Polish language series: Rdz 9, Noe przeklina Kanaana

You will now study the Polish text of Rdz 9, or the ninth chapter of the book of Genesis, where you continue to read about przymierze Boga z Noem (God’s covenant with Noah). You will also read about Noah’s anger in the episode of his drunkenness: Noe przeklina Kanaana, a błogosławi Sema (Noah curses Canaan and blesses Shem). The imperfective verb przeklinać means to curse; the imperfective błogosławić means to bless.

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Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

Wersety 1-2

  • bać (impf.) się, to be afraid, to fear
  • lękać (impf.) się, to be afraid, to fear
  • oddać (pf.), to grant, to yield
  • władanie (n.), command

Verse 1 does not present any new usages. God blesses Noah and his sons; he tells them to be fruitful and multiply so as to people the earth. Review: pobłogosławić (pf., to bless), mówić (impf., to say), płodny (fruitful, fertile), mnożyć się (impf., to multiply oneself), zaludnić (pf., to people).

From verse 2, review: poruszać się (impf., to move), ryba (f., fish), morski (marine, sea). Niechaj się was boi i lęka is to be understood as let (each) fear and dread you. In the last part of this verse, you read that everything that moves on the earth and every fish of the sea is delivered unto man for him to rule over.

Was (accusative) and wam (dative) are declensions of wy (you; second-person plural).

Wersety 3-5

  • przeznaczyć (pf.), to assign, to intend
  • mięso (n.), meat
  • upomnieć (pf.) się, to demand

In verse 3, you read that everything that moves and lives is given to man as food. Jest przeznaczone is to be understood as is assigned, is intended. From the wording dla was na pokarm, meaning for you as food, you will remember that the masculine noun pokarm means food; following dla, you find the genitive was. From this same verse, you will also recall that the Polish for plant is the feminine noun roślina, and that the adjective zielony means green.

The language in verse 4 will remind you of that which you studied from Rdz 2:17 and Rdz 3:3. Mięso z krwią życia means meat with the blood of life. You have encountered the genitive życia (from the nominative życie [n.]) a number of times now in your readings, a few examples of which include:

pierwiastek życia (element of life)
tchnienie życia (breath of life)
krew życia (blood of life)

In the first sentence of verse 5, upomnę się o waszą krew is to be understood as I shall demand your blood. Note the use of o here. In this same sentence, you find the phrase przez wzgląd na (concerning); in Rdz 8:21, you saw a similar phrase: ze względu na. Recall that wzgląd is a masculine noun meaning account, consideration. In the remainder of this sentence, you read that God will demand it (that is, the blood) at the hand of every animal. Recall that krew is a feminine noun.

Wersety 6-7

  • ludzki, human
  • zaludniać (impf.), to people
  • władza (f.), power, rule

You first encountered the perfective verb przelać (to shed) in Rdz 4:11. Because krew is a feminine noun, human blood is krew ludzka in Polish. The first part of verse 6 is to be understood as: [jeśli] kto przeleje krew ludzką (whoever sheds human blood). You then read: przez ludzi ma być przelana krew jego (by man must be shed his blood). In other words, whoever sheds the blood of man shall have his own blood shed by man. In the remainder of verse 6, you read the reason for this: bo człowiek został stworzony (for man was made) na obraz Boga (in the image of God).

The first half of verse 7 repeats language that you have already studied. In the second half, you find two second-person plural imperatives: zaludniajcie (from the imperfective verb zaludniać) and miejcie (from the imperfective verb mieć). You read: zaludniajcie ziemię (people the earth) i miejcie nad nią władzę (and have rule over it).

Wersety 8-11

  • zawierać (impf.), to contract, to establish
  • przymierze (n.), covenant, alliance
  • domowy, domesticated
  • żaden, no, not any
  • niszczyć (impf.), to destroy

God addresses Noah and his sons to establish his covenant. From verse 9, recall the meaning of the neuter noun potomstwo, which is offspring. Ja zawieram przymierze is to be understood as I establish a covenant. God then says with whom the covenant is established: z wami i z waszym potomstwem (with you and with your offspirng). In the remainder of verse 9, które po was będzie is to be understood as which after you shall be (that is, [your offspring] which will come after you).

From verse 10, review the following: polny (of the field, rural), przy (+ loc., next to; przy was can be understood as with you), wyjść (pf., to exit). Take note of all the instrumental forms following z (or ze), meaning with.

From verse 11, recall that the perfective verb zgładzić means to wipe out, to put to death. You read: nigdy już nie zostanie zgładzona (never again shall be wiped out) wodami potopu (by the waters of a flood) żadna istota żywa (any living creature).

Wersety 12-15

  • dodać (pf.), to add
  • znak (m.), sign, mark
  • wieczny, eternal
  • łuk (m.), bow, arc
  • kłaść (impf.), to put, to set
  • obłok (m.), cloud
  • między (+ instr.), between
  • rozciągnąć (pf.), to stretch, to spread out
  • wspomnąć (pf.), to remember
  • zawrzeć (pf.), to contract, to establish
  • zniszczenie (n.), destruction

In verse 12, God speaks of the sign of his covenant: znak przymierza (mark of the covenant, symbol of the covenant, etc.). God’s covenant is for all time: na wieczne czasy (for eternal times).

The bow of which God speaks in verse 13 is a rainbow: łuk mój kładę na obłoki (my bow I set in the clouds). This bow is to serve as a sign of the covenant: note the use of znakiem, in instrumental position; this conveys the sense of as a sign. You will see more examples of the instrumental following the verb być in the verses ahead. Między Mną a ziemią translates as between me and the earth.

From verse 14, remember that the perfective verb ukazać się means to appear. From this verse, gdy rozciągnę obłoki means when I shall spread out the clouds, and gdy ukaże się ten łuk means when this bow will appear.

With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, work through verse 15. Remember that the neuter noun jestestwo means living creature.

Wersety 16-17

  • patrzyć (impf.), to look

These two verses contain a number of usages already studied in the last grouping of verses above.

Patrząc na niego, from verse 16, is to be understood as (whilst) looking at it, (whilst) looking upon it. In this same verse, recall that the neuter noun ciało means body. Wszelka istota żyjąca w każdym ciele means every creature living in every body; the sense of this is every creature of flesh.

Wersety 18-19

Review: wyjść (pf., to exit), ojciec (m., father), zaludnić się (pf., to be peopled, to people itself).

In these two verses, note the use of the instrumental following the verb być. The use of this declension might be likenened to the use of as in English: synami Noego byli Sem, Cham i Jafet ([as] the sons of Noah were Shem, Ham and Japheth), Cham był ojcem Kanaana (Ham was [as] the father of Canaan).

Ci is the personal plural of the nominative ten. In verse 19, you read: ci trzej byli synami Noego (these three were [as] the sons of Noah). Trzej is the personal form of trzy (three). Farther along in the verse, od nich is to be understood as from them.

Wersety 20-21

  • rolnik (m.), husbandman, farmer
  • winnica (f.), vineyard
  • napić (pf.) się, to have a drink
  • wino (n.), wine
  • odurzyć (pf.) się, to get intoxicated
  • leżeć (impf.), to lie

Review: zasadzić (pf., to plant), nagi (naked), namiot (m., tent).

In verse 20, you read that Noah, a husbandman, began to plant a vineyard. Take note of yet another example of the instrumental: Noe był rolnikiem (Noah was [as] a husbandman).

Napić się wina means to have a drink of wine; similarly, napić się wody means to have a drink of water. In verse 21, you read that Noah drank wine and became intoxicated. He was lying naked in his tent: leżał nagi w swym namiocie.

Wersety 22-23

  • ujrzeć (pf.), to see, to behold
  • nagość (f.), nakedness
  • poza (+ instr.), out(side) of
  • płaszcz (m.), cloak
  • trzymać (impf.), to hold on to
  • ramię (n.), arm
  • tył (m.), back
  • przykryć (pf.), to cover
  • odwracać (impf.) to turn round

Having seen his father’s nakedness, Ham, in verse 22, tells his brothers about it: powiedział o tym (he told about this) dwu swym braciom (to his two brothers). His brothers were outside the tent: byli poza namiotem.

From verse 23, review the following: wziąć (pf., to take), wejść (pf., to enter), twarz (f., face), widzieć (impf., to see). Shem and Japheth take a cloak: wzięli płaszcz, enter with their backs facing the tent: weszli tyłem do namiotu, and cover the nakedness of their father: przykryli nagość swego ojca.

Wersety 24-25

  • obudzić (pf.) się, to awaken
  • odurzenie (n.), intoxication
  • dowiedzieć (pf.) się, to find out
  • młodszy, younger
  • najniższy, lowest
  • sługa (m.), servant

In verse 24, you read that Noah awakens (awaken is a euphemism here for sober up): Noe obudził się (Noah awakened) po odurzeniu (after his intoxication) winem (by wine). Młodszy (younger) is the comparative form of młody (young).

młody > młodszy > najmłodszy
young > younger > youngest

Noah curses Canaan in verse 25. Recall that przeklęty means cursed, damned. He also says: niech będzie (may he be) najniższym sługą ([as] the lowest servant) swych braci (of his brothers). Najniższy (lowest) is the superlative form of niski (low).

niski > niższy > najniższy
low > lower > lowest

Wersety 26-29

  • błogosławiony, blessed
  • i… i, both… and
  • przestrzeń (f.), space
  • zamieszkać (pf.), to settle, to dwell

Recall from Rdz 3:22 that wiek is a masculine noun, one of whose meanings is age. In verses 28 and 29, you read that Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood and died at the age of nine hundred and fifty years. You may wish to review Polish cardinal numbers.