest on the sub-dominant. You can see the music here. Note that who called is not state...

July 1, 9AM

The June carnival has been published here at William Ross's site. As you can see, I will be collecting posts for the carnival in August. I would be interested in opinions on the Biblical Studies posts that you see around the blogosphere, and of course in... [carnival]

12 AM

Lamentations has already given us 4 daring and poetic chapters, each one an acrostic, chapters 1, 2, and 4 of 22 verses, and chapter 3 of 66 verses, a triple acrostic. A characteristic of this chapter 5 is that there is no rest throughout. Not one verse ... [Lamentations] [Music of the Bible]

June 29, 2PM

Here is the fourth acrostic in Lamentations. Finally I am up and running on my new box without hiccoughs. (hiccups) The software is Oracle-XE, IIS, GX-LEAF forms and procedures which I have developed. The data is from almost always kere. At thi... [Lamentations]

June 27, 2PM

We are lucky in these days to have interactions online with scholars from around the world and through the centuries. I have had more interaction with these people than I ever did with professors in University. Anthony LeDonne has posted a question on wha... [Biblical Studies]


Mothers eating their children. This acrostic, the second of four in this five chapter book, pulls no punches. In spite of the depth of trouble, trouble does not show up too heavily in the domain percentages, but perhaps, as it is with all of us, a little ... [Lamentations]

June 26, 1PM

I read this morning of computerized source criticism of Biblical Texts (Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol 134, No 2 page 253-271). I have not yet read this article in toto but I was surprised to see their dependence on the Strong's exhaustive concord... [Biblical Studies]


Working on the books of the Bible that I have sort-of worked on before is harder than working on books that I have not yet read in Hebrew. When I am on old ground, I have to recognize all the decisions I made 4 or 5 years ago that I would not make the sam... [glosses] [reading project status] [recurring words]

June 19, 6PM

Tim Bulkeley of SansBlogue and has reviewed my recently published e-book, Seen from the Street. You can read his review here. [Seen from the Street]


This may help some readers of my e-book take note of the Scriptural background and other allusions in Seen from the Street. Since page numbers are not part of the e-book concept, all the page numbers are approximate. All entries are in alphabetical order.... [Seen from the Street]


The lessons for US if we would refuse our short-circuited circuitry. Pain is not ours alone, nor only our victims'. Psalm 78 again... How much they provoked him in the wildernessand caused him pain in the wasteland and they turned back and tempted Godand... [personal theology] [politics and the psalms]

12 PM

What is mental illness? What is indoctrination? Perhaps a closed society can learn but somehow I doubt it. It seems to take too many generations to have justice. There are many in the country that is my neighbour to the south who know that there is a deep... [personal theology] [politics]

12 AM

Tonight we practiced the music from this post. We decided the idea of drone using tone colour to distinguish voices was too complex and would take too much work for the time available.  I have updated the earlier post with comments on the rehearsal an...

June 18, 5PM

This post is the first published from my new computer, now all set up with Oracle XE and GX-LEAF completely separate from my former office and with a little redesign of the data to speed up the process. It is 100 times faster. That means I can rush like D... [Job] [recurring words]

June 15, 7PM

We are going to perform this at St Barnabas next Sunday - 5 of us. With parts allocated in the PDF as outlined below. If you would like to perform it, be our guest - and let us know how it goes in your congregation in a comment - have fun. It is not like ... [Lectionary] [Music of the Bible]

June 13, 5PM

I have been posting mostly about flowers recently but I have not been idle. I have a new powerful computer and it takes time to set it up. Translation has stopped until I get my forms established on the new box complete with a separate installation of Ora... [reading project status] [Seen from the Street]


I was downtown on my bike to print some music and as I came up Rockland, I veered into Government House and cycled past the rose garden without stopping. Then I thought - how can you do that? You've never taken that viewpoint before - so I went back to ta... [flowers]

June 9, 1PM

Imaged only. I make no attempt to describe this. [flowers]

June 6, 2PM

Inspired by Karen Traphagen, here are some pictures from the North-West coast. No starfish or tritons and if you can identify things better that I can, please comment. [flowers]

June 3, 11PM

That brutal story of David and Goliath is on the horizon. It is a story that has been applied typologically to the verse in Hebrews that speaks of him that hath the power of death being destroyed by death, its own sword. I will be reading this (minus the ... [1 Samuel] [Lectionary]

June 1, 7AM

Claude Mariottini has posted the Carnival this month. It is a thoughtful selection - not too many, and with some gentle implied criticism. [carnival]

May 30, 5PM

Still picture on Facebook already - here's a video of the kite flyers. And here's a panorama from across Ross Bay to Clover Point where the festival is. Continues tomorrow. Clover point from the other side of Ross Bay [flowers]

May 29, 1PM

Where does the data occur, how often, and how does the data behave? Here are the verses for Job and Psalms at the moment. Reading Job for chapters 8-27, 29-42 is very rough, but sufficient to get the gist as to how the accents 'work'. Psalms after 72 are ... [Job] [Psalms] [te-amim]

May 24, 9AM

Good stuff by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#55840)
Christ con carne with Amy Jill Levine. [Links]

May 23, 5PM

This function of deciding semantic domains is long and difficult. It will continue to occupy some time in this project as long as the project continues. But it is a bit of a rest for the mind - searching for the right place for a word stem. I can add doma... [GX-Leaf] [Semantic domains]

May 22, 4PM

You remember Eliphaz? Probably not because I got his name wrong (now fixed). He is the one who delivered the first speech to Job in chapters 4 and 5. Six years ago when I first studied this book I asked,  Eliphaz - how will we hear you? Are you really Go... [Job]

May 16, 6PM

A few shots with my new camera (Panasonic DMC ZS40). I get no kudos for the link, but I was curious about the reviews. It's a pocket size 30x zoom 18 MP. It has some manual operation but I usually just point and shoot. The Intelligent Auto setting does ev... [flowers]


Dr. David Mitchell's book on the Songs and with extensive analysis of the accents in the Hebrew text according to the theory of Suzanne Haik-Vantoura has now been published. I highly recommend this book if only for the delightful detective story on the ar... [Book Reviews] [Mitchell] [Music of the Bible] [Songs of Ascent]

May 15, 11AM

It is indeed one of the grave errors of religious anti-secularism that it does not see that secularism is made up of verités chretiennes devenus folles, of Christian truths that "went mad". Alexander Schmemann in For the Life of the World, Sacr... [Book Reviews] [Jobling] [Schmemann]

May 14, 11PM

I'm not sure it is a good idea to punctuate poetry, but I'm doing it anyway. While working through Psalm 65 I noticed that verse 8 (spanning page 1-2) has no atenach. The punctuation would suggest that this verse continues the sense of the prior verse. It... [psalm music]


Here are the last 12 verses of the chapter together. There are additional posts on it from the past few days that I have been struggling with it. vs 63, vs 58-61, 46-57, 21-45, and 1-20. The music for the whole chapter is here in PDF form. (If you want... [Deuteronomy]


English no longer distinguishes between the singular and plural you. And I have not thee'd and thou'd you or ye'd and y'all'd y'all in my reading. Occasionally though we need to meditate on the oneness of our state. Are we one or are we many? Is God One o... [Deuteronomy] [recurring words]


I don't often read many of the 100+ blogs that I follow but there are a few posts this morning that I will draw your attention to. James McGrath reviews Tony Burke, ed., Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate: Proceedings ... [Links] [Seen from the Street]

May 13, 1PM

When it comes to concordance, what is important and why? In what follows, I explore some of the thoughts I have when reading in a foreign tongue. I'll start with the word for word, thing, or matter, דבר. I wonder how important this 'thing' is. The ste... [Deuteronomy] [recurring words]

May 11, 9PM

You can't be serious, a book takes years to write. And you haven't mentioned this one. True, but its been there for many years. I started writing it in 1994. Madness I know. I didn't finish it till 2005 and I let it lie fallow for 10 years. Then a tweet ... [Seen from the Street]

May 10, 8PM

You sure have to search for the tenderness in some passages. Here as in Lamentations and a couple of other places in the prophets that I haven't got to yet, it is promised that the consequence to the people of failing in this treaty with their God will be... [Deuteronomy] [personal theology] [politics]

May 6, 4PM

May 5, 11AM

I should go outside, but as I was putting my bookmark into Deuteronomy 28 - verse 46 where I stopped, I had to notice that it was almost completely translated by my algorithm that suggests translations so here it is with a little adjustment here and there... [Deuteronomy] [Israel as parable] [personal theology]


Better is a word to be avoided. Conclusions are destructive. Abstractions distance us from reality. What then should one dare say about God in these days of brutality and remembrance of horror? I read the extended curses in Deuteronomy with fear of drawi... [Deuteronomy] [personal theology] [politics]

May 4, 8AM

There is some evidence that the writer is pondering in a circular manner in this chapter. Note the 8 or 9 words and phrases in reverse order of usage. I chose just these 13 words from verse 12 that illustrate the long reverse usage in that verse. It does ... [Ecclesiastes]

May 3, 5PM

Ole veyored is not as 'important' as atnah. In the books Job and Psalms, ole veyored occurs in only 379 verses. Atnah occurs in 3,352 verses. They both occur in 330 records, so only in this limited subset (less than 10%) can their relative regulatory valu... [musical structure] [personal theology] [Psalms] [te-amim]
You've maybe seen the win in yesterday's Kentucky Derby. Now here's a slow horse but plodding along. After 7 weeks on this new project (last report here), I have made a little progress. Books % In data Draft ... [reading project status]


Critical feedback welcome. I have been asked based on my own expression of interest and a detailed project description that I sent to them, to prepare a poster describing my project for On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts at King'... [reading project status]

May 2, 9AM

The carnival is out here at Jeff Carter's site. It is excellent work written with short summaries so easily scanned - but inviting many clicks. [Biblical Studies] [carnival]

April 28, 11AM

Decreasing the withdrawal requirement for RRIFs for today benefits future governments and future generations. The Canadian Federal government has recently announced changes to the minimum percentages that seniors must withdraw from their registered retir... [#budget2015] [#RRIF]

April 27, 11AM

My text of Ruth is readable but I submitted no analysis with it. Here for instance, excluding a dozen common small words, are 15 words that occur in all four chapters. This shows a highly coherent language subset used in this story. If we exclude these 16... [recurring words] [Ruth]


April 25, 5PM

In Deuteronomy 28 again, there is an obvious parallel structure made clearer if we just pick words that recur exactly twice and also omit some verses so the table is manageable. If I were composing a speech orally, I doubt I could manage 20 odd words in a... [Deuteronomy] [recurring words]

12 PM

The bee continues its random walk through the flowers. A name that I have not seen online for a long time - 10 years at least, I normally associate with the Jesus Seminar, the New Testament and the Synoptic Problem, such as this site here or the world of... [1 Samuel] [musical structure] [personal theology] [politics] [Rhetoric]

April 24, 1PM

Pardon my language, but some words make me see differently. Deuteronomy 28 is not about God cursing the people, its about the people denying God as revealed to them in the words of Moses. Just one word makes me see that differently, the turnaround is in ... [Deuteronomy] [translation]

April 21, 4PM

This is quite an argument. You will note in my translation an odd use of 'it' as a personal pronoun and I hope only twice, 'his'. This is to focus on God and away from the generic human, whether male or female or whatever. In the music, there is one surp... [Ecclesiastes] [musical structure] [politics]

April 20, 10AM

My original Seuss-like rendering was that chapter 4 is 'out the door'. In those days the software was simpler and I had a more efficient copy and paste from web form to blog. For a while I was copying via Word, but it is painful html so now I am just omit... [Ecclesiastes]


This poem excoriates Doeg the Edomite at first, but then morphs into a metaphor about the tongue in its tent. The poem is unique in its recurrence pattern in Hebrew. Even including the most common words, each word that repeats is used exactly twice. There... [personal theology] [Psalms] [recurring words]

April 19, 9AM

Qohelet 2 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#53692)
This is a long argument with 10 words repeating more than seven times. Basically, there is nothing left - so what is left? Nothing for the earthling, except for this preacher, if Solomon, a memory of excess. So is there a residue of non-futility for the e... [Ecclesiastes]

April 18, 11AM

Contrary to the theses of this morning's Globe and Mail editorial on the end of prayer at the start of government working sessions, I think the end of prayer, both its terminus and its purpose (for in case you didn't notice, end is ambiguous) was announce... [Links] [politics]


Miscellany by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#53648)
From younger selves who were nevertheless the same self though different, Kurk vs Ker, from glory days. This post from BLT is a carnival in itself, and some of the ancient links, treasure. Here is a guest post on a recent trip to Israel - pomegranate in ... [carnival] [Links]

April 15, 8AM

Chris Hadfield ends his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth with a metaphor of thanksgiving to his editor - "you have been through my words so many times, you truly scarily know me. It's an intimacy that conductors must have with new scores, ... [Book Reviews]
This article by the Oxford University Press blog reveals a word-stem-based extremism and an insight into how the cognate languages of Arabic and other stem based languages like Hebrew might be read. But read, my dears, with love and good humour rather tha... [Links] [personal theology]

April 13, 11AM

We don't know if Jonah ever repented, ever turned into the compassion he was clearly aware of in his God. The formative words are burning with anger and again great. And I see a technical surprise, a first time notification. I wonder if I properly implem... [Jonah]
Nineveh will be changed - what a promise. We really need to be changed from the inside where all our prejudices are locked up, held in place by the distance we put between our inner and the outer parts, effectively by our objectification of the world as s... [Jonah] [personal theology]


O joy o rapture, someone else is as mad as I am about trop - a nice short name (Yiddish) for accents. No comments on that blog so I note his graph on the lack of atnah (spelled differently) at the beginning of Numbers (B'midbar). Perhaps there is no rest ... [cantillation] [te-amim] [technological convenience] [Torah]

April 12, 9AM

I simply can't go from one flower to the next in sequence. Have you ever seen a bee work that way? So I've skipped ahead to Job 28, the praise of wisdom. I did say wisdom, not shrewdness, but as I reread this, I am struck that it is not a generic hymn to ... [Job]

April 9, 11PM

Qohelet or Ecclesiastes - same book. Why two names? One is from the Hebrew for the strange word that occurs in this book alone, קהלת. The other is from the Greek sharing a few letters. Both are perhaps related to the assembly. Qhl in Hebrew, Ecclesias... [Ecclesiastes]


Chapter 2 is a psalm. 1 And Yahweh appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And it happened: Jonah in the innards of the fish three days and three nights. 2 And Jonah prayed to Yahweh his God, from the innards of t... [Jonah]

April 8, 10AM

I was looking at the 125 old posts I did on my Sufficiency blog on Job in 2009-10. Astonishing - I seem not to have been in a hurry in those days. Even if I might disagree with my result today, the work I did was more complete than I might have thought. ... [Deuteronomy] [Genesis] [Job] [translation]

April 7, 3PM

Bildad is the first of the three friends, who wisely sat in silence for 7 days, to speak and explain to Job what he must know. Just looking at words that occur more than two times, in the first barrel, chapter 4, only 1 word occurs more than twice, and... [Job] [Music of the Bible]

8AM Humour in the Rabbinic Literature: GALUS AUSTRALIS : Counting Teeth: Humour in the Rabbinic Literature (Simon Holloway). Part One: Is it Okay to Laugh? Q: Why did Queen Es... Q: Why did Queen Esther merit to rule over one hundred an...

April 5, 12 PM

Directed by Sarah MacD - will be found here. Brilliant service this morning at St John's music under David Stratkouskas direction with fully integrated brass quartet. Excellent sermon by Alastair McCollum.


Ruth 1-4 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#52823)
I thought I had Ruth out there somewhere. I found my PDF from March 2015. And here is a preliminary analysis of the trouble sector in that book, only 3% of the words but a suitable variety of vexation. [Ruth]

April 4, 3PM

The frame of Job is a story concerning the interaction of God with the accuser while the council in heaven is in session. We are all present and we are quite capable of playing the role of accuser (a.k.a.Satan). If you read my reading with another transl... [Job]


Is this a first pass? No, it is about the third or fourth, but still I am a novice, and when I read the dictionaries, I think I hear the scholars of the past saying: This is what we assigned to the word, take our word for it - and they are legion and I do... [Song of Songs]

April 3, 10AM

It's a happy co-incidence that these have been my study today, the one from the Psalms in Greek group on Facebook and the other continuing my readings in Hebrew and writing in English. I can scarcely label myself a translator, though I suppose that is wha... [Psalms] [Song of Songs]

April 2, 9AM

Big projects can be depressing. It is very important no to be in a hurry. I got a free book yesterday and another for $.99 but they required me to install the free Logos package. And I expect I can only read them on my computer. I have a reader but it is... [Jonah]

April 1, 5PM

Here is the rest of chapter 5. I cannot hold it back. It shares a great deal of vocabulary with the building of the tabernacle in Exodus. Think about it. This is the one who is attractive to the Bride of the Song. The fine gold (ktm) can remind us of the ... [Song of Songs]


The March BS Carnival is out. Thanks to Jacob Prahlow for including some links from this blog. [carnival]
I happen to be reading the Song of Solomon chapter 5 at this moment in Holy Week, and Passover time. I have read to verse 9. See if you can read with me to observe how it reflects both Passion and Passover. The Hebrew for passing over occurs twice. The fr... [personal theology] [Song of Songs]

March 30, 1PM

I have drafted a not so modest proposal for supporting my project. Any thoughts? [reading project status] [the music project]

March 29, 8PM

I realize I have posted a status this month, but this one is a little different, and will be a model for subsequent posts every month or two depending on progress. The task is to read in Hebrew and report each chapter or section in music, in English, wit... [reading project status]

March 28, 4PM

Chapter 4 is through the mill for the third time and to mix a metaphor, the hair, those she-goats curled up on the slopes, are gradually being combed into place. The Song is of course a very important piece both of love poetry and of theology. Not to be ... [glosses] [recurring words] [Song of Songs] [theology]


This link at the History blog is simply lovely. Be sure to click the sublinks that show the comic book in stone that is Trajan's column. And then go to the time travel complete with cell-phone that shows 'the making of Trajan's column'. [history] [Links]

March 27, 11AM

some of us have heard of Rachel Held Evans. There is quite a kerfuffle about her book Searching for Church which is I understand organized around the sacraments. Yes, Virginia, even the lowly protestant can change their minds about Santa Claus. This lates... [Links] [personal theology]

March 22, 1PM

Bob your glosses are weird. Undoubtedly. Perhaps they will grow in creative weirdness as I continue learning. I am continually struck by words that I have seen many times yet they are invisible and inaudible to me. It's a long journey, and when I return t... [Genesis] [glosses] [translation]


Note what Rabbi Rachel writes about creating sacred space. Beautiful. [Links]

March 21, 10AM

What is that word Selah? Lacking a clear consensus from scholars I have felt free to offer the ... suggestion that Selah is a Philistine expletive that David learned during those hard years when he was banished from Saul's court and knocking around with ... [footnotes] [poetry] [translation]

March 20, 9AM

Oliver pondering the 2015-2016 Regina Symphony Brochure A book on my unseen host's shelf. We are here visiting Regina at the invitation of our son, Simon, to hear his new orchestra. He takes up his position as concertmaster full time in September. And o... [Book Reviews] [Psalms]

March 19, 7PM

This typo reported by Doug Chaplin in an important sounding News medium is cute to say the least. [Links]

March 17, 3PM

There are a large number of words in the Hebrew Bible - somewhere between 300 and 350 thousand. I'll tell you when I get there. Here are a few higher level stats. Books  In the Scriptures In my data Drafted sort of ... [reading project status]

March 16, 5PM

Also called the Song of Solomon, but I think he does little in it except add some assonance to go with the foxes and the Shulamite. Think of this poem as prayer in which the reader takes on the role of the bride. After each chapter is a table of words re... [recurring words] [Song of Songs]

March 14, 6PM

We decided that telephones are not the best camera for a serious trip. And we have plans to be in the Galapagos in the late Fall so we bought a camera - not too hard to use but with full manual control as well. So besides learning to snorkel, I will revie... [flowers]

March 13, 3PM

Chapter 3 begins the poetry of Job. The music reverts to the accents that are used in the Psalms. It is a syllabic rhythm rather than a word pulse as in the prologue. Job 3 is strongly related to Genesis chapter 1 as are also the speeches of Yahweh in ch... [Creation] [Job]

March 7, 3PM

I read this passage some years ago, letter by letter as it were. The complex diagram was a beginning of looking. It was early in my search for recurrence as a patterning of the Hebrew Bible texts. This newer reading may be suggestive for some for whom th... [Genesis] [Music of the Bible] [reading strategies] [Semantic domains] [translation]

March 6, 12 PM

James McGrath, at his site on Patheos which I refuse to link to because of the offensive and expensive ads, has asked a good question as he often does. Is the term “information fluency” meaningful to most blog readers? If not, how would you articulat... [Links] [personal theology]

March 5, 1AM

I spent a little time reading Poetic Diction by the Inkling, Owen Barfield. This book had a considerable influence on C.S.Lewis in that it allowed him to reconcile the scientific view of the world with what goes beyond it. I must say, the leap is somewhat... [poetry] [statistics]

March 4, 12 PM

In these days of fear and destruction, I just happened to spend a few weeks with Obadiah. Here is my first draft of these 21 verses (before reading Raabe, a 300 page commentary on these same 21 verses). And in spite of the little I have noted in Raabe so ... [Music of the Bible] [Obadiah] [personal theology] [politics] [recurring words] [Semantic domains] [translation]

March 3, 1PM

Grammar by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#50686)
OK - when did you learn grammar? - when you first began to speak? at aged one or two?  Of course not. Now I am 8 and I am beginning again to learn grammar. Of course I started at chapter 39, Geminate verbs Introduction. This site, Animated Hebrew, is ver... [grammar] [Hebrew] [Links]

February 26, 12 PM

PDF of cantillation for Song 2 (mode 2, hypodorian) is here. Here's the English - hmmm - want to try an underlay? Let me know and I will send you a score. 1 I am the crocus of the plain, the lily of the valley. 2 As... [cantillation] [modes] [Song of Songs] [translation]

February 25, 3PM

Translation for me is more a matter of combing hair than studying history.  I am unavoidably caught by historical criticism, and all sorts of scholarship. I am absolutely dependent on modern technology for my information. Perhaps now, if it all failed, t... [Song of Songs] [translation]

February 24, 10AM

Psalm 31 (30 Greek version) has a framed middle shown in the table below. This is one of the regular psalms for Compline, and the origin of the words for Jesus on the cross, Into your hands I commend my spirit. The frame includes 4 mentions of hands as ca... [LXX] [Psalms]

February 23, 6PM

This has gone through my concordance mill, so the glosses agree with those I have used in all my translations except where acrostics demand an exception, or my mill misses the mark and spits out an unground corn, or I just chose to keep an exception (rare... [Lamentations] [translation]

February 22, 9PM

word, by word, line by line - eventually you get a big pile. Hopefully not a bleak landscape. What are we to learn from a poem in the shape of a triple alphabetic acrostic? In the music, there is no mid-verse cadence until verse 56. Even if you believe t... [Lamentations] [Music of the Bible] [politics] [translation]

February 20, 11AM

This is a fun chapter - what do you think? QOHELET 3 Syll לַכֹּ֖ל זְמָ֑ן וְעֵ֥ת לְכָל־חֵ֖פֶץ תַּ֥חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם 1 To everything there is a season, and a time for ... [Ecclesiastes] [translation]

February 15, 11AM

From today's lesson for the transfiguration 2 Kings 2:1-12. The harmonic strategy for prolonging the first half of the verse includes the use of the reciting note on the sixth note of the scale, and the oscillation between tonic and dominant repeatedly pr... [cantillation] [Music of the Bible]

February 12, 5PM

Well, I'm sure you knew that I had something to learn. And so I do. This cantillation is no slam-dunk. The language is not easy to apply to a text and it takes, just as Jacobson teaches, a considerable savvy at parsing, almost like punctuating a paragraph... [cantillation] [Matthew] [te-amim]

February 11, 11PM

Here is a situation where the Haik-Vantoura system allows for multiple 'accents' on individual syllables. I referenced this in my prior post. It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. You can click here to download the PDF file. [Music of the Bible] [te-amim]

February 10, 5PM

The translation of Margoliouth is different from Salkinson-Ginsberg. I used a combination. My accents are not going to be equivalent to Margoulith. His text is missing some text in verse 1, and while I followed his words in some cases over Salkinson-Ginbe... [cantillation] [Matthew]

12 AM

What would the sermon on the mount sound like in Hebrew if it were sung to the scheme of Suzanne Haik Vantoura? This question occurred to me and I did a little search to see if I might find out if anyone had already done the work of signing the Hebrew NT.... [cantillation] [Hebrew NT allusions]

February 7, 3PM

Here’s a couple of preliminary tables comparing Haik-Vantoura with traditional cantillation. The percentages are summarized from the 16.5% of the Bible that I currently have in my database.  I have noted which signs are conjunctive and which are dis... [cantillation] [Jacobson] [Music of the Bible] [Vantoura]

February 6, 8PM

Well - I can't find either of the referenced articles and the comment below is ad hominem as far as I am concerned. It's a nasty way of saying she doesn't know what she's done and that she is out to lunch. It has zero information as to why she is out to l... [Music of the Bible] [punctuating] [te-amim]

February 5, 8PM

Who interprets the punctuation for Ps 20:10 (21:9)? The MT reads as a parallel, Yahweh save : may the king answer us when we call. The atnach is after the word 'save'. The Greek and almost all translations read the king as the direct object of save. I sup... [Music of the Bible] [poetry] [te-amim]

February 2, 10AM

Joel has begun his translation challenge for Isaiah 54:1 here. I am looking forward to this exercise. If you search my label on Isaiah, you will find plenty of background on this chapter and the surrounding ones. Translation is fun - but it is a bit like... [Isaiah] [translation]

February 1, 11AM

Yes, this is Zephaniah 3 - hot out of the translator's strange mind. The discipline I have imposed on the Psalms has been imposed here. I have also recently imposed it on Jonah and Ruth, and will shortly impose it onto Job, the Song, Lamentations (the las... [translation] [Zephaniah]

January 30, 12 PM

Here are two conflicting reviews, both necessary, one potentially fearful, one potentially hopeful, of what looks like a suitable book for adults in the faith. I won't be buying it, but it is suitable to read the reviews and give thanks that at least so... [Book Reviews]

January 24, 10AM

A couple of posts I noted this morning - Kurk Gayle on Love - surely the best reading of Luke 10 I have ever seen - makes one of two as Britten does in one of his choral songs that I cannot find. Dovetails nicely with Ken Schenck's brilliant list of pa... [carnival] [Links]

January 23, 5PM

A book on Genesis 1 - What really happened in the Garden of Eden? From inside: The translation “rib” is discarded, as Zevit indicates that that was not even considered as one of the options by the early rabbis. His suggestion is that the limb/append... [Book Reviews]


Or bats in my belfry? Here is Zephaniah 2, chapter 1 is here. There is a curious possible repetition of the strange word for watchers שׁרר in the Psalms - or it is a hitpolel root of singing שׁיר. I think the animals are metaphorical by the way. ... [translation] [Zephaniah]

January 22, 1AM

Psalm 16 by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#48029)
This translation makes some guesses as to what the psalm 'means'. The problem of who is talking to whom is magnified in this psalm. In verse 1 the poet and the reader address God, seeking refuge. In verse 2a, the poet addresses himself, so it could read I...

January 20, 2PM

So begins the second half of Psalm 60 also reflected in Psalm 108. Either one gets giggles from the choir for the phrase 'Moab is my washpot'. Zephaniah picks up the idiom of the enclosed city. Here is my first cut at Zephaniah chapter 1 - you have to sta... [translation] [Zephaniah]

January 15, 6PM

Here's a comparison of Vantoura vs Jacobson traditional cantillation using a single verse. I could use some help. [cantillation] [Jacobson] [Vantoura]


Joshua R. Jacobson, Chanting the Hebrew Bible, The Complete Guide to the Art of Cantillation is on my desk. Also there are a host of reference books open in various positions and a computer with 12 pages on the web open, a dozen other programs running inc... [Jacobson] [learning] [Vantoura]

January 13, 7PM

This is preliminary in order to test the one claim I have heard for ole-yored. I was able to get data for all the 2,525 verses of the psalms. The claim is this: "Atnah (also called Etnahta) is the main verse divider for the twenty-one books as ole v... [statistics] [te-amim]

January 12, 4PM

The Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture latest volume is online. It includes one of my articles on my research, Using Software to Analyse Patterns of Recurrence in the Poetry of the Psalms. I am very grateful to Tim Hutchings for his patience i... [JRMDC] [Psalms] [recurring words]

January 10, 6PM

Jacobson is very thorough. He will approach the accents in the Hebrew text of the Bible from several points of view. I will begin with the earliest examples and work through the book page by page. I can let it dovetail with my translation intentions. In t... [cantillation] [Jacobson] [Music of the Bible] [Vantoura]

January 9, 12 PM

Here are some notes (and pictures of notes).  Traditional cantillation and that proposed by Suzanne Haik Vantoua are incompatible in some respects and yet have similar results and objectives in others. On the surface SHV associates a single musical... [Jacobson] [Music of the Bible] [Vantoura]

January 8, 3PM

Don't get me wrong. I am so glad to have seen what SHV has done and to have sung her work as a reader and as a listener to a choir who sang my transcription of Psalm 32. I am also glad that I can reproduce her work with a few minutes of data preparation r... [cantillation] [Jacobson] [Music of the Bible] [Vantoura]

January 5, 12 PM

I enjoyed the article very much on the demonstrative pronoun זה. Thanks to Robert Holmstedt. Here is my question for him. What do you think, dear readers of Dust? He is talking in detail - beautiful linguistic detail, of the phrase זֶ֥ה סִינַ... [Music of the Bible] [psalm music] [te-amim] [translation]

January 4, 5PM

My last post got a negative reaction. SHV is "simply wrong. It is based on an occidental system of music. Moreover, it is really late." Quite apart from the tonal recognition that this scheme involves: tonic, dominant, subdominant, octaves and ... [Music of the Bible] [te-amim]

January 3, 2PM

Reading the psalms again, and punctuating my prior translation, but reading in Greek and hopefully learning a bit over the next year about Greek. Here's Psalm 2 in my usual literal translation from the Hebrew. I am no longer leaving untransliterated words... [LXX] [punctuating] [translation]

January 1, 12 PM

Here's a review of Sarah Coakley's beginning of her trilogy on the Trinity. This first look makes me think that she is definitely on the right tack. The interpretation of Romans 8:26 configures itself congruently with my own experience and reflection. Th... [Book Reviews] [carnival]

December 31 2014, 9PM

The Biblical Studies carnival for March scores the highest with more than 1000 views, but it is lower than the one from 2013 now approaching 3000 and lower still than some posts from 2010 on Ecclesiastes now up over 4000. They were fun to write and fun t...


Thank you readers for propelling Dust into the top 10 Biblioblogs. Dust is number 7 according to Peter Kirby's winter list. So let me tell you what I am doing at present. I have drafted a routine that analyses the Hebrew consonantal text and tries to tel... [Planning] [translation]

December 24, 7PM

We continue our series on the MacDonald Family, the 2014 saga. Much is understated as readers of this blog will know - but the truth lies in the interstices. [Christmas newsletters]

December 15, 11PM

Here is a map of word usage in psalms 8 and 144. I found the unique usage of שמיך because it failed my algorithm for finding the root in the word. It's a bit tricky coding those 40 or 50 odd rules that form words in this language. But it's coming alon...
Just a quick note that there is another unique relationship between Psalms 8 and 144. Each of these precedes an acrostic - this highlights their position in the Psalter as I have noted before. I somewhere pointed out (probably it is in my book) that Psal... [acrostics] [Psalter] [Structure] [שמיך]

December 14, 10AM

Larry has just introduced me to some scenes from Community, a very clever sitcom on the Christmas season. Worth putting on the headphones.

December 12, 10PM

Absolutely had to share this as a Canadian - rhymes with Akkadian  And thanks to Travis O'Brian, Rector of St Barnabas, for not letting me miss it.

December 1, 11AM

Here's a verse from yesterday's readings - it is a bit odd. What does it mean? Thou didst take away him that joyfully worked righteousness, those that remembered Thee in Thy ways--behold, Thou wast wroth, and we sinned--upon them have we stayed of old, t... [Isaiah] [translation]

November 30, 6PM

Thanks to Ely Cathedral for the image It looks as if we will have a Christmas Compline at St Barnabas Church in Victoria, BC on December 28th. Singers returning home for the holidays are welcome to join the choir. Rehearsal is 6:30 for 8:00 service. Pl...

November 18, 12 PM

These recur 7 times each (see the prior two posts. Word / Gloss12VSSStem יהוה Yahweh ░ 5יהוה ראוה saw her ░ 7ראה ראו they see ░ 8ראה ראה see ░ 9ראה יהוה Yahweh ░ 9יהוה ראתה she has seen ░ 10...
Just look at this carefully constructed poem. Selected Recurring Words Excluding: על,יהוה,אלוה,כי,אל,את Word / Gloss12345678910123VSSStem רבתי abundant with ░ 1רב רבתי abundant ░ 1רב אין there is none ░ 2אי...
Well, here is my latest fun. Jeremiah's Lamentations 1. It's a slow process revisiting old translations. Earlier I was not doing much more than elemental rephrasing. Now I apply techniques - but still have much more to learn about this ancient language - ... [Music of the Bible] [translation]

November 15, 7PM

I now have several ways (in no particular order) to check translations - it takes time for each and the thought process is not something I can decode on the spot. 1. Concordance. I have considerably improved my concordance algorithm. It removes helping v... [Music of the Bible] [Semantic domains] [translation]


Of the 116 words in this psalm, 58 (50%) are in the domain of Promise – at least that’s the way I am counting the words at the moment. The graph shows a little of the breakdown. My translation is below the graph. You can see 6 words designating the hu... [GX-Leaf] [Psalms] [Semantic domains]

November 12, 11AM

The other chapters 53, 55 are at the links. This has been a challenging exercise. I did not wait for Joel Hoffman to translate this chapter 54. It has been a month so I just ploughed ahead with all three chapters. The musical scores are still in Hebrew on... [Isaiah] [translation]

November 11, 10AM

There is a continuing conversation on violent texts in the Bible and how to read them at Larry Behrendt's blog here. I didn't intend to write an essay in the first comment, but it happened anyway while watching Federer beat Nishikori in the London finals.... [violence in the Bible]

November 6, 10PM

את by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#43247)
nota accusativi, quod, quod attinet ad; se ipsum; cuius haec formae inveniuntur. Does that say anything about 'with'?  Nope - but BDB allows for some usage as a preposition of place. All their examples, however, need analysis and pattern matching. I nev...
I am almost ready for Isaiah 54. I have done the chapters on either side, translation and music - but not yet combined. But can one ever be ready - just keep on plugging. It's bound to get easier. I have reviewed all the glosses and roots for concordance ... [Isaiah] [translation]

November 4, 5PM

If you are in to gematria, converting words to numbers, then you will enjoy this post by Chris Keith on the Johannine fish counting. I use gematria in my diagrams and in my book purely for colour. I convert the gematria with this formula: "color:#'|...

12 PM

Some time ago I posted this music - before I had developed the automation that reads the Aleppo codex and writes the music XML. It seems I also manually transposed it. Here is a fresh copy in E major - without translation for the moment. Do not rush, he s... [Isaiah] [translation]


I doubt that translation will ever be easy. I adjusted grave to tomb to agree with my earlier translations. It is so easy to slip away from concordance - even though it is not as important as I sometimes think. I use grave as a gloss for Sheol so I stick ...

November 3, 9AM

Isaiah Chapter 53 Syllables before and after the atnah מִ֥י הֶאֱמִ֖ין לִשְׁמֻעָתֵ֑נוּ וּזְר֥וֹעַ יְהוָ֖ה עַל מִ֥י נִגְלָֽתָה 1 Who believes what we heard? And... [Isaiah] [translation]

November 2, 3PM

You must know this whole process is too difficult for me. If one doesn't have the theological answers already, how can one translate?  Can anyone help me with the use of give, נתנ with a direct object marker, את?  I can't see 'giving the many-wicke... [Isaiah] [translation]

November 1, 10AM

Biblical Studies Carnival for October is here. Thanks to Brian Renshaw for noting a post of mine. [Biblical Studies] [carnival]


Everyone knows he was afflicted. We see the word and we ignore it. The root is the same as the root for answered. What do you think? Notice that verse 1 does not start on the tonic. (You can tell from the little sign under the letter in the Hebrew. It is... [Isaiah] [Music of the Bible] [translation]

October 31, 11AM

What are you doing in Winnipeg? Visiting grandson Oliver and translating when not busy, and watching Raonic beat Federer - good game! Here's my first cut at Isaiah 53:2 He grew up as a sapling, in his presence as a root from arid earth. Neither handsome... [Isaiah] [translation]

October 15, 12 PM

Here is a cool story by Ilona Gerbakher, a brave story, and a well-educated story. Privilege and hatred. Is it possible that such a one could make a difference... [Links]


Shared Words in Isaiah chapters 54 and 55. This list excludes עת,את,על. Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 ... [Isaiah] [recurring words] [translation]
Below I have listed all the shared words between Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 54. My wonder is whether the prophet considers these two chapters to be connected in their content. This list excludes עת,את,על. Notice how the first verse of Isaiah 54 picks u... [Isaiah] [recurring words] [translation]
How far can one get with words?  It just so happens that I was today preparing for a session at the university tomorrow on the mysticism of Rumi and this snippet came my way from Jawid Mojaddedi, Professor of Religion at Rutgers University. [2014 Disting... [Isaiah] [Mysticism] [recurring words] [translation]

October 13, 10AM

This is a preliminary analysis. I have worked a little with the text for Isaiah 54 and observe these recurrence patterns. Then I have looked briefly back at the music to see patterns in the use of the te'amim. For an introduction to the music, please see ... [Isaiah] [Music of the Bible] [recurring words] [translation]

October 11, 12 PM

If music and pulse and sound are steps 1a, b, c as I briefly describe here (and sequence of application of any of these steps is moot), then what next? Well, unlike the first Greek translators, we are not without many, many examples of translation. So ... [Isaiah] [Music of the Bible] [personal theology] [psalm snippets] [translation]

October 8, 1PM

What are the first steps for me for translating? First - is it poetry? In this case, yes? How do I know? It sounds like a psalm. Such poetry must in translation preserve the internal pulse of the parallels - so step 1a is to figure out where these pulse... [Isaiah] [translation]


Tim Bulkeley has a superb set of essays. Links are here, all available in pdf form. Published in the Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies. [personal theology]

October 7, 12 PM

The music for Isaiah-54. Joel Hoffman has invited us to translate this chapter. I have a few chapters of Isaiah on the go in various stages. I am very glad for the invitation to step up again into translation and music. The last three months have been a b... [Isaiah] [Music of the Bible] [translation]


Lost? by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#41327)
If you have ever been lost in a Souk, you will recognize this.

October 5, 6PM

Revelation by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#41224)
I did read this book many years ago and a dozen or so commentaries including the amazing Cloisters Apocalypse with its dragons that look like comic book characters. Here's a post I did on this from 2003 or so. What I think is useful is the huge number of ... [Revelation]


I am partway through these lectures by Francis Moloney and Mary Coloe - they are very good. It is clear that an exposition of John's Gospel using the techniques I have developed for the Psalms would pay big dividends. I could put the Greek into my databa... [Gospel of John] [personal theology] [recurring words]

October 3, 7PM

Sue Gillingham in the annual review of books in the Book List for 2013 for the Society for Old Testament Studies (June 2014) calls Seeing the Psalter an 'unusual commentary on the Psalms, in part technological, in part aesthetic, in part hermeneutical.' ... [Seeing the Psalter]

October 2, 10AM

Theology is a vicious cycle of our desperate need to understand and control our universe. From the Naked Pastor - an interesting site. A more interesting definition. All this comes out from the abuse that is coming out around about Mars Hill Church.  [Links]

October 1, 10AM

Here's a lovely piece of inter-faith writing from the Velveteen Rabbi. It's about peace and the tension in the Akedah between Muslim and Jewish intrpretations of who it was whom Abraham nearly offered as a burnt offering. I have noted the role of the Heb... [carnival] [personal theology]

September 30, 4PM

Stay curious has this amazing set of pictures of a giant prehistoric science fiction deep sea creature yuch. (we have a little one that is fossilized.) And Ken Schenck has an interesting set of posts on his own theology - very tidy indeed. I have not rea... [carnival]

September 27, 3PM

Here's a nice book review by James Pate. Tom Thatcher’s Why John Wrote a Gospel addresses the question of why the Gospel of John was written down. He raises some of the same sorts of questions that I have: Why write, when most people arguably could no... [carnival]

September 24, 9AM

Here is a radical insight, not dissimilar to the principles that have informed my own work in translation. More developed and disciplined - as must be from one who has had more formal opportunity - but I think not without convergence from another outsider... [translation]

September 22, 11AM

The world keeps turning even if I am only turning in my grave. What grave thoughts! Grave and grace differ by only one letter - and the typo is easy on a querty keyboard :) Phil Long is putting his introductory course on the historical context of the NT ... [carnival]

September 21, 1PM

When you have a present in front of you ready to be opened, the first thing you do with it is remove the wrapping paper. Then you take the present out of the box and remove the inner packaging. If you are an organized person, you use the box to hold the w... [personal theology] [Psalms]

September 10, 11AM

Here is a fine article on Matthew and the fulfillment motif - very fine - anticipate Christmas with it - but read it all. I have already facebooked (verbed that noun) a speech by Solzhenitsyn and a comment on his nationalism - a nice combo if you are wor...

September 8, 9AM

Diana and I were captivated by the PBS show on Stephen Hawking. It is astonishing what the team around him was able to support during the last 40 years. It is a beautifully tender film. The technology, the nursing support, the support of his students in ... [Hawking] [personal theology]

September 7, 5PM

Although this is a top 50 , even a top 20 Biblioblog, I do not have a lot of activity. I have had in the past 8 years about 210,000 page views on just over 2500 posts. You might think I need my head examined. What is your motivation, Bob? You know, I me... [Christmas newsletters] [church] [faith] [personal theology] [prejudice]

September 4, 12 PM

Sometimes you are sitting on a rough-cut gem and not really making use of it. Sometimes a glass diamond glitters and you are captivated but the impact is short-lived. Sometimes you hold a rock which may be polished to a shine but does not reveal any depth... [Book Reviews] [psalm snippets]

September 3, 11AM

Continuing the previous posts on Religion without God, a very short book (30,000 words or so) by the late philosopher and legal expert, Ronald Dworkin. Dworkin (p.24) divides religious values into godly convictions, worship, prayer, and obedience, and ... [#bgbg2] [Book Reviews] [personal theology]


"Perhaps surprisingly, their first question wasn't how to survive. It was why they had to survive. Or, more precisely, why no one was taking care of that for them." So begins Joel Hoffman as story teller, page 171 of his new book: The Bible's Cu... [Book Reviews]

September 2, 9AM

Continuing the previous posts on Religion without God, a very short book (30,000 words or so) by the late philosopher and legal expert, Ronald Dworkin. A great deal of Dworkin's arguments in the first three chapters have to do with the distinct universes... [#bgbg2] [Book Reviews] [personal theology]

August 30, 8AM

Continuing the previous post on Religion without God, a very short book (30,000 words or so) by the late philosopher and legal expert, Ronald Dworkin. The first phrase that caught my attention was on page 7, "In less violent places like America the...

August 28, 10AM

Does morality precede God? Abraham asks YHWH, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? This seems to imply that God is subject to a prior good. Religion without God is the title of a very short book (30,000 words or so) by Ronald Dworkin, a philos... [#bgbg2] [personal theology]

August 26, 12 PM

Here's a good read by Amy-Jill Levine. How well do we listen and how often do we impose shuttered vision onto what we read? I am ready to be able to see again - in 3 weeks left eye - then see double for 2 weeks - then right eye. And today walking strong...

August 20, 10AM

Dialectics for kids. HT James Crossley's blog. Check it out.

August 19, 12 PM

"Paul has given that single Abrahamic family a name: Christos." This works well - finally a clear rebuttal of Christ as a second name for Jesus. Anointing, Messiah, and Christ are all the same word. Participation in Christ is key, critical, an... [personal theology]

August 15, 2PM

The 9 days of my hospitalization were remarkable for the care shown by the staff and the competency by those who conducted care and the operation I required to keep on going. I am now home. The link will tell you more than you might need to know about the...

August 12, 4PM

What constitutes maturing of the human race? I really wonder if I can write this last essay of the series. So much is not about 'me' but about social maturing. Yet so much is wrong, and there are so many setbacks and returns to primal violence whether rel... [personal theology]

August 8, 6AM

one hand typing - intravenous feed is for hydration. It is 5:00 am. My eyes open in a hospital cubicle. I am attached via catheter to a bag filling with pink liquid. 24 hours ago it was red, the consequences of a distended bladder which for 8 weeks has b... [cancer]

August 5, 3PM

Well, I did not succeed in presenting my third petal without a bunch of Biblical terms. That's because I wanted to couch the expression in historical categories - like those intuited by the human animal as words were invented for them: so perfection, co... [personal theology]

August 1, 10PM

Jonathan Homrighausen at Linguae Antiquitatum has posted the latest carnival here.

July 30, 9AM

At last, the third thought-petal of my five which I first listed here with elaborations here, here and here. But this is more than a petal. It is the stamen itself. Completeness indicates the end of the story. Completeness is another synonym for the wh... [personal theology]

July 28, 10AM

Here's a rendering of Psalm 114. What could be done with it? This is in essence the original tonus peregrinus. It proves that Suzanne Haik Vantoura was on to something with her method of transcription of the cantillation marks in the Hebrew text. ... [Singing the Psalter]

July 23, 10PM

Whatever other meanderings are in this post, be sure to read the music here. This is a very amusing chapter containing David's hobnob with the priest Ahimelek over bread, girls, and Goliath's sword. Et qui rit des curés d'Oc.  Let no one laugh (too muc... [Singing the Bible]


I am removing all Patheos blogs from my reader. That includes Marcus Borg, Peter Enns, and James Mcgrath. While the content of these bloggers is very good and very interesting, the hosts are impolite: ads that start without permission, images of naked lad...

July 21, 3PM

My reading partner has suggested this as a passage that demands a close reading. So there's nothing like translating and finding an underlay for the implied music to force a close reading. It is a strange passage. David is burned up just as Yahweh is burn...

July 16, 1PM

Error by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#36721)
My second thought-petal when I was musing on what I value as "good for you" was acknowledging error. Good for you is, by the way, the name of a bulk food store nearby, about 7 km away. We often go there for bread flour, oats, wheat germ, and ot... [personal theology]

July 15, 1PM

So goes the old Shaker song, 'tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be .... But maybe you didn't think that turning in this song meant repentance. What do I mean by turning, my first petal. To turn is to change, to turn from something, to turn to s... [personal theology]

July 14, 11AM

I raised a possibly disturbing question in my post on "good for you". Surely there's not poison in the Bible! Well, think about it. Even the best fertilizer will burn a young plant. And the wrong fertilizer will lead to lots of green growth but ... [personal theology]

July 12, 10AM

Alright, you theologians and atheists out there, here's finally something you can tear apart. First maybe I will begin with a list. And why pick 'Christian teaching'?  Is it different from Hebrew teaching or Greek teaching or Muslim teaching or human te... [Lectionary] [personal theology]

July 9, 12 PM

Music and Scripture - is it really possible to hear that art-song that was finally imposed on the collected and edited words of the ancient writings in Hebrew? I cannot imagine that the song preceded the writing or even the collection. Like plainsong or A... [Isaiah] [Lectionary] [Singing the Bible]

July 8, 10AM

Not only birth and children in Genesis of course, but also expiration and death. Abraham's death illustrates common patterns in the music of Torah. Here is the page where Abraham dies. Notice the differing ways in which the diminished triad is used to a... [Lectionary] [Music of the Bible] [musical structure] [Singing the Bible]


I don't know why it is that our lives are filled with children these days - our own grandchild and the grandchildren of many and the children of many - all friends. When I was a child, friends was not automatic. Right now these all seem to be babes in arm... [Lectionary]

July 7, 5PM

Here is the lectionary for Matthew this week. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Do you notice anything missing? Yes - the citation of the passage from Isaiah at his calling Isaiah 6:9-10. Should we read these hard passages? Do we apply them to ourselves or only to t... [Lectionary]

July 5, 12 PM

Canada's week at Wimbledon has its highest point - winning the men's doubles championship. Bravo Vasek Pospisil (CAN) and Jack Sock (USA). #wimbledon2014


This is a fine essay especially all the negatives in the first paragraph. The premise and the broad conclusion to which all assented is that Paul was and remained in his ministry as apostle to gentiles a Jew. He did not renounce his identity as a member...

July 3, 6PM

Rebekah's mother and brother Laban are recorded in the story as giving Rebekah a blessing - may your seed possess the gate of those who hate them. I've been wondering what this means in view of the daily news we receive - whether concerning a certain off...
This quite impressive site from the Society of Biblical Literature is now available to the public. I have asked a question - I wonder which scholar will answer.

July 1, 6PM

Why does Abraham not want Isaac to marry a Canaanite? Is it, as Lawrence Schiffman suggests that they were too modern? Is G-d a conservative? Is modernity always problematic?  I think you can't have it both ways. Abraham was called out from his clan and... [Genesis] [Lectionary] [Singing the Bible] [translation]

June 29, 7PM

Just for fun I decided to finish Ecclesiastes 12 in the music. It's online in the usual place. It supported my laziness from my youth. There were several questions I did not want to address - so that many books could be written and much learning be a wear... [Ecclesiastes] [personal theology] [philosophy] [Singing the Bible]

June 28, 3PM

Next week we have a truncated Reader's Digest version of the second half of the story of getting a wife for Isaac. (Genesis 24) Now I'll tell you the truth - I have read this story before probably more than once, probably somewhat randomly, but never slow... [Lectionary] [philosophy] [post modernism] [reading strategies] [SBL journal] [Singing the Bible] [Spinoza]

June 23, 5PM

It is obvious that the Common Lectionary is designed to get people out of church in time for their lunch. (Um, isn't it?) So I am a whole week ahead of myself. I posted a bit on Abraham and the promised child a week early. Time then to think about what i... [Lectionary] [Singing the Psalter]

June 22, 10AM

Here's a little of the conversation of Abraham and his son, Isaac. Note how it is surrounded by the story - and they walked, the two of them, together. This lesson is yet another alternative lesson for today in the Revised Common Lectionary.  When there ... [Lectionary] [Singing the Bible]

June 19, 1PM

If the te'amim were punctuation, one might expect the signs to be the same if the same words were used in differing passages. (Though admittedly, I hardly ever punctuate poetry and prose the same way.) Nonetheless, recall Jeremiah 20:10 and its similarit... [Jeremiah] [Lectionary]


Now for something different. Jeremiah 20:7-13. In this lectionary passage, Jeremiah alludes to two psalms. The laughter and derision reflect the two words of Psalm 2:4. Jeremiah is at the butt end of ridicule from his own people. This is a contrast to ... [Jeremiah] [Lectionary] [Singing the Bible]

June 18, 12 PM

"and one's foes will be members of one's own household" Matthew 10:36. One of the things I wrestled with in the psalms is that the enemy is not 'out there' - it is 'in here'. My foes are within me, whether they are my own tendencies to do what i... [Lectionary]

June 10, 1PM

Trinity by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#34526)
Well, maybe I won't write that essay on Trinity. (As I wrote it, it disappeared word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, and even whole paragraphs, answers to questions no one was asking.) The lessons for this week are fundamental - Genesis 1... [Lectionary]

June 6, 9PM

“To forgive debts. To accept the past without asking for future compensation. To stop time at the present instant. This is also the acceptance of death...To harm a person is to receive something from him. What? What have we gained (and what will have to...

June 3, 4PM

Pentecost takes its name from 50. It is 7 weeks after Easter day. We have also now counted the Omer, and after 7 weeks (50 days) come to the feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15). Shavuot is for the offering of the first-fruits. It nearly corresponds to Pentec... [Lectionary]

June 1, 9AM

Jeff Carter has posted the May carnival here. Jeff has been very detailed and gives a taste of each post with its first few words. Nice touch. I am grateful for the lead off link to the music here. [Biblical Studies] [carnival]

May 28, 3PM

Easter is nearly over for this year, Year A. Somehow I have noticed it more this year, perhaps because I have started to read and think about the lectionary in advance of Sunday. Again this week there is no OT lesson, but there is a choice of three Psalms... [Lectionary]

May 25, 3PM

I have put a full PDF of Exodus 20 in the usual shared place here where there are accumulating hundreds of snippets of the music of the Old Testament. This one is unique (so far) in my hearing of the music embedded in the hand-signals. The current versi...


This is a delightful read from Jim Gordon of Living Wittily.

May 23, 10AM

The use of the te'amim in Exodus 20, the 10 commandments, is quite different from every other section of Scripture that I have looked at so far. There is a great density of ornamentation, a frequent use of two reciting notes on one syllable, and equally f... [Music of the Bible] [Vantoura]

May 21, 9AM

Last week, I found that the building of the new temple was a theme in the four lessons. It linked the old and the new. This week I wonder if I will be so lucky. Nothing jumps out at me in the first read-through. Paul is said not to have been too successf... [Israel as parable] [Lectionary]

May 19, 2PM

Does the pattern of the first phrase in the previous post recur in the Bible? There is at present no way to search for a musical phrase, i.e. a sequence of notes, or a sequence of te’amim without i...


This is a summary with a simple example of what the work of Suzanne Haik Vantoura means to me. If you were going to write a book on this, which passages of Scripture would you include?  Let’s begin with music. In the beginning of God’s creating of ... [Genesis] [Music of the Bible] [Singing the Bible] [the music project] [translation] [Vantoura]

May 15, 3PM

I don't usually write on 4 pre-selected texts at once, but of course I think about them on Sundays when that day rolls around, and sometimes delight in the connections, and sometimes not, depending on how grumpy I am in the morning. These texts are from t... [Lectionary]


Away for 7 days and 300 posts accumulate in my reader. I don't read these on my mobile and I deliberately did not take a computer to NYC. But some of them were good - and some of the good ones I won't catch up on - unless you tell me to. Here are a few th... [Lectionary] [personal theology]

May 14, 11AM

We're back from New York. Here are some pictures from around the city. The Winnipeg Symphony played at Carnegie Hall - a very fine performance - unique music, all Canadian. R. MURRAY SCHAFER Symphony No. 1 (US Premiere) DEREK CHARKE 13 Inuit Throat ... [flowers] [New York]

May 3, 12 PM

This long film is quite a lesson in how the body works and how wrong the food supply has been and continues to be these past 30 years. I was very surprised to see that fructose is a toxin. The only reason it is OK in fruits is that fruits have plenty of f...

May 1, 11AM

I find some dynamic equivalence neither dynamic nor equivalent, but I was just imagining how one might drive through a psalm with an earth mover.  Here's  Psalm 16 (I will never get out of Book 1). Alright, you want me to write, to gold-plate your love... [personal theology] [politics] [Psalms]

April 30, 9AM

Immediate thoughts on 'atonement'.  Why put 'atonement' in scare quotes? To recognize that every word we use, especially loaded words, is interpreted by us in our own inference engine - brain, culture, and language processed together in ways we are large... [personal theology]

April 29, 10AM

The atenach ^ is a sign of rest, in the music it is the subdominant. The music comes to a rest at that point. In traditional plainsong, there may be a 2 beat pause. It is rare that there is no atenach in the verse. I have noted only a few places so far w...


I had been wondering for 4 years where the name Yad Vashem had come from. I did not know that this phrase was in the Bible (and though I was wondering, I obviously didn't work at it). The use of Yad (hand) in this context combined with Shem (name - the v...

April 28, 1PM

As a demo for a friend, I illustrated the duplicated passage in Isaiah and Micah about swords and plowshares. Note how the music after the first phrase is identical in each of Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3 [Isaiah] [Singing the Bible]
As the width of a car is roughly equal to the width of a pair of horses, so the page width of a letter allows a musical bar of 24 beats on one line. How many beats can one sing for a single thought to be expressed? To date in my cursory review of musical... [Exodus 3] [Singing the Bible]

April 22, 3PM

The full text in Hebrew and English with an English and Hebrew underlay and also showing the cantillation symbols as deciphered by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura is now available at the shared location in PDF form. Who would want to sing or to interpret that ancie... [Singing the Bible] [Song of Songs]

April 20, 9AM

Hallelujah Christ is risen.

April 18, 10AM

It appears that my last post recapitulates Heidegger. If you can see this pdf, it explains the New Hermeneutic on the Psalms at 50. True to say also that my book uses this new hermeneutic. (Hermeneutics involves the way in which God's Word becomes clear ... [Mysticism] [personal theology]

April 17, 6PM

I still have a few notes on my memories, reaching back into a distant life that began in earnest in me some 40 years ago in my late twenties. Fearful, confused, yet responsible to my obligations, I began to learn about the one they called 'the' Anointed. ... [Mysticism] [personal theology]

April 16, 5PM

I find myself assigning the final verse to the chorus whether or not it is in the voice of the chorus. This is because I want no observers, but that all may identify in the unity of Zion, the Bride. For there is no exclusion in the love that is in the Son...

April 14, 12 PM

Behold, I tell you a mystery, ... So begins the great pre-Psalm 2, pre-Hallelujah chorus recitative by the bass in the Messiah by George Frederick Handel.   Well now - isn't that just a contradiction in terms? - I tell you a mystery. If it can be told t... [faith] [Mysticism] [personal theology]

April 12, 12 PM

I have rarely if ever written on the mystical. But perhaps the time is coming and now is when I must try. I have been reading a little on certain traumatic time warps - rather nice article here where he notes: And ultimately, of course, what religion is ...

April 11, 10AM

I have repaired the alignment of my 2010 translations (see sidebar). The translation in the music may differ as I play with the constraints imposed by the te'amim and a little more experience in the art. Though I said much there, there is not much need t... [Singing the Bible] [Song of Songs]

April 10, 4PM

I will be reading for the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, so I thought I would get a feel for the passage: Exodus 14:10-31 and Exodus 15:20-21. The music is here in pdf form. (Hebrew only.) Some may be interested in this University of Jordan Inaugural Newsl...

April 9, 4PM

The possibility of sharing and indeed adding files dynamically is coming along. Today I extended the routine to show the Hebrew so that you can directly see how it translates into the music. The text of Hosea 1 is available at this shared resource. I am v...

12 PM

Dodi - my beloved - what do we have here? A careful and slow read for you, dissembling nothing. Akiva calls this book the Holy of Holies. So not to be entered without that holiness that is itself unapproachable without death. Having died to the deeds of... [Singing the Bible] [Song of Songs]

April 8, 1PM

I have updated my easy cheat-sheet for the te-amim to include some names. The names are a complex problem, made far worse by the confusion of the signs as exegetical rather than musical (where the music guides the exegete.) But there is another large pro... [Music of the Bible] [the music project]

April 5, 4PM

So - is this combination of double pashta and zaqef qatan in the Song - as if it were 'prophetic'? (which of course it is - and an allegory? - and a reality underlying that allegory? All these -  but not to be entered lightly. As I said in my earlier pos... [ornaments] [Song of Songs]

April 4, 4PM

The paired pashta on consecutive syllables seems to be a particular prophetic motif in the music. It does not occur in the Psalms. In the examples I have so far, I found 13 in Nahum, several in Jonah, several in the Song, where it might represent a kiss ... [Music of the Bible]

April 3, 2PM

Can anyone tell me how an editor works when reading these ancient texts? Aleppo - third line is beginning of verse 4 Here is a typical modern online example of this verse - generally follows Leningrad codex. שֶׁשָּׁ֨ם עָל֪וּ שְׁבָ... [psalm music] [psalm snippets]


If you believe the te'amim are punctuation, then Psalm 140:12, the final sentence with the atnah in the middle of it, has its subject disjunct from its verb. In punctuation this would be silly. In music, it is just fine. Especially if you are used to a re... [psalm music] [psalm snippets]

March 31, 9PM

#temp #poetry table tr td { font-family: Calibri; font-size: 95%; line-height: 95%; padding : 4px; margin : 4px; border-left:1px solid gray; border-collapse:collapse; border-spacing:10px; } Łukasz Niesiołowski-Spanò questions if... [carnival] [Music of the Bible]

March 30, 5PM

The March (not the Spring!) ratings for the BS blogs are out - and Dust is number 16 - thank you readers - (Spring is not approaching in Brazil nor in Australia or New Zealand.) Tomorrow has of course already started in some places especially one who n... [carnival]

March 28, 11AM

Oh what can ail thee, knight at arms?  Well, it's that feeling that one is alone in one's enthrallment. Is there anyone out there with the time to look at Psalm 17 and its music with me?  This is of course one of 150 such pieces (or 1500). Think now, i... [Psalms] [the music project]

March 26, 4PM

World Vision has bowed to financial pressure. This reversal is bowing to the power of capital. It has nothing to do with repentance. I agree with Jim West's comment: "Spinelessness isn’t becoming to any beast but a worm." Joel Watts likewise t... [Matthew] [personal theology]

March 23, 2PM

One week to go for The March BS Carnival XCIX - that's Biblical Studies and a fleshly festival. It is already stuffed but do tell me here in a comment if you have a special request. Spread this around the world - I would like more representation from cor... [Biblical Studies] [carnival] [Worldwide.]

March 20, 11AM

In general, unless otherwise noted, a psalm is written to be sung to a syllabic pulse after the manner of plainchant. That is, syllables gather themselves together equally in ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, and so on, each group creating a single long p... [Music of the Bible] [Singing the Psalter]

March 17, 3PM

A review of Wrestling with God and Men, Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Steven Greenberg. I haven't posted much recently - working on the carnival - big carnival. But here is something I wrote over 8 years ago - c 2005. While there are m... [personal theology] [politics] [prejudice]

March 11, 7PM

The next carnival after this one (for April) needs a volunteer. Update - see below. Please contact Phillip Long (plong42, a account) if you want to volunteer to be a host for a carnival. It is a good discipline. The next carnival for March is... [carnival]

March 6, 6PM

I think it was nearly the very first time I ever went to Synagogue. It was a Sabbath morning, and an aged friend had asked me to take her there. I had been picking up sticks from an overnight storm in the early morning. And I got the call - so I said sure... [Singing the Bible]

March 4, 4PM

Back to the shalshelet. I have only the Psalms to search at present, but I wondered what the shalshelet would reveal if anything about its use and sense. The word is said to mean a 'chain' and seems clearly related to the number three. Haik-Vantoura inter... [ornaments] [psalm music]

March 3, 5PM

I now begin to have enough material to consider some aspects of the Scriptures from a musical point of view. Warning, I still have a small part of the whole, snippets of Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Samuel, and the minor prophets, and all - yes - all of... [Aleppo Codex] [Leningrad codex.] [personal theology] [politics] [Singing the Bible]

March 1, 1PM

The carnival has appeared here at Mosissimus Mose. In response to the request for hosts, I have volunteered to run the carnival here at Dust for March. Please leave your suggested posts in a comment or email me at dustcarnival at gmail dot com. I will b... [carnival]

12 PM

Music does not lend itself to a wordy analysis but I have produced nonetheless a few images of scores to see(!) if the repeated songs in the Psalter use similar tunes. In exitu Israel Psalm 114, original music per the inductive reasoning of Suzanne Haik... [Music of the Bible] [psalm music] [Singing the Psalter] [the music project] [Vantoura]

February 21, 11AM

Can you read an XML document on my drive? You can now download them to any music program you choose from my evolving list here: generated music XML. Also in that folder is my current PL/SQL conversion routine - undocumented. If you want help - ask. I wou...

February 19, 12 PM

So - what do you think of Psalm 12? How does the music carry it? Why is it where it is in the sequence of the Psalter? Psalms 9 and 10 have, somewhat like recalcitrant childen, chanted the splendor of Psalm 8. Psalm 11 follows with the fundamentals overt...

February 18, 7PM

I am readying the production line for the next project: creating an English underlay for the Hebrew melodies of the Psalms implicit in the te'amim. This is the process: First, I need to see several examples before I quite know how to approach even any on... [psalm music]

February 17, 2PM

I decided to do a slightly more complete job on 1 Samuel 2:1-10. The pdf for Hannah's song is here. And below the first page. In this version, the mode is 3 or effectively E major. The ornamentation is quite cheerful from beginning to end. A great improve... [Singing the Bible]

February 16, 11AM

This article at BLT makes me think about the interaction of music and Biblical studies. He puts words to thoughts I have had in hearing the Scriptures with the 'original' music. The music allows a reading that can undermine our first hearing of the word a...

February 15, 11AM

Well - I am still not inclined to study Esther in detail - such a bias! But I can produce the full score. It is not (yet) instantaneous. Chapter 1 is here in PDF.  I deem it highly unlikely that anyone is reading this or the detailed grammar and comments... [Esther] [Singing the Bible]

February 14, 10PM

Ancient Hebrew Grammar is posting comments on the grammar of Esther over the next three weeks - so can I keep up and see if the music - (even in this late writing) - will support whatever they seem to say. I failed to complete Esther some years ago - just... [Esther] [Singing the Bible]

February 13, 5PM

And here is the final segment of Jonah 4:6-11. I see I have omitted the English - O well: here it is And Yahweh God (triplet ornament) appointed a tender plant (qiqayon - gourd - unique use of this ornament in the tale) and made it come up over Jonah to... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]


Just how difficult is it to remember that Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days (in this tale of the reluctant prophet)?  Easy.  Just how difficult is it to remember that Jonah is a first-class pain in chapter 4 where we hear the reason he ran... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]

February 11, 3PM

shows the missing silluq in the WLC I have spent few days developing a version of Psalm 32 in English. There are significant differences from the version that Suzanne Haik Vantoura developed. Her version uses the Letteris edition of the Hebrew text. This... [Psalms] [Singing the Psalter]


Here we are again at this tale of Jonah - only two more posts to go after this. The role of the king here is remarkable. He calls for repentance from the whole community including the animals. Talk about being implicated in the sin of the world! He acts p... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]

February 10, 12 PM

I have been testing my automated routine for producing the music directly from the Hebrew text of the Westminster Leningrad Codex. It has been revealing to me. Of course, I must refine the routine when I meet rules of the language that I have not taken in...

February 7, 4PM

Get ready for the prayer. Keep in mind those ornaments - they will recur. If you missed chapter 1, the beginning is here.  Follow the links on the right of the page or swipe your mobile right (or left) to navigate the site. What do we learn in the belly ... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]

February 6, 8PM

The last segment of chapter 1. I wonder if one could sing a larger prophet like the entire Isaiah. The music would be an aid to memorization. What do we see in this last section? Notice how the soul is painted with the same ornaments as in verse 12 on li...


Being forced to sing this story in smaller segments gives me more time to think about it in both languages. There are so many small details highlighted by the music even over and above considering the repeating words, itself a rewarding study. Note hear ...

February 5, 6PM

That first section was incomplete till this.  Does the music support subdivisions? This is something we may observe.  My original subdivisions were by word patterns - but there are so many sometimes I think it foolish to select them (even though this is... [Singing the Bible]
The drama continues - but Jonah has not gotten far enough down yet. He will hit bottom at the roots of the mountains. First he needs to get the short straw. That's where this segment of the story takes us. 4 but Yahweh hurled a great wind onto the sea ... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]


All the books of the Bible (Old Testament that is) have musical signs. I am going to test a few for fun. We could call it reading the Bible with music. Starting first with Jonah. This is a great story with life and death in a fish, a thinking ship, and m... [Jonah] [Singing the Bible]


Though 1 Samuel 2 is poetry, the cantillation marks are those of the 'prose' books. Here Hannah sings her joy in the birth of Samuel and in the fulfillment of her vow. This song is imitated by Mary in Luke 2. (various translations at the link). The music ...

February 4, 11AM

There are a few psalms that I have spent a long time on recently - each of them a gift: Psalm 3 and Psalm 18:20-25. (Long time = 3 weeks to 3 months considering the text in many personal and technical contexts - somehow they never age.) Here they are in ... [Music of the Bible]


Westminster Leningrad codex Asheri - happy  I can see the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) here in Unicode - If you go here and type in Psalms 1, you will get this result as the first word: 1:1אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי־ The coding on this site is very ...

January 30, 4PM

It appears that some recent work has found a health-giving relationship here: For example, Mackenzie's campaign for Khama III was part of his 30-year effort to protect African land from white settlers. Mackenzie was not atypical. In China, missionaries w... [politics and the psalms]

January 23, 1PM

Introduction to the concept, including the music for the section of Psalm 18 below, is here. The main problem is the association of note with syllable. By the testimony of Mosheh Ben Asher himself, the Masoretes received the te’amim from the second-cen...


There is an article in the recent Journal for Biblical Studies that surprised me. Margaret Mowczko has written a detailed post on it. All the links are there. For anyone interested in the Adam and Eve myth on our dismal situation with respect to broken re...

January 22, 12 PM

I have been thinking about this project for a year and a half. And I have now begun. I have some questions - as I had at the beginning of my last project. Consider the following draft of Psalm 3.  Please help me out with some comments, here or on Faceboo...

January 17, 7PM

2nd Workshop on Language Resources and Evaluation for Religious Texts (LRE-Rel2) 31st May 2014 (afternoon session): Harpa Conference Center, Reykjavik, Iceland After a successful launch at LREC 2012, we are organising a second workshop on Language Resour...

January 15, 7PM

I wonder how two words could be so specific and so important. This pair of words suggests that Trinitarian theology arises from exegesis. I was serious in my rendering of faces in my poetic translation of the psalms (Seeing the Psalter 2013). I was closer...

January 14, 2PM

I remember when IBM Selectric typewriters were the latest thing. It was even possible to justify a line of typing with the latest model. I myself had learned to type in the 50s on a portable manual Underwood. The older model I had frequently jammed. The n... [Septuagint] [translation]

January 8, 6PM

So someone is reading Psalm 58. This is a psalm we never read as children because it was not in our Psalter. (The Canadian Prayer Book, 1959, did not contain Psalm 58.) Does this Psalm contradict Ezekiel where it is written that God does not desire the de...

January 4, 2PM

I am reviewing the several blogs and essays I have written online these past 18 years. Yes - since 1996 when 'online' was a toddler. As often, I am stopped by my correspondence with the mysterious Iyov. Our initial conversation is here as a response to m... [Iyov] [John Mason Neale] [personal theology]

January 1, 11AM

The carnival is out here. What new will arise in this new year? [carnival]

December 29 2013, 2PM

The year in review. 2013 was an important year as can be seen from my newsletter here. Here is a summary of 'popular' posts on Dust from 2013 (for the list of all time favorites, see the sidebar). My strategy for seeing the Greek of the NT in the Psalms ...

December 22, 4PM

In February I posted on today's passage from Isaiah 7. This morning, as well as reading from the not-so-bad-this-time Revised English Bible, I also sang the snippet on the Almah ha-rah in Hebrew as part of the reading. There is an interesting pair of trip... [Isaiah] [Music of the Bible]

December 20, 11AM

This is lovely - should be seen by all.

December 19, 6PM

I am reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. It could have been written by my now deceased brother-in-law, Dr. Gib Allen, chief surgeon at the Belleville General in Ontario, later after his wife, Barbara (my sister, of course) had in 1967 the first...

12 PM

For those doing critical studies on the historical Bob, HB for short (Winnie the Pooh fans will get the allusion), annual Christmas letters going back to 1978, with some aporia, are available here on this very old site. The latest for 2013 can be found di... [Christmas newsletters]

December 16, 12 PM

My psalms were open at this chapter. I had stopped reading yesterday at part 3. This is a nice coincidence given my last post. Read 2 psalms a day. They are like vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. D of course is the letter for this section of the acrostic. ...


How my education worked - quickly - hah! My degree is in Mathematics and Physics. What am I doing as an old student of the Bible? Why would I read the Bible? In my teens, my brother and I used to argue on the existence of God. I have to admit, I was not ...

December 14, 12 PM

I have in all humility (!) been reviewing my all-time favorite posts in the blog world. Quite unexpectedly, the all-time favorites on my blog are some of the posts containing my 2010 translation of Ecclesiastes (Qohelet), which I made up in the style of... [Ecclesiastes]

December 13, 12 PM

I probably won't buy the book by Gordon Wenham, but there are a few cool comments in this podcast about his new book, The Psalter Reclaimed. For a series of lectures on Speech-Act theory, listen to these podcasts. They were my driving companions in random...

December 12, 4PM

There we have it - what will I do next? Seeing the Psalter is my thesis and the Course for the Healing of the Nations is my oral defense.


How about that! My experience with this playlist is not 100%. There seem to be buffering problems with You-Tube - but perhaps it won't cause you any trouble. Maybe there's a limit to what you can watch in a day. At least I have the whole series of 14 vi... [personal theology] [politics and the psalms] [psalm music] [psalms course]

December 11, 5PM

Session 6 version 2 has just been uploaded - I hope you can see it on the public list of videos. I have removed to private all videos that I have replaced. I see you-tube has a playbook - must learn how to use it. At the present if you want to hear the mu... [psalms course]


Writing on Philo and John, In the beginning was the word, Daniel Boyarin demonstrates thoughts akin to hypostasis in Jewish Synagogue tradition prior to early Christian teaching on the Trinity. Available as pdf here. This makes the Trinity a little less ...
Hear the space between the notes.

December 5, 10AM

Have Psalter will travel.I have laid out my Psalter with the poetry phrase by phrase, line by line, in Hebrew and English so that the reader (especially I myself) may be able to read and study the poems in Hebrew as poetry. With respect to technique, my t...

December 2, 1PM

Well, I relented and bought a copy - in fact two copies of this book, The Case for the Psalms - by NT Wright, light though it is, scarcely more than a few ounces. Light - yet touching on a serious and, as Wright himself agrees, a preposterous topic - that...

November 28, 9AM

For in a Discourse of our present civill warre, what could seem more impertinent, than to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny? Yet the Cohaerence to me was manifest enough. For the Thought of the warre, introduced the Thought of the deliv...

November 23, 4PM

I thought it would be fun to show you my latest very short film - shorter even than Tim's 5 minute Bible. (It's not Dr Who nor is it Nadal and Djokovic playing tennis on a boat in Patagonia). Just a brief on the new slide for my next class in the Psalms ...

November 22, 12 PM

Violence in the Psalms? What about the NT? What about consequences today for ill-behaviour? Yes there are consequences. We are not into cheap grace or dissembling as are certain prominent persons in my country at present, whether they admit it or not. He...

November 14, 11AM

Violence by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#19907)
War is the struggle against holiness, which will end when men submit to be taught by the saints, and to be subject to God. (Neale, Vol 2) That question, so obvious, has been bothering me for 2 days now. Why should we read, study, or sing the psalms in lit... [John Mason Neale] [personal theology]

November 13, 1AM

It doesn't matter how well prepared you are, there are always unexpected things. My eyes are fading so I could hardly see the screen in the light in the church - curious - and slightly ironic. But we got through. In sessions 1 and 2, I have made all the t...

November 12, 6PM

Here's a poem I wrote 6 years ago based on Psalm 107 - I had completely forgotten of course.


Bob - you haven't written much lately No I haven't but I have listened to a few good lectures. This one by Tom Wright on the Psalms is worth the hour. This one by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on covenant is equally good - could take two passes at it. Covenant is...

November 11, 11AM

Disqus by Bob MacDonald via Dust (#19632)
Hmmm, I have installed Disqus on this blog - hope it works without too many surprises

November 10, 5PM

It has been a while since I used the AMA GX-LEAF Diagramming tool as a diagram surface. I have been using it in so many ways as a means of creating web forms. It is still a fabulous diagramming surface. I have been thinking for months about the Psalter a...

November 8, 3PM

I was asking today about reconciliation between Jew and Christian. My own hesitant question is here. On the way, another blog took on the question - did Jesus learn. And in that question - answered directly in Hebrews 5:8, the Hebrew translation reconcile...

October 31, 7PM

I am now reading Nahlah Ayed's A Thousand Farewells. It's more than just no-nonsense coverage of a difficult part of the world as this review notes. It is intensely personal. The autobiographical component is gripping and is an essential part of her cove...

October 30, 5PM

Psalms course coming up in Victoria beginning Nov 12 - details here. Outline here.

October 29, 9PM

Hugh MacLennan portrays character as well as anyone I have read. Such writing gives one hope for language - indeed for the world. Towards the end of The Two Solitudes, his old seafarer, Yardley, ponders on why it is that 'they know not what they do', Jes...

October 28, 7PM

This is a nice summary of alternative views of atonement. I think it has traction.


Selected recurring words - Psalm 119 words recurring between 11 and 20 times Word 12345VsRoot דרך the way ░ 1דרך בדרכיו in his ways ░ 3דרך דרכי my ways ░ 5דרך בלמדי when I learn ░ 7למד למדני tea...

October 26, 4PM

Roger's pass Madness to drive - but I got here in three days with a stop at Sorrento where I left two copies of my book in the hopes that a course or two in the interior might be the result. Then to Calgary for a visit with my brother and his wife. Then ...

October 21, 12 PM

I read my Psalter. The first Hallelujah in Psalm 104 fills my cup. I read my spam folder and I realize just how much other junk there is reflecting a desire for deception and self-interest. Maybe the spammers are empty.

October 20, 1PM

What do people really need? What do we need to know? This light of mine, this diurnal firefly that is awake by day and fitful by night, running the gamut of self-doubt, isolation, company, family, illness, fear, fullness and joy – what is its true need?...

October 18, 5PM

Um - how does one take a picture? My new Blackberry Z10 onscreen keyboard is absolutely brilliant. It knows what I want to say before I have said it! But my fingers are too fat to find out how to pick the presented word. I mean brilliant - unutterably an...

October 17, 10AM

Notes - there are many connections between Matthew 5 and Luke 6 and the Psalms, far more than might first appear if you are reading in Greek or English. First the raw data. Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:20-26. Pick an English version - any version. You are a...

October 13, 12 PM

When Callie was a baby too here׳s to me says Oli (pun intended) עלִי Well - Oliver Michael Robert MacDonald  was welcomed into the world at St Barnabas Church this morning through the prayers for thanksgiving offered for his birth in Winnipeg ju...


For you who reason by evolution, by time, by cause and effect, you may see that to give one's life for the life of the world is an anti-evolutionary statement. While evolution tweets the survival of the fittest, God in the life of Jesus asks for the prote...

October 11, 1PM

A child is born in Bethlehem - Al-le-e-e-lu-ia Al-le-e-e-lu-ia Well Christmas may be coming but today for Bethlehem - read Winnipeg. Simon and Jen have already shared their announcement on Facebook. And we just had a Skype conversation - technology is q...

October 9, 4PM

For the ‘Healing of the Nations’ A Course on the Psalms To form a merciful crew using ‘leaves that do not wither’ <!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-...

October 7, 9AM

Nah - don't believe doctrine, believe face to face and laugh. Here is Psalm 58, my reading for the day my grandson is overdue by nearly two weeks: Estranged are the wicked from the womb, they wander out of the belly speaking a lie! I wonder if I could im...
Just to highlight a new book by NT Wright - here is a note about it by David Koyzis. I have not read much Wright but Diana was impressed by his scholarship while we were in St Andrews at the International SBL meeting last July. I have read a bit since. H...

October 3, 9AM

I get something from this reading of Noah.  It is a timely prayer of rebuke for those who are playing at stupid in American politics. If I were to quote a psalm it would be Psalm 38 - and that the so called t-party lunatic fringe might be shamed.  Out o...

October 2, 10AM

How does one really know what one believes? Is that even important or should one just get on with it?  Well - perhaps we do both things. But somehow, we have to mature ... and if you're like me, there's also the business of subverting others, especially ...

September 30, 4PM

My course on the psalms has taken shape - I have learned to upload videos myself! and I even put together a playlist so you can find the psalm to be heard at the beginning of each session. (But who would use such things when ads are inserted into them?) I...

September 29, 1PM

There are currently several videos available and in production related to Seeing the Psalter. The first was given live at the conference on Digital Media and Sacred Text in London at The Open University in June 2013. It is here on you-tube. It had also b...

September 27, 7PM

Geometry trumps endless math - the Amplituhedron Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And unitarity holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction mu...

September 26, 9AM

Yes - pray for your enemies. This is a description of the wicked from Psalm 36 - very curious this oracle... My attention was drawn to the word 'divided'.  We are 'divided' against ourselves. So the horror at the mall, the site of the middle class consum... [politics and the psalms] [personal theology]

September 25, 8AM

I am not a crowd - but please spread the word to your friends - let's see if we can get a new album from this quartet.  I heard two of them in Cambridge on my last trip to the UK. Not my usual haunts - but definitely worthwhile.

September 23, 3PM

I think this could be run remotely or with other instructors than me (obviously a different flavour). But here is a full PP drafted - 54 slides at present over 6 2 hour sessions. Could do 5 or 6 consecutive evenings or 5 or 6 weeks in a row - but need tim...

September 16, 9AM

I think it is vital that the psalms be explored face to face. But some of this six week course may also find its way into video... Here's my current outline. Feedback welcome. Venue is undecided at the moment.  I would happily run this onsite for anyone...
I tried to watch the Psalms intro here, but got stuck in advertisements. With perseverance, I got more than the 42 seconds. It is a fun intro, somewhat light on detail. I wrote a heavier one here.

September 11, 10AM

I was introduced yesterday at UVic to Marion Partington through the CSRS fellow, Michael Hadley. By the time you read this I will have finished her book, If You Sit Very Still. I am not going to review this book - just to say - get a hold of it and read ...

September 9, 11AM

This is a summary post of other posts on the subject. The consensus seems to be that a limited strike is not possible. There are probably hundreds of articles out there. And I only read a few like this one from the OUP blog. Because I have surgical strik... [politics and the psalms] [personal theology]

September 7, 10AM

Think again. Yet forty days and Nineveh will be changed ... We have been given a second time to pray for the peoples of Syria. The psalms provide unlimited models for prayer. On the turn of the year, I suggested Psalm 90 and it need not stop there. Just ...

September 6, 3PM

People have asked me 'how' I wrote Seeing the Psalter. There is a brief 4-pager here. I could write a book on it. But one part I have never shared is that for almost every panel in the screens in the brief 4-pager, I wrote a lot of code like the stuff be...

September 4, 12 PM

John Hobbins writes on Facebook Often - not always - our military intervention, or the mere threat of it (and you can't have a credible threat without a proven willingness to use one's capabilities), has saved lives and secured peace sooner rather than l... [Psalms] [personal theology]

September 1, 9AM

The August BS Carnival is hosted by Brian LePort here. There are some good reads including several posts that I suggested (and one of mine).

August 24, 4PM

I have been reading with great delight Psalms through the Centuries by Susan Gillingham. This book summarizes in just over 300 pages the reception history of the psalms under five broad headings:  commentaries and introductions,  devotional and instru...

August 21, 9AM

Nice place to start, eh? Maybe you have not read Psalm 109 recently. In some Psalters, it is truncated to 15 verses with the guts removed, Hebrew verses 6 to 20. The situation is in fact far more than this. I have just read the section on Liturgy and Psa... [Psalms] [personal theology]

August 20, 12 PM

I have been tossing about some ideas on a theology of the Psalms. Some questions occurred to me who are the players and actors in the Psalms? who rules? what is the city? what is the produce, and where is the fruitfulness that we might seek? More impo...

August 19, 11AM

Google + comments on this blog have all disappeared since I have reverted to Blogger comments. Google's motto was 'do no evil'. In the case of comments, they have failed to do good. Sorry about conversations that are now lost. But there is no technical so...

August 14, 10AM

At great risk of displaying my foolishness, I am stimulated by two posts from people I have never met in person to form a statement of faith that expresses something. Each post asks "Where should a statement of faith begin?" The first that I read is here&... [personal theology]

August 12, 6PM

Detail of fol. 135r, illustrating Psalm 77. This is the Eadwine Psalter, the first translation of the Psalter into Old English - let's see... hmmm not very useful The Eadwine Psalter The Anglo-Catalan is more useful and colourful. See here for some ...

August 11, 10AM

Or how long can I keep silent when reading? re Terrien, (Terrien, Samuel. (2003). The Psalms, Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary.) I remain mystified by his strophic structure. His notes like 3-2 3-2 3-4 etc are not explained or linked to any ...

August 10, 10AM

Robert Saxton is footnoted in Susan Gillingham's reception history of Psalm 137 - a hard hitting section of the book Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms. Particularly interesting is the second of those three videos on The Wandering Jew, a radio ...

August 7, 12 PM

Whoa - Bob - too big a title - and you are supposed to be reading. Yes, I am reading and listening (with half an ear) to George Caird, and I just found his short commentary on St Luke (Penguin Books 1963) which I think I will reread. In the introduction...

August 6, 2PM

I am not writing (!) I will spend a month in my discernment period, reading and listening. Here's the reading list so far - help me add to it if you like. Terrien, A strophic and theological commentary on the Psalms (not my favorite but I am giving him ...

July 31, 9AM

Bosco Peters has continued his posts on the creed here. This comment of mine may be too large, so I have posted it here as well. It may appear on his - but I cannot tell. I began with my brief understanding of Mary: Mary represents our yes to God that Ch... [personal theology]

July 30, 11PM

Do numbers work with texts? I persevere (for a while). When you have a theory and a poem does not conform to the theory, it sometimes means you need to find some words to add to the poem to support the theory. I am suspicious of this number thing. But th... [key verses] [Labuschange]


Labuschange and I are bound to disagree on this one. My recurrence table shows that verse 3 is without recurrence. That makes it stand out. Children, each of you, how long will you humiliate my glory? your love empty?  your seeking a lie? Selah ... [key verses]

July 29, 7PM

Y'all know that I have studied the psalms a little. I don't do it for magic. I was once asked if I thought the patterns I was finding were there by magic. Simple answer is no. Don't need magic. (Faith is not magic but rather a simple expression of both kn... [key verses]

12 PM

There are a lot of posts related to the World Youth Day, and even a CBC article on the news about RC and 'Evangelical'. Here is a comment I left on Bosco Peters' Liturgy blog - a great blog. I think the comment got lost in the ether so I repeat it here. ...

July 28, 2PM

It's pretty hard to beat today's psalm for beauty. For the sake of example, I have removed several recurring words. The result shows a different poetic strategy to the circular patterns observable in other psalms. Here we have a progressive and climax see... [memorizing] [key verses]

July 27, 1PM

Help - a plea for some more input on the music - The not just anybody means someone who is a musician, knows about cantillation practice, maybe a theologian too... A draft of an article for an online journal is here - it is on the music implicit in the t...

July 25, 3PM

I am not surprised that circles aren't everything. Sometimes it is just a unique word, a word that seems out of place in the psalm that makes it stick in the memory. I am going to do Psalm 2 right away (no, I am not in a hurry) because the second psalm be... [memorizing] [key verses]


Having truncated my earlier series on memorization, do I dare begin another?  If I did, I think it must be one that takes its time.  All too often from 2010 to 2013 I have been in a hurry.  So no hurry.  But must begin at the beginning... [memorizing] [key verses]

July 23, 7AM

I worked seven years to be able to read and understand the article on Psalm 1 by C. L. Seow in Volume 132, No 2 of the Journal of Biblical Literature. What a delight this morning to begin to read such a lovely piece of work.  Its title is: An Exquisi...

July 22, 9PM

The origin and first use of poetical language are undoubtedly to be traced into the vehement affections of the mind. For what is meant by that singular frenzy of poets, which the Greeks, ascribing to divine inspiration, distinguished by the appellation of...

July 21, 7PM

I have been looking at a close reading and interpretation of Psalm 88 by Anthony Pyles of McMaster on academia. I always wonder if the approach using keywords - words in the psalm that repeat, i.e. they have the same Hebrew letters or stem - is a hel... [Psalms]

July 18, 8AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. עַל נַהֲרוֹת בָּבֶל137:1By the rivers of Babel אוֹדְךָ בְכָל לִבִּי138:1I will give you thanks with all my he... [Psalms] [memorizing]

July 17, 8AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Ask yourself also - what is(are) the central verse(s) of each psalm? אֶל יְהוָה בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי120:1To יהוה when... [Psalms] [memorizing]

July 16, 9AM

I met a man in Britain whose father had a PSA (prostate specific antigen) reading of 4960 - yes that is in the thousands. My own was about 30 when my cancer (Gleason scale 10 - the max) was diagnosed. This man's father still had his PSA reduced to below 1... [cancer]


In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Ask yourself also - what is(are) the central verse(s) of each psalm? This section picks up after the first acrostic of Book 5 and leads to the second, th... [Psalms] [memorizing]

July 15, 2PM

As usual my comment went to spam. I should make lights with all the canned meat containers that I generate. Here was my comment: What should a 'Christian' learn? Each should learn how to live - .e.g the fear of the Lord, the knowledge of good and evil (P...


As a strategy for memorization, I suggested a game. Tell me in a comment your favorite verse for a psalm. The critical verse for each psalm is not, however, necessarily the famous verse, but rather the one that is surrounded by the words that are repeated...


In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. The series concentrates, as was the practice in earlier times in Latin, on the 'first' verse of each psalm. Ask yourself also - what is(are) the central ... [Psalms] [memorizing]

July 14, 8AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Ask yourself also - what is(are) the central verse(s) of each psalm? In this post we consider Book 4 as a whole. אֲדֹנָי מָעוֹן אַתָ... [Psalms] [memorizing]

July 13, 11AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter.  Having come halfway, it should be evident that the strategy of 'first' verses is a failure - on two counts: it assumes we can identify the signifi... [Psalms] [memorizing]


We began our UK journey with a conference in London and the Open University where I had been invited to speak on Seeing the Psalter. This conference will lead me to write some articles... We continued with a week in Cambridge from where I had posted on t...

July 4, 1PM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. In this post we reach the end of Book 2. Two psalms, 66 and 67, each without inscription to a named individual, reflect on harvest. These are in the cen... [Psalms] [memorizing]

June 21, 5AM

see the flowers from Cambridge Botanical Garden here - it's easy to see where my influence comes from. Seems to be no way to share this in Blogger - and by the way Doug Chaplin is writing again - worth the effort to read.

June 20, 1PM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. We have come to a series of 10 psalms each of which is marked as 'of David'. חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים56:2Be gracious to me O God חָנֵּנ... [Psalms] [memorizing]

June 13, 8AM

Here is one of the changes: St John the Divine will have a new rector after 2 or is it 3 years of interim appointments - read this story from Alastair McCollum on leaving England for Canada here. Others... St Barnabas is looking for a new organist and ch...

June 9, 3PM

While browsing Susan Gillingham's book on the Psalms through the Centuries for the Psalms of Yared (of the Ethiopian tradition), another strategy for memorization came to me - name a favorite verse for each psalm. I am quite sure that my old memory, fadin...

June 6, 9AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Of course these strategies have to be combined. Others include singing, circling and drawing the structures, and so on. This post brings us to psalm 50,... [Psalms] [memorizing]

June 4, 4PM

O the sweet knots of metaphor to be tied and untied in a lifetime

June 1, 9AM

Here is the May 2013 carnival at Jeff Carter's blog. I note at the beginning that I haven't been following Experimental Theology for a while - but Richard Beck's take on Joshua as a record of failure is a good one and his conclusion that the problem ... [carnival]

May 29, 2PM

Darkness and light by a tree in blossom A B&B outside Billings on the Yellowstone river futility? - no Qohelet - gift rather One might imagine first the second law of thermodynamics or in the words of Yeats, Things Fall Apart (also the title of a boo...

May 28, 5PM

Friends and all who come by this way, here is a half-hour presentation. It's me talking to a computer.  Someday I hope we will be face to face in a workshop as I have done at a high school, at a cathedral, and at universities. You could call this th...


These sinister sounding words are the gobbledygook of cancer. Here is the study, the experience, and the decision to be made.  When does one stop? Make me know יהוה my end and the measure such as it is, of my days let me know how finite I am! (P...

May 27, 9AM

We'll spend two weeks in Scotland soon but probably not in Glasgow. AKMA has a winner here worth the reading Mathematicians contemplate infinities all the time; they’ve put in their ten thousand hours of preparation. Musicians already understand that ...

May 23, 9AM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Book 2 begins with new language, new inscriptions, and a series of three laments which could be considered one poem. כְּאַיָּל תַּעֲר... [Psalms] [memorizing]

May 22, 11AM

We have just returned from a 7100 km book tour by car - really! Over the past month I have presented the ideas in the book, Seeing the Psalter, to high-school students, an adult education group, Hebrew professors, musicians, friends, and family.... [Psalms] [memorizing]

May 13, 6AM

If you are in London on June 17th and want to register for a conference on Digital Media and Sacred Text, I will be speaking that morning on Seeing the Psalter at the Open University - programme is here.  For more information on the book see here. I ...

May 11, 2PM

I found it easier to convert this to html using Word 10 rather than Word 2013.  The content of the graph was developed with Word 2013 and Excel. The Sky drive was unusable. Microsoft informed me that my password would be visible. This is not a s... [Psalms]

May 9, 5PM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. We have only a few poems remaining in Book 1, a book in which all the poems except 4 are inscribed with the name David. Of the four, Psalm 10 has no in... [Psalms] [memorizing]

April 25, 5PM

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. The first has to do with hearing the first few words of a psalm (not always unique). Along with this is the observing of a story line in the sequence of psal... [Psalms] [memorizing]

April 15, 8AM

This is the last of the series, (for the moment) on Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture. Of Cyril, (c 378-444), Childs comments on the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture according to Cyril, that precisely ... [personal theology] [Isaiah]
I have returned my books to the library for a rest. But I must give you at least a briefest of summaries continuing the series, on Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture. Eusebius of Caesarea (c 260-340) is best kno... [personal theology] [Isaiah]

April 13, 10AM

Y'all know of course that Arabic and Hebrew are cognate languages. Many Arabic and Hebrew words are the same. The prepositions and pronouns behave similarly, and verbal forms are not too dissimilar. E.g. your house: Modern Standard Arabic certainly cont... [Arabic]

April 12, 9AM

There is an exploration about God and violence here. In order to keep 'inspiration', the writer, Jeremy Myers, has to invoke a bit of double-think. That God inspired the error in Scripture. I agree that this gets around the problem but what does it mean ... [personal theology]

April 10, 9AM

The Psalter is a poetic record of a story - of an invitation (1-2), a king-poet-musician-beloved named David (whose psalms dominate Book 1 - 3 to 32, 34 to 41 and who has at least 1 psalm in every book),  a people who are in exile but who continue i... [Psalms] [memorizing]

April 6, 11AM

How does one see patterns? Are they really there? Or are they an accident? What this pattern analysis does is to see if the Hebrew has any particular shape and then to see if the Greek (or any other translation) uses the same repetition, or at least res... [Isaiah]

April 3, 11AM

In English, of course, we have many synonyms for appeal: call, listen, lend an ear, bend an ear, ask, supplicate, cry out, cry for help. And lots more that one could find with an online thesaurus.  Similarly in Hebrew there are several related words.... [Psalms] [personal theology]

April 2, 11AM

In this series, I am looking at Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture.  Origen focuses our lenses on the mystery that is X. (If you are not sure what X is or have forgotten, read the first post in the series.) No ma... [personal theology] [Isaiah]

April 1, 7PM

March 2013 Carnival is posted - with thanks to Phillip Long who has kindly noted a couple of this month's posts on Dust.  The pictures of Russians climbing the pyramids are quite a marvel - even if they shouldn't have done it. [carnival]

March 30, 11AM

I say whew - because my title was stuck on Hebrew Keyboard! O Chrome.  And again since this is a very difficult task I am trying on.  I have been playing around with a very difficult problem - assigning all of the 19584 distinct words in the ...

March 26, 5PM

Over the last 7 years I have worked daily with the Hebrew text of the psalms. It has been a long slow learning process - and just because one publishes a book, the process does not stop.  In fact, publishing the book is a critical step in learning. A... [Psalms] [memorizing]


Trinity is a loaded word. Robert Oppenheimer is said to have suggested the name based on a poem of John Donne SINCE I am comming to that Holy roome,  Where, with thy Quire of Saints for evermore,  I shall be made thy Musique; As I come  ... [Psalms] [personal theology]

March 22, 4PM

These two closely constructed acrostics have something to say about the relationship of God to the human. By their numbers, you know that these psalms follow the inimitable Psalm 110.  Psalm 110 is enigmatic in the extreme and is used as a puzzle by ... [Psalms] [personal theology]

March 20, 4PM

When I first began to study the psalms closely in August 2006, I scarcely knew where I was going. What was the OT that I should pay attention?  What would the study of a single OT book do to me?  In those days, as I translated each new psalm, so... [psalms as judgment] [personal theology]

March 17, 5PM

In this series, I am looking at Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture. His chapter on Clement of Alexandria and Isaiah is very short - only 4 pages. But he focuses on one verse in Isaiah: 7:9. The verse ... [Music of the Bible] [personal theology] [Isaiah]

March 16, 2PM

In this series, I am looking at Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture. How soon can I get past Irenaeus, the most important theologian of the 2nd century?  According to Childs, he stands in the tradition of Ju... [Music of the Bible] [personal theology] [Isaiah]

March 11, 8AM

The full 15 verses of the oracle (1-15) are rich in recurrence. The 29 repeated words account for 83 of 179 words in the Hebrew. The section formatted in prose rather than poetry (in my old Jerusalem Bible) has a higher recurrence rate: 27 words ac... [Isaiah]

March 7, 2PM

Bosco Peters posts on the meaning of life - 42. Anyway - 42 is 6 x 7. And 6 is the number of the human, 7 the number of completeness. So 42 represents the complete human. What then is the nature of completeness in the Psalms? The word occurs frequently, ... [Psalms] [personal theology]

March 4, 4PM

The final five psalms 146-150 are a concatenation of praise. How does one work out a mnemonic so these psalms can be recited as one slips off into sleep? Counting psalms is as good a way to get to sleep as counting sheep. I scarcely get beyo... [Psalms] [memorizing] [personal theology]


This post tests the claim that there is a 12 deep set of concentric circles in Isaiah 14:4-20. This claim is made in JBL 131, no.4 (2012) 643, The Cryptic Meaning of the Isaiah 14 Mashal, by Nissim Amzallag and Mikhal Avriel. If there are 12 concentr... [Isaiah]


Psalm 5 is one of the personal psalms of David in the first collection (3-32,34-41) each of them with the inscription 'of David'. Psalm 5 is one to be feared, because it precedes Psalm 6 (and Psalm 6 is there - to be imprinted on the memory - compare Psal... [Psalms] [personal theology]