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, men; its genitive form is ludzi. The genitive plural pierwszych ludzi means of the first people, of the first men.

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Read Rdz 3

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 3. An archived version of the text can be found here.

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 the land animals; that is, than all the animals of the land). You will recall that the Polish for animal is the neuter zwierzę, whose plural form is zwierzęta. The adjective lądowy means (related to the) land.

Do niewiasty means to the woman, where do is followed by the genitive niewiasty, from its nominative form niewiasta. You read: on to rzekł do niewiasty (it [the snake] said this to the woman).

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 perfective 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 negated, second-person plural imperative of the imperfective verb jeść (to eat), first encountered in Rdz 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). 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).

Verse 3 begins: tylko o owocach z drzewa (only about the fruits from the tree), które jest w środku ogrodu (which is in the middle of the garden), Bóg powiedział (God has said).

Compare:

w środku ogrodu (verse 3)
w środku tego ogrodu (Rdz 2:9)
w środku wód (Rdz 1:6)

nie wolno wam jeść (verse 3)
nie wolno ci jeść (Rdz 2:17)

Wam (unto you) is the dative of the second-person plural wy, whereas ci (unto you) is the dative of the second-person singular ty.

nie wolno ci jeść z niego (singular)
nie wolno wam jeść z niego
(plural)
you are not allowed to eat from it
(it is not allowed unto 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).

Wersety 4-5

  • na pewno, surely
  • wiedzieć (impf.), to know
  • spożyć (pf.), to consume
  • 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 (you will die; singular); in the current verse, you now find the second-person plural umrzecie (you will die; plural). The verb in question here is the perfective umrzeć (to die).

Wie Bóg means God knows, from the imperfective verb wiedzieć. The second-person plural spożyjecie, from the perfective verb spożyć, means you will consume. The neuter oko means eye; its plural form is oczy. You read: ale wie Bóg (but God knows), że gdy spożyjecie (that when you will eat) owoc z tego drzewa (the fruit of this tree), otworzą się wam oczy (your eyes will open; literally, will open unto you [the] eyes).

The last portion of this verse is to be understood as follows: i tak jak Bóg (and like God) będziecie znali (you will be knowing; you will know) dobro i zło (good and evil). Znali is formed from the imperfective verb znać; its formation will become clearer to you as you progress. For now, know that będziecie znali means you will be knowing; you will know (second-person plural).

Werset 6

  • spostrzec (pf.), to notice, to see
  • jedzenie (n.), eating
  • rozkosz (f.), delight
  • nadawać (impf.) się, to be fit for
  • zdobycie (n.), acquisition
  • wiedza (f.), knowledge
  • zerwać (pf.), to pick, to break (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. You read: wtedy niewiasta spostrzegła (then the woman noticed), że drzewo to (that this tree) ma owoce dobre (has good fruits) do jedzenia (to the eating; that is, for the eating), że jest ono rozkoszą (that it is a delight) dla oczu (for the eye) i że owoce tego drzewa (and that the fruits of this tree) nadają się (are fit) do zdobycia wiedzy (for the acquisition of knowledge).

The woman picks off a fruit from the tree: zerwała (she picked) zatem (therefore) z niego (from it) owoc (a fruit); that is, she picked a fruit from it (from the tree).

She takes a bite: skosztowała (she tasted).

And she gives of it to her husband: dała swemu mężowi (she gave to her husband), który był z nią (who was with her). Swemu mężowi is in dative form; swemu (or swojemu) comes from the nominative swój. You can consult the declension of Polish possessive pronouns here.

swój mąż
her husband

swojemu mężowi
swemu mężowi
to her husband

The man ate: on zjadł (he ate). The verb in question here is the perfective zjeść (to eat).

Werset 7

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

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

Oboje means both; its dative form is obojgu. Im obojgu means unto them both. You read: otworzyły się im obojgu oczy (opened themselves unto them both the eyes; that is, the eyes of both of them opened themselves; or simply, the eyes of both opened) i poznali, że są nadzy (and they knew that they are naked; that is, and they knew that they were naked).

otworzyły się / im obojgu / oczy
opened themselves / unto them both / eyes

otworzyły się oczy
the eyes opened themselves
the eyes opened up

The verse continues: spletli więc (so they wove together) gałązki figowe (fig twigs) i zrobili sobie (and made unto themselves; that is, and made for themselves) przepaski (loincloths).

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: gdy zaś (as for when) 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 when a light breeze blew: w porze (at the time) kiedy był (when [there] was) powiew (a light breeze) wiatru (of wind).

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

The Lord God calls out unto the man and asks him where he is. You read: Pan Bóg zawołał (the Lord God called out) na mężczyznę (unto the man) i zapytał go (and asked him): gdzie jesteś? (where are you?). Jesteś (you are) is the second-person singular of the present tense of the imperfective verb być (to be).

Werset 10

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

Note the endings of the following: usłyszałem (I heard), przestraszyłem się (I took fright), ukryłem się (I hid myself). You read: on odpowiedział (he answered): usłyszałem Twój głos (I heard your voice) w ogrodzie (in the garden), przestraszyłem się (I took fright), bo jestem nagi (for I am naked), i ukryłem się (and I hid myself).

Werset 11

  • któż, who, who ever
  • 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 [are] 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 of the perfective verb zjeść (to eat):

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 (zakazać, pf., to forbid):

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. In the following, you find mi (unto me), which is the dative form of ja (I): niewiasta […] dała (the woman gave) mi (to me) owoc (the fruit) z tego drzewa (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).

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

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

(masculine)
odpowiedziałem (I replied)
odpowiedziałeś
(you replied)
odpowiedział
(he replied)

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

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

(feminine)
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 (the woman replied to the snake). In the current verse, you now find: Pan Bóg rzekł do węża (the Lord God said to the snake). Wężowi is in dative form; węża is in genitive. Following do, the genitive is required.

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

Here is what God says in full: ponieważ to uczyniłeś (because you have done this), bądź przeklęty (be damned) wśród wszystkich zwierząt (amongst all animals) domowych i polnych (domesticated and of the field); na brzuchu (on your belly) będziesz się czołgał (shall you creep) i proch będziesz jadł (and dust shall you eat) po wszystkie dni (for all the days) twego istnienia (of your existence).

The genitive is applied to the plural noun after wśród in the following: wśród wszystkich zwierząt domowych i polnych. (Recall that the nominative plural for animals is zwierzęta; this plural becomes zwierząt in the genitive.) Not only is the genitive applied to the noun, it is also applied to the adjectives related to it (the ich and ych endings give you the clue that they are in the genitive plural).

Remember that you can search Wiktionary and Wikisłownik for declensions. A selection of declensions can also be found on this very site. You can use SJP.pl to search for the nominative form of a noun by entering one of its declined forms in the search bar.

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

You read: wprowadzam nieprzyjaźń (I introduce enmity; I am introducing enmity). Continuing along, ciebie is in accusative form, from the nominative ty. Między ciebie i niewiastę means between you and the woman. The use of the accusative after między denotes movement; otherwise the instrumental would be used, to denote location.

As for pomiędzy potomstwo twoje a potomstwo jej, this means between your offspring and her offspring. The accusative is also used here, after pomiędzy, to convey movement (the movement related to the introduction of enmity).

twoje potomstwo
your offspring

jej potomstwo
her offspring

In ono zmiażdży ci głowę, ono stands in for the neuter potomstwo jej. You read: ono zmiażdży ci głowę (it will crush the head unto you; that is, it will crush your head), a ty zmiażdżysz mu piętę (and you will crush the heel unto it; that is, and you will crush its heel).

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: obarczę cię (I shall burden you) niezmiernie (immensely) wielkim trudem (with the hard labour; by the great labour) twej brzemienności (of your pregnancy). You will recall from Rdz 1:11 that the imperfective verb rodzić means to bear. You read: w bólu będziesz rodziła dzieci (in pain shall you be bearing children; in pain shall you bear children).

Będziesz rodziła means you will be bearing; you will bear. This construction is how imperfective verbs form their future tense. (Perfective verbs do not use this construction.) Będziesz is the second-person singular of the future tense of the verb być.

God also tells the woman that her desire will be for her husband: ku twemu mężowi (towards your husband) będziesz kierowała (shall you be directing; shall you direct) swe pragnienia (your desire), but that her husband will rule over her. You will recall that the imperfective panować nad means to rule over; you first saw this in Rdz 1:26. God says: on zaś będzie panował nad tobą (he however shall be ruling over you; he however shall rule over you).

będziesz rodziła
you will be bearing

będzie panował
he will be ruling

będziecie znali (verse 5)
you will be knowing

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 the perfective verb posłuchać. He begins: ponieważ posłuchałeś swej żony (given that you listened to your wife) i zjadłeś z drzewa (and you ate from the tree).

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 (about which I gave you the command in [the following] words). You can understand co do którego as meaning regarding which, about which. You will also remember that the masculine rozkaz, first seen in Rdz 2:9, means command, order. God reminds the man of what he had said: nie będziesz z niego jeść (you shall not be eating of it; 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. You will remember from Rdz 2:2 that the masculine trud means toil. You read: w trudzie (in toil) będziesz zdobywał (shall you be acquiring; shall you acquire) od niej (from it) pożywienie dla siebie (food for yourself). Od niej means from it (can also mean from her); that is, from the earth, from the ground, where earth or ground is expressed in the Polish with the feminine noun ziemia. Niej is the genitive form of ona (she, it).

This curse is for all the days of the man’s life: po wszystkie dni twego życia (for all the days of your life).

Werset 18

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

You come across the imperfective verb rodzić again, meaning to bear. You read: cierń i oset (thorn and thistle) będzie ci ona rodziła (shall it be bearing unto you; shall it bear unto you). Ona stands in for ziemia here.

Pokarmem twym, in instrumental position, can be understood as meaning as your food. You read: a przecież pokarmem twym (although as your food) są płody roli (is the produce of the soil). (are) is the third-person plural of the present tense of the verb być; the plural is used because płody is a plural noun; literally: są płody (the produces are).

Werset 19

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

You will recall, from verse 17, the imperfective verb zdobywać, meaning to obtain. God tells the man: w pocie więc oblicza twego (in the sweat, therefore, of your face) będziesz musiał zdobywać pożywienie (shall you be having to obtain food; 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 will return to the ground), z której zostałeś wzięty (from which you were taken).

została wzięta
she was taken; got taken (feminine)

zostałeś wzięty
you were taken; got taken (masculine)

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). You read: bo prochem jesteś (for you are dust) i w proch się obrócisz (and into dust shall you turn).

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 (the man gave) swej żonie (to his wife) imię Ewa (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: bo ona stała się (for she became) matką ([as] mother) wszystkich żyjących (of all the living).

The neuter imię, meaning name, appeared in this verse. Learn the following: jak ci na imię? or jak masz na imię? (what is your name?).

Werset 21

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

You read: Pan Bóg sporządził (the Lord God made) dla mężczyzny (for the man) i dla jego żony (and for his wife) odzienie ze skór (clothing from skins) i przyodział ich (and he clothed them).

Werset 22

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

Recall that po czym means thereupon, after which: po czym Pan Bóg rzekł (thereupon the Lord God said).

The Lord God says: oto człowiek stał się taki jak My (behold, man has become as us; see now that man has become as us). You will recall the imperfective verb znać from verse 5; you read: 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 perfective verb zerwać (to tear off, to pick). You saw the imperfective verb żyć (to live) listed at verse 20. Na wieki is to be understood as forever.

Werset 23

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

This verse contains many usages that you have already encountered. You read: dlatego Pan Bóg wydalił go (therefore the Lord God expelled him) z ogrodu Eden (from the garden of Eden), aby uprawiał tę ziemię (in order to till this ground; in that he till this ground), z której został wzięty (from which he was taken). Recall that the imperfective verb uprawiać means to till.

Werset 24

  • wygnać (pf.), to drive out
  • cherub (m.), cherub
  • połyskiwać (impf.), to shimmer, 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). Wygnawszy zaś człowieka can be understood as and having driven out the man.

You will recall the perfective verb 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. (This aspect of Polish grammar will be dealt with later in your study.) You read: i połyskujące ostrze miecza (and a shimmering blade of sword), aby strzec drogi (in order to guard the way) do drzewa życia (to the tree of life).

You may wish to consult this list of Polish prepositions and their cases.