Polish language series: Rdz 7, potop

You will now study the Polish text of the seventh chapter of the book of Genesis; in Rdz 7, God brings about a flood so as to destroy all that he created on earth. You will recall that the Polish for flood is the masculine noun potop.

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Polish language here.

Read Rdz 7

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 7. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Werset 1

  • rodzina (f.), family
  • wobec (+ gen.), before, in front of
  • pokolenie (n.), generation

Recall that the genitive is used after the preposition do. In do Noego, then, which means unto Noah, the Polish version of Noah’s name (Noe) is in genitive position as Noego.

The Lord tells Noah to board the ark with his family: wejdź wraz z całą twą rodziną do arki (enter the ark along with your entire family). From this portion of text, review the following usages: wejść (pf., to enter, to go into), wraz a (along with), cały (entire), arka (f., ark). After z (with), you find the instrumental:

cała twa rodzina
your entire family

z całą twą rodziną
with your entire family

From the remainder of the the verse, review the following usages: przekonać się (pf., to ascertain), tylko (only), prawy (righteous, just), wśród (amongst, amidst). God says: bo przekonałem się (for I have ascertained), że tylko ty jesteś wobec mnie prawy (that only you are righteous before me) wśród tego pokolenia (amongst this generation). Recall that the genitive is used following wśród.

Wersety 2-3

  • czysty, clean
  • nieczysty, unclean
  • zachować (pf.), to maintain, to keep

Recall that the perfective verb wziąć means to take; its second-person singular imperative form is weź. You will also remember the Polish for male and female: samiec (m.) and samica (f.). In the first half of verse 2, you read: z wszelkich zwierząt czystych (of all the clean animals) weź z sobą siedem samców i siedem samic (take with you seven males and seven females). Following siedem (seven), you find the genitive plural samców and samic. You will look more at this in the notes at verse 6.

God continues: ze zwierząt zaś nieczystych (of the animals, on the other hand, that are unclean) po jednej parze (by the single pair): samca i samicę (a male and a female). Clean beasts were those offered in sacrifice: oxen, sheep, goats; the unclean included camels, horses and donkeys.

From verse 3, review the following usages: również (also), ptactwo (n., fowl), w ten sposób (thus, in this manner), potomstwo (n., offspring). God tells Noah to also take seven males and seven females from the fowl to preserve their seed on earth: również i z ptactwa (also of the fowl)po siedem samców (by seven males) i po siedem samic (and by seven females), aby w ten sposób (so that in this manner) zachować ich potomstwo (their offspring remains) dla całej ziemi (for the entire earth).

Wersety 4-5

  • spuścić (pf.), to release
  • padać (impf.), to fall
  • wyniszczyć (pf.), to destroy, to devastate
  • cokolwiek, whatever, everything that
  • spełnić (pf.), to fulfil, to accomplish

Za siedem dni is to be understood as in seven days. In seven days’ time, God says that he will make the rain pour down: spuszczę na ziemię deszcz (I shall release the rain upon the earth). Recall that the Polish for rain is the masculine deszcz. Following na, you find ziemia in accusative form as ziemię; the use of the accusative after na implies movement. Compare:

na ziemi (locative)
on the earth — location, position

na ziemię (accusative)
onto the earth — movement

In spuszczę na ziemię deszcz (I shall release rain upon [or onto] the earth), the sense of the rain’s falling down onto the earth is conveyed.

Of the rain, God says: będzie padał czterdzieści dni i czterdzieści nocy (it shall fall [shall be falling] forty days and forty nights). After czterdzieści (forty), you find the genitive plural dni and nocy. Compare this to what you saw in verse 2:

siedem samców
siedem samic
czterdzieści dni
czterdzieści nocy

If we consider the use of the genitive as equating to the English preposition of, then we might say that the above can be understood as: siedem samców (seven [of] males), siedem samic (seven [of] females), czterdzieści dni (forty [of] days), czterdzieści nocy (forty [of] nights). Of course, this of is not expressed in English.

In the remainder of verse 4, you will recall that the imperfective verb istnieć means to exist. You read: aby wyniszczyć wszystko (in order to destroy everything), co istnieje (that exists) na powierzchni ziemi (on the surface of the earth)cokolwiek stworzyłem (everything that I have made; whatever I have made).

Recall that the feminine powierzchnia means surface, area. Observe: na powierzchni (on the surface; locative) ziemi (of the earth; genitive). Because the locative is used after na here, no movement is implied — only location. (The accusative after na, as you also saw above, conveys movement; the accusative of powierzchnia is powierzchnię.)

In verse 5, you read that Noah fulfilled all that God had commanded of him. Recall that the perfective verb polecić, first encountered in Rdz 6:22, means to instruct, to command. You read: i spełnił Noe wszystko (and Noah accomplished everything) tak, jak mu Pan polecił (just as the Lord [had] commanded [unto] him). Remember that mu means unto him.

Werset 6

  • nastać (pf.), to come about

You read that Noah was six hundred years old when the flood occurred: Noe miał sześćset lat (Noah was six hundred years old; literally, Noah was having six hundred years), gdy nastał potop na ziemi (when the flood came about on the earth).

Recall that the Polish for to be x years old is mieć x lat, which translates literally as to have x years. For example, mam trzydzieści dziewięć lat means I am thirty-nine years old (literally, I have thirty-nine [of] years). Lat is the genitive plural of rok. In the notes for verses 4 and 5 above, you encountered other examples using the genitive plural after a numeral.

Following dwa, trzy or cztery, the genitive plural is not used — instead, the accusative plural is used. For example, the Polish for I am sixty-two years old is mam sześćdziesiąt dwa lata. In this example, lata is in the accusative plural — it follows dwa. Similarly, I am three years old is mam trzy lata, and I am fifty-four years old is mam pięćdziesiąt cztery lata. Note, however, that following dwanaście, trzynaście and czternaście (12, 13, 14), the accusative plural lata would not be used (they require the genitive plural lat) because these do not end in dwa, trzy or cztery. It is the words dwa, trzy and cztery that matter, not the digits 2, 3 and 4.

mam sześćdziesiąt dwa lata
mam dwanaście lat
mam trzydzieści dziewięć lat

To ask someone’s age in colloquial Polish, you can ask ile masz lat? of the person. You can consult Polish cardinal numbers here.

Wersety 7-9

  • schronić się (pf.), to take refuge
  • sztuka (f.), unit; head (of animals)
  • rozkazać (pf.), to order, to command

From verse 7, wszedł is the masculine third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb wejść. Noe wszedł do arki means Noah entered the ark, Noah went into the ark. He went in with his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons. You also read in verse 7: aby schronić się przed wodami potopu (in order to take refuge from [before] the waters of the flood). Przed (before, in front of) is followed by the instrumental here (more precisely, the instrumental plural: wodami); recall that the Polish for water is the feminine woda.

Verse 8 presents no new vocabulary. You encounter the Polish for clean and unclean again, first seen in verse 2. You will remember from Rdz 1:24 that the imperfective verb pełzać means to crawl. Co pełza po ziemi: that crawls along the earth.

Verse 9: po dwie sztuki (by the pair; literally, by two units; by two heads), samiec i samica (male and female), weszły do Noego (they went unto Noah), do arki (into the ark), tak jak mu Bóg rozkazał (just as God [had] commanded [unto] him).

Wersety 10-12

  • spaść (pf.), to fall
  • sześćsetny, six hundredth
  • miesiąc (m.), month
  • siedemnasty, seventeenth
  • właśnie, precisely, exactly
  • trysnąć (pf.), to gush
  • huk (m.), rumble, crash
  • źródło (n.), spring, source
  • otchłań (f.), abyss, deep
  • upust (m.), floodgate, sluice

The perfective verb upłynąć (to go by, to elapse) was amongst the first that you encountered in your study of the book of Genesis in Polish; recall that, in Rdz 1:5, you read: i tak upłynął wieczór i poranek (and thus went by evening and morning), dzień pierwszy (the first day). Now, in verse 10 of the current chapter, you read: a gdy upłynęło siedem dni (and when seven days went by), wody potopu spadły na ziemię (the waters of the flood fell onto the earth). Note that, as a noun phrase, siedem dni is neuter singular; this is reflected in the neuter singular upłynęło accompanying it.

Verse 11 begins: w roku sześćsetnym życia Noego (in the six hundredth year of life of Noah; that is, in Noah’s six hundredth year of life). Following w, you find the locative case. Verse 11 continues: w drugim miesiącu roku (in the second month of the year), siedemnastego dnia miesiąca (on the seventeeth day of the month). You can consult Polish ordinal numbers here.

Continuing along in verse 11, w tym właśnie dniu is to be understood as on that very day. You then read: trysnęły z hukiem (gushed with a rumble) wszystkie źródła (all the springs) Wielkiej Otchłani (of the Great Deep). Recall that the perfective otworzyć się means to open oneself. In the remainder of verse 11, you read that the floodgates of heaven opened up. The plural of the nominative upust is upusty. The Polish for Great Deep, in nominative form, is Wielka Otchłań.

In verse 12, przez is to be understood as meaning for, as in przez czterdzieści dni (for forty days). Work through this verse on your own; consult the notes for verse 4, if necessary. Padał: was falling.

Wersety 13-14

  • skrzydło (n.), wing

I shall let you work through these two verses with less assistance; most of the usages contained within them have been encountered before. As usual, what you do not understand, set aside for a later time — portions that are unclear to you now will come into focus as you continue.

Portions to understand from verse 13: właśnie owego dnia (on that very day); jego synowie (his sons); żona Noego (the wife of Noah); trzy żony jego synów (the three wives of his sons); weszli do arki (they entered the ark).

Portions to understand from verse 14: wraz z nimi (along with them); wszelkie gatunki zwierząt (all kinds of animals); ze skrzydłami (with wings).

Wersety 15-16

  • zamknąć (pf.), to close, to shut
  • drzwi (pl.), door

Review: istota (f., creature), w których (in which; pl.), tchnienie (n., breath), życie (n., life), po parze (by the pair), każdej istoty żywej (of every living creature), rozkazać (pf., to order, to command).

When all had entered the ark, God shut the door: Pan zamknął (the Lord shut) za nim (behind him) drzwi (the door). Other usages in these two verses have been encountered; work through the text on your own. Note that the dative Noemu means unto Noah.

Wersety 17-18

  • trwać (impf.), to last
  • wezbrać (pf.), to rise, to swell
  • podnieść (pf.), to lift
  • przybywać (impf.), to come, to arrive
  • coraz więcej, more and more
  • poziom (m.), level
  • podnieść się (pf.), to rise
  • wysoko, high

You first encountered ponad (above, over) in Rdz 1:7. Ponad followed by the accusative implies movement; otherwise, the locative is used. From verse 17, understand: trwał (was lasting); wody wezbrały (the waters rose); podniosły arkę (they lifted the ark).

The imperfective verb płynąć (to flow) was first met in Rdz 2:14. From verse 18, understand: przybywało (was arriving, was coming); coraz więcej wody (more and more water); poziom jej (its level; that is, the water’s level); podniósł się wysoko (it [the level] rose high); arka płynęła (the ark was flowing); po powierzchni wód (along the surface of the waters).

Wysoko (high) is related the feminine noun wysokość (height), which you encountered in Rdz 6:15.

Wersety 19-20

  • coraz bardziej, more and more
  • zakryć (pf.), to cover
  • góra (f.), mount, mountain

In these two verses, you encounter the perfective podnieść się again, meaning to rise. You will recall from Rdz 6 that the masculine łokieć means elbow; as a measurement, it refers to the cubit. These verses tell you that the waters continued to increase, covering the mountains under the heaven; the waters rose fifteen cubits above the mountains.

Verse 19: wody bowiem podnosiły się (for the waters rose) coraz bardziej (more and more) nad ziemię (over the earth), tak że zakryły wszystkie góry wysokie (so that they covered all the high mountains), które były pod niebem (which were under the heaven); that is, because the waters rose more and more over the earth, they covered all the high mountains which were under the heaven.

Verse 20: wody się więc podniosły (the waters therefore rose) na piętnaście łokci (to fifteen cubits) ponad góry (above the mountains) i zakryły je (and covered them). In piętnaście łokci, you find the genitive plural following piętnaście (fifteen).

Wersety 21-22

  • jestestwo (n.), living creature
  • mnóstwo (n.), multitude, host
  • ożywiać (impf.), to animate
  • ląd (m.), land
  • zginąć (pf.), to perish

Review: poruszać się (impf., to move), inny (other), wielki (large, great), wyginąć (pf., to perish), wraz z, wraz ze (along with), ludzie (pl., people, men), nozdrze (n., nostril), tchnienie (n., breath), życie (n., life), żyć (impf., to live).

The masculine noun ląd (land), found in verse 22, is related to the adjective lądowy (of the land), first seen in Rdz 2:19.

Verse 21: wszystkie istoty poruszające się na ziemi (all creatures moving on the earth) z ptactwa, bydła i innych zwierząt (from fowl, cattle and other animals) i z wszelkich jestestw (and from all living creatures), których było wielkie mnóstwo na ziemi (of which [there] was a multitude on the earth), wyginęły wraz ze wszystkimi ludźmi (perished along with all men).

Verse 22: wszystkie istoty (all creatures), w których nozdrzach (in whose nostrils) było ożywiające tchnienie życia ([there] was an animating breath of life), wszystkie, które żyły na lądzie (all which were living on the land), zginęły (perished).

Wersety 23-24

  • wygubić (pf.), to exterminate, to destroy
  • doszczętnie, completely, utterly
  • wytępić (pf.), to exterminate, to destroy
  • pozostać (pf.), to remain, to stay
  • stale, continually

Recall the meaning of the imperfective verb istnieć, which is to exist.

Verse 23: i tak (and thus) Bóg wygubił doszczętnie wszystko (God completely destroyed everything), co istniało na ziemi (that existed [was existing] on the earth), od człowieka do bydła (from man to cattle), zwierząt pełzających ([to] creeping animals) i ptactwa powietrznego (and [to] air fowl; that is, fowl of the air); wszystko zostało doszczętnie wytępione z ziemi (everything got completely destroyed on the earth).

został wytępiony (m.)
he; it got destroyed

została wytępiona (f.)
she; it got destroyed

zostało wytępione (n.)
it got destroyed

wszystko zostało wytępione (n.)
everything got destroyed

Also from verse 23: pozostał tylko Noe (only Noah remained) i to, co z nim (and that which with him) było w arce (was in the ark).

Verse 24: a wody (and the waters) stale (continually) się podnosiły (rose) na ziemi (on the earth) przez sto pięćdziesiąt dni (for one hundred and fifty days). One hundred and fifty days: this is how long the waters remained at their highest elevation.