He is commemorated as "one of the best linguists in the world." He was a student, and afterwards a fellow, of Trinity College, Cambridge, and King's Professor of Hebrew. He was actively employed in the preliminary arrangements for the Translation, and appears to have stood high in the confidence of the King. Much dependence was placed on his surpassing skill in the oriental tongues. But his death, which took place in May, 1605, disappointed all such expectations; and is said to have considerably retarded the commencement of the work. Some say that his death was hastened by his too close attention to the necessary preliminaries. His stipend had been but small, and after many troubles, and the loss of his wife, the mother of a numerous family, he was well provided for by Dr. Barlow, that he might be enabled to devote himself to the business of the great Translation. He died of a quinsy, after four days' illness, leaving eleven orphans, "destitute of necessities for their maintenance, but only such as God, and good friends, should provide." He was author of a Latin exposition of five of the minor Prophets, and of a work on chronology. Dr. Pusey, of Oxford, says, that Lively, "whom Popcoke never mentions but with great respect, was probably, next to Popcoke, the greatest of our Hebraists."