Polish language series: Rdz 3, upadek pierwszych ludzi

In Rdz 3, or the third chapter of the book of Genesis, you will read about upadek pierwszych ludzi (the fall of the first people), where the first man and woman fall into a state of guilty disobedience before God. The masculine Polish noun upadek is used to refer to the fall (of man). You will recall that pierwszy means first. The masculine plural ludzie means people; its genitive form is ludzi. The genitive plural pierwszych ludzi means of the first people.

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Polish language here (Rdz 1). In your study of Polish, you will use the Biblia Tysiąclecia as your source text. You can read the text of this Bible entirely online.

Before you begin your study of Rdz 3, you must access the verses on biblia.deon.pl below:

Consult text only

Consult text and audio

Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

In addition to the audio linked above, you will also enjoy the audio in the video below. It cannot be played outside of YouTube; to go to YouTube and listen to it, click here. Rdz 3 begins at 14:43 and ends at 20:00.

Werset 1

  • wąż (m.), snake
  • bardziej, more
  • przebiegły, cunning, sly
  • niż, than
  • czy, introduces a yes-no question
  • rzeczywiście, indeed, really

You have in fact already encountered a number of the usages appearing in this first verse, but not necessarily in the forms that you find them here. You will have a chance to review their meaning in the notes that follow.

You read that the snake was: bardziej przebiegły (more sly) niż wszystkie zwierzęta lądowe (than all animals of the land). You will recall that the Polish for animal is the neuter zwierzę, whose plural form is zwierzęta. Lądowy means (of the) land.

Do niewiasty means to the woman, where do is followed by the genitive niewiasty, from its nominative form niewiasta.

The snake begins its question to the woman by saying: czy rzeczywiście Bóg powiedział (did God indeed say). Czy indicates that this is a yes-no question. You first saw the verb powiedzieć (to say) in Rdz 2:23.

The remaining text is composed entirely of vocabulary that you have already encountered. The snake alters God’s words: nie jedzcie (do not eat) owoców (of the fruits) ze wszystkich drzew (of all the trees) tego ogrodu (of this garden). Nie jedzcie is the second-person plural negated imperative of the verb jeść (to eat), first encountered in 2:17. The masculine owoc means fruit; you find it here in its genitive plural form owoców. Also in genitive plural form is wszystkich drzew following ze (spelling alternative of z), from the nominative wszystko drzewo (every tree). Ten ogród (this garden) becomes tego ogrodu in genitive form.

Wersety 2-3

  • odpowiedzieć (pf.), to reply
  • tylko, only
  • o (+ loc.), concerning, regarding
  • nawet, even
  • dotykać (impf.), to touch
  • pomrzeć (pf.), to die

Wężowi is in dative form, from the nominative wąż. You read: niewiasta odpowiedziała wężowi (the woman replied to the snake).

In Rdz 2:16, you encountered the second-person singular możesz (you may). In the current verse, you now find the first-person plural możemy (we may). You read: owoce (the fruits) z drzew (from the trees) tego ogrodu (of this garden) jeść możemy (we may eat).


w środku ogrodu (current verse)
w środku tego ogrodu (Rdz 2:9)
w środku wód (Rdz 1:6)

nie wolno wam jeść (current verse)
nie wolno ci jeść (Rdz 2:17)

Wam is the dative of the second-person plural wy, whereas ci is the dative of the second-person singular ty. Nie wolno wam jeść z niego means you are not allowed to eat from it (more literally, it is not allowed for you to eat from it). The woman continues: a nawet go dotykać (and even to touch it), abyście nie pomarli (in order that you not die; lest you die).

Wersety 4-5

  • na pewno, surely
  • wiedzieć (impf.), to know
  • otworzyć (pf.) się, to open oneself
  • oko (n.), eye
  • tak jak, as, like
  • znać (impf.), to know, to be acquainted

The snake says to the woman: na pewno nie umrzecie (you will not surely die). In Rdz 2:17, you encountered the second-person singular umrzesz; in the current verse, you now find the second-person plural umrzecie.

Wie Bóg means God knows, from the verb wiedzieć. From Rdz 2:16, you will remember that spożywać means to consume. The neuter oko means eye; its plural form is oczy.

The last portion of this verse is to be understood as follows: i tak jak Bóg (and like God) będziecie znali (you will know) dobro i zło (good and evil).

Werset 6

  • spostrzec (pf.), to notice, to see
  • jedzenie (n.), food
  • rozkosz (f.), delight
  • nadawać (impf.) się, to be fit for
  • zdobycie (n.), acquisition
  • wiedza (f.), knowledge
  • zerwać (pf.), to pick, to tear off
  • skosztować (pf.), to taste
  • mąż (m.), husband
  • zjeść (pf.), to eat

You will recall the neuter oko means eye; you find it here in genitive form: dla oczu (for the eye; that is, to the sight). You find more examples of the genitive in do jedzenia and do zdobycia.

The woman eats of the fruit and gives also of it to her husband: dała swemu mężowi (she gave [of it] to her husband), który był z nią (who was with her). Swemu mężowi is in dative form; swemu is a variant of swojemu, from the nominative swój. You can consult the declension of Polish possessive pronouns here. The man ate: on zjadł.

Werset 7

  • oboje, both
  • poznać (pf.), to recognise, to know
  • spleść (pf.), to weave together
  • gałązka (f), twig, sprig
  • figowy, fig (leaf)
  • zrobić (pf.), to make
  • przepaska (f.), loincloth

A number of usages appear in this verse that you have already encountered, including otworzyć się (to open oneself), oko (eye), nagi (naked), więc (therefore). You will also recall that sobie is the dative form of siebie (oneself).

You read: otworzyły się im obojgu oczy (the eyes of both of them opened) i poznali, że są nadzy (and they knew that they were naked). Read the rest of the verse with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.

Werset 8

  • usłyszeć (pf.), to hear
  • krok (m.), step
  • przechadzać (impf.) się, to go for a walk, to stroll
  • pora (f.), time
  • kiedy, when
  • powiew (m.), light breeze
  • wiatr (m.), wind
  • skryć (pf.) się, to hide oneself
  • przed (+ instr.), in front of, before
  • wśród (+ gen.), amongst, amidst

You read: mężczyzna i jego żona (the man and his wife) usłyszeli kroki Pana Boga (heard the steps of the Lord God) przechadzającego się po ogrodzie (walking along the garden). The masculine nominative krok means step; its plural form is kroki. The accusative takes the same forms: krok, kroki.

They heard the footsteps of the Lord God at the time of day when a light breeze of wind blows: w porze kiedy był powiew wiatru. Wiatru is in genitive form.

The man and the woman hid themselves: skryli się przed Panem Bogiem (they hid themselves before the Lord God; that is, they hid themselves from the Lord God) wśród drzew ogrodu (amongst the trees of the garden).

Werset 9

  • zawołać (pf.) na, to call out to
  • zapytać (pf.), to ask

The Lord God calls out to the man and asks him: gdzie jesteś? (where are you?).

Werset 10

  • twój, your
  • głos (m.), voice
  • przestraszyć (pf.) się, to take fright
  • ukryć (pf.) się, to hide oneself

Note the following: usłyszałem (I heard), przestraszyłem się (I took fright), ukryłem się (I hid myself).

Compare the forms:

usłyszeli (verse 8)

Werset 11

  • któż, who ever, who is it that
  • może, perhaps
  • zakazać (pf.), to forbid

God says to the man: któż ci powiedział (who ever said to you), że jesteś nagi (that you were naked)? He also asks: czy może zjadłeś z drzewa (did you perhaps eat from the tree), z którego ci zakazałem jeść (from which I had forbidden you to eat)?

Learn these three masculine past tense forms:

zjadłem (I ate)
zjadłeś (you ate)
zjadł (he ate)

Learn also these three feminine past tense forms, taking note of how they differ to the masculine forms above:

zjadłam (I ate)
zjadłaś (you ate)
zjadła (she ate)

Using another verb:

zakazałem (I forbade)
zakazałeś (you forbade)
zakazał (he forbade)

zakazałam (I forbade)
zakazałaś (you forbade)
zakazała (she forbade)

Werset 12

  • postawić (pf.), to put, to place
  • ja, I

Mnie is the locative form of ja. Niewiasta, którą postawiłeś przy mnie is to be understood as the woman, whom you placed next to me. You then find the dative form of ja in the following: niewiasta […] dała mi owoc z tego drzewa (the woman gave to me the fruit of this tree).

Werset 13

  • dlaczego, why
  • zwieść (pf.), to deceive

God asks the woman: dlaczego to uczyniłaś? (why did you do this?). The woman says: wąż mnie zwiódł (the snake deceived me).

uczyniłem (I did)
uczyniłeś (you did)
uczynił (he did)

uczyniłam (I did)
uczyniłaś (you did)
uczyniła (she did)

odpowiedziałem (I replied)
(you replied)
(he replied)

odpowiedziałam (I replied)
odpowiedziałaś (you replied)
odpowiedziała (she replied)

zwiodłem (I deceived)
zwiodłeś (you deceived)
zwiódł (he deceived)

zwiodłam (I deceived)
zwiodłaś (you deceived)
zwiodła (she deceived)

Werset 14

  • ponieważ, because
  • przeklęty, cursed, damned
  • domowy, domesticated
  • brzuch (m.), belly
  • czołgać (impf.) się, to creep
  • istnienie (n.), existence

In verse 2, you encountered: niewiasta odpowiedziała wężowi. In the current verse, you now find: Pan Bóg rzekł do węża. Wężowi is in dative form; węża is in genitive.

God curses the snake: bądź przeklęty (be damned). Bądź is the second-person singular form; you will recall that the second-person plural form is bądźcie. He also tells the snake: na brzuchu będziesz się czołgał (on your belly you shall creep) and proch będziesz jadł (dust you shall eat).

Using the vocabulary listed above, work out the meaning of the entire verse. Remember that you can search Wiktionary and Wikisłownik for declensions.

Werset 15

  • wprowadzać (impf.), to introduce
  • nieprzyjaźń (f.), enmity, hostility
  • między (+ acc.), between
  • pomiędzy (+ acc.), between
  • potomstwo (n.), offspring
  • zmiażdżyć (pf.), to crush
  • głowa (f.), head
  • pięta (f.), heel

Ciebie is in accusative form, from the nominative ty. Między ciebie i niewiastę means between you and the woman. As for pomiędzy potomstwo twoje a potomstwo jej, this means between your offspring and her offspring.

In ono zmiażdży ci głowę, ono stands in for potomstwo jej. Note the use of the dative ci (from ty) and mu (from ono) to indicate who the possessors are of głowa and pięta.

Werset 16

  • obarczyć (pf.), to burden
  • niezmiernie, immensely, greatly
  • wielki trud (m)., hard labour
  • brzemienność (f.), pregnancy
  • ból (m.), pain
  • dziecko (n.), child
  • ku (+ dat.), towards
  • kierować (impf.), to direct
  • pragnienie (n.), desire

God tells the woman that he will burden her by making pregnancy difficult. You will recall from Rdz 1:11 that rodzić means to bear. You read: w bólu będziesz rodziła dzieci (in pain you will bear children).

God also tells the woman that her desire will be for her husband, but that he will rule over her. You will recall that panować nad means to rule over; you first saw this in Rdz 1:26. God says: on zaś będzie panował nad tobą (he however will rule over you).

Werset 17

  • posłuchać (pf.), to listen
  • co do, regarding
  • powód (m.), cause, reason
  • zdobywać (impf.), to acquire
  • pożywienie (n.), food

God now delivers the punishment to the man for having listened to his wife. Note the use of the genitive following posłuchać.

From Rdz 1:22, you will remember that the neuter słowo means word. You find this noun in locative plural form in co do którego dałem ci rozkaz w słowach. You can understand co do którego as meaning regarding which. You will also remember that the masculine rozkaz, first seen in Rdz 2:9, means command. God reminds the man of what he had said: nie będziesz z niego jeść (you shall not eat of it).

Z twego powodu can be understood as meaning on account of you, because of you. You read: przeklęta niech będzie ziemia z twego powodu (cursed be the ground on account of you). You will recall the adjective przeklęty from verse 14.

From the ground, the man will have to obtain food for himself in great toil, and for all the days of his life: po wszystkie dni twego życia (for all the days of your life). You will remember from Rdz 2:2 that the masculine trud means toil: w trudzie (in toil).

Werset 18

  • cierń (m.), thorn
  • oset (m.), thistle
  • przecież, yet, though
  • płody (m.pl.), produce
  • rola (f.), soil, arable land

You come across the verb rodzić again, meaning to bear. You read: cierń i oset będzie ci ona rodziła (it will bear unto you thorns and thistles). Pokarmem twym, in instrumental position, can be understood as meaning as your food.

Werset 19

  • pot (m.), sweat
  • oblicze (n.), face
  • musieć (impf.), to have to, to be obligated to
  • póki nie, until
  • wrócić (pf.), to return
  • obrócić (pf.) się (w coś), to turn (into something)

You will recall, from verse 17, the verb zdobywać, meaning to obtain. God tells the man w pocie więc oblicza twego (by the sweat, therefore, of your face) będziesz musiał zdobywać pożywienie (shall you have to obtain food).

In Rdz 2:23, you encountered the following about the woman: ta z mężczyzny została wzięta (this [one] was taken out of man). In the current verse, you now read: póki nie wrócisz do ziemi (until you return to the ground), z której zostałeś wzięty (from which you were taken).

została wzięta
zostałeś wzięty

You will recall the Polish word for dust, which is the masculine proch. You find it in instrumental form in bo prochem jesteś (for you are dust).

Werset 20

  • imię (n.), name
  • żyć (impf.), to live
  • żyjący, the living

The man names the woman Eve (from the Hebrew for life or living): mężczyzna dał swej żonie imię Ewa (the man gave to his wife the name Eve).

You will remember the Polish for mother from Rdz 2:24: matka. You read that Eve became the mother of all the living.

Werset 21

  • sporządzić (pf.), to make, to prepare
  • odzienie (n.), clothing, attire
  • skóra (f.), skin, leather
  • przyodziać (pf.), to clothe

Work through this verse with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.

Werset 22

  • teraz, now
  • wyciągnąć (pf.), to extend
  • przypadek (m.), chance
  • ręka (f.), hand
  • wiek (m.), century, age

The Lord God says: oto człowiek stał się taki jak My (behold man has become as us). You will recall the verb znać from verse 5: zna dobro i zło (he knows good and evil).

The rest of the verse can be understood as follows: niechaj teraz nie wyciągnie przypadkiem ręki (let him not now extend by chance his hand), aby zerwać owoc także z drzewa życia (so as to pick fruit also from the tree of life), zjeść go i żyć na wieki (eat it and live forever). Przypadkiem is in instrumental form; you will understand it as meaning by chance. From verse 6, you will remember the verb zerwać (to tear off, to pick). You saw the verb żyć (to live) listed in verse 20. Na wieki is to be understood as forever.

Werset 23

  • dlatego, therefore
  • wydalić (pf.), to expel

This verse mostly contains usages that you have already encountered.

Werset 24

  • wygnać (pf.), to drive out
  • cherub (m.), cherub
  • połyskiwać (impf.), to shine
  • ostrze (n.), blade
  • miecz (m.), sword
  • strzec (impf.), to guard
  • droga (f.), way, road

Wygnawszy is to be understood as having driven out. Compare this to similar usages already seen: uczyniwszy (having made; Rdz 1:7), zasadziwszy (having planted; Rdz 2:8), ulepiwszy (having formed; Rdz 2:19).

You will recalll postawić from verse 12, meaning to place, to put. Cherubów is in accusative plural form. You read: Bóg postawił przed ogrodem Eden cherubów (God placed cherubs before the garden of Eden).

Compare połyskujące to similar usages already seen: dające, rodzące, świecące, jaśniejące, pływające, pełzające.

Work out the meaning of the rest of the verse with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.