Polish language series: Rdz 11, wieża Babel

You will now study the Polish text of the eleventh chapter of the book of Genesis. The first nine verses deal with wieża Babel (tower of Babel). Other subjects covered in this chapter include: potomkowie Sema (descendants of Shem); rodzina Abrama (family of Abram). In your study of verses 10-26, you will review Polish cardinal numbers.

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

Read Rdz 11

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 11. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Wersety 1-2

  • mowa (f.), language
  • czyli, that/which is to say
  • jednakowy, identical, the same
  • wędrować (impf.), to journey
  • napotkać (pf.), to come across
  • równina (f.), plain

Review: mieszkaniec (m., inhabitant), cały (entire), ziemia (f., earth, land), mieć (impf., to have), jeden (one, a single, the same), słowo (n., word), wschód (m., east), kraj (m., country, land), tam (there), zamieszkać (pf., to settle).

Verse 1: You come across a new Polish noun for language: the feminine mowa; this is in addition to the masculine język that you have already met. You also come across the neuter noun słowo again; this is the Polish word for word itself. Mieszkańcy całej ziemi (the inhabitants of the entire earth) mieli jedną mowę (used to have the same language), czyli jednakowe słowa (which is to say, the same words). The verb used here is the imperfective mieć: mieszkaniec miał (the inhabitant was having; the inhabitant used to have); mieszkańcy mieli (the inhabitants were having; the inhabitants used to have).

Verse 2: A gdy wędrowali ze wschodu (and as they journeyed [were journeying] from the east), napotkali równinę (they came across a valley) w kraju Szinear (in the land of Shinar) i tam zamieszkali (and there they settled).

Wersety 3-4

  • wyrabiać (impf.), to produce
  • cegła (f.), brick
  • wypalić (pf.), to burn
  • ogień (m.), fire
  • zamiast (+ gen.), instead of, in place of
  • zaprawa (f.), mortar
  • murarski, of brickwork
  • wierzchołek (m.), peak, tip
  • sięgać (impf.), to reach for

Review: mówić (impf., to say), jeden (one), drugi (second; the other), chodzić (impf., to go, to walk), kamień (m., stone), smoła (f., pitch, tar), zbudować (pf., to construct, to create), miasto (n., town, city), wieża (f., tower), niebo (n., heaven, sky), w ten sposób (thus, in this manner), uczynić (pf., to make, to do), znak (m., sign), rozproszyć się (pf., to scatter oneself), cały (entire), ziemia (f., earth, land).

Verse 3: I mówili jeden do drugiego: and they said (were saying) to one another. Chodźcie is the second-person plural imperative of the imperfective verb chodzić; it can be taken here as meaning come on, go to. You also find two first-person plural imperatives in this verse: wyrabiajmy (let us produce) and wypalmy (let us burn). Chodźcie, wyrabiajmy cegłę i wypalmy ją w ogniu: go to, let us produce brick and let us burn it in the fire. Zaprawa murarska is Polish for mortar: a gdy już (and once) mieli cegłę (they had [were having] brick) zamiast kamieni (in place of stone) i smołę (and pitch) zamiast zaprawy murarskiej […] (in place of mortar).

Verse 4: Chodźcie, zbudujemy sobie miasto i wieżę (go to, we will build ourselves a city and tower), której wierzchołek będzie sięgał nieba (whose tip will reach [will be reaching] the heaven). The sense of znak as used here in the Polish seems to suggest that the tower would serve as a tall sign that would guide men from getting lost and scattering themselves: i w ten sposób (and in this manner; and thus) uczynimy sobie znak (we will make ourselves a sign), abyśmy się nie rozproszyli po całej ziemi (in order that we not scatter ourselves throughout the earth; lest we scatter ourselves over the entire earth).

Wersety 5-9

  • zstąpić (pf.), to descend, to come down
  • budować (impf.), to build, to construct
  • przyczyna (f.), reason
  • przyszłość (f.), future
  • nic, nothing
  • niemożliwy, impossible
  • zamierzyć (pf.), to intend
  • zejść (pf.), to go down
  • pomieszać (pf.), to confound, to stir
  • rozumieć (impf.), to understand
  • dokończyć (pf.), to finish, to complete
  • budowa (f.), building, construction

Review: niebo (n., heaven, sky), zobaczyć (pf., to see), miasto (n., city, town), człowiek (m., man; pl., ludzie), jeden (one, a single, the same), lud (m., people), mowa (f., language), zacząć (pf., to start, to begin), zatem (and so, therefore), cokolwiek (whatever, everything that), uczynić (pf., to do, to make), więc (so, therefore), język (m., language), w ten sposób (in this manner, thus), rozproszyć (pf., to scatter), stamtąd (from there), powierzchnia (f., expanse, surface, face), ziemia (f., earth, land), dlatego (for this reason, therefore), nazwać (pf., to call, to name), bowiem (for, because), mieszkaniec (m., inhabitant).

Verse 5: A Pan zstąpił z nieba (and the Lord came down from the heaven), by zobaczyć to miasto i wieżę (to see this city and tower), które budowali ludzie (which men were building).

Verse 6: Recall that rzekł (he said) is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb rzec (to say). The Lord says: są oni jednym ludem (they are one people) i wszyscy mają jedną mowę (and all have one language), i to jest przyczyną (and this is the reason), że zaczęli budować (they they have begun to build). The Lord continues: a zatem w przyszłości (and so in the future) nic nie będzie dla nich niemożliwe (nothing will be impossible for them), cokolwiek zamierzą uczynić (whatever they intend [will intend] to do).

Verse 7: You find two second-person plural imperatives: zejdźmy (let us go down) and pomieszajmy (let us confound). Zejdźmy więc i pomieszajmy tam ich język: let us therefore go down and confound their language there. Aby jeden nie rozumiał drugiego: in order that the one not understand the other.

Verse 8: W ten sposób (thus) Pan rozproszył ich (the Lord scattered them) stamtąd (from there) po całej powierzchni ziemi (over the entire face of the earth), i tak (and so) nie dokończyli budowy (they did not complete construction) tego miasta (of this city).

Verse 9: Nazwano (from the perfective verb nazwać) is the impersonal past: dlatego to nazwano je Babel (it is for this reason that it was named [that one named it] Babel); je stands in for the neuter miasto. Tam bowiem Pan pomieszał mowę mieszkańców całej ziemi: for there the Lord confounded the language of the inhabitants of the entire earth. Stamtąd też Pan rozproszył ich po całej powierzchni ziemi: from there the Lord also scattered them over the entire face of the earth.

Wersety 10-26

Review: potomek (m., descendant), mieć x lat (impf., to be x years old), urodzić się (pf., to be born), potop (m., flood), żyć (impf., to live), syn (m., son), córka (f., daughter), przeżyć (pf., to live, to survive).

In your reading of these verses, you may wish to review the notes for Rdz 5; the language used in that chapter is identical to that of the current verses. Review also: How to count in Polish.

Verse 10: Ci są potomkowie Sema: these are the descendants of Shem. Gdy Sem miał sto lat (when Shem was one hundred years old [was having one hundred years]), urodził mu się syn (a son was born to him), Arpachszad (Arpachshad), w dwa lata po potopie (two years after the flood).

Verse 11: Po urodzeniu się Arpachszada (after the birth of Arpachshad) Sem żył pięćset lat (Shem lived [was living] five hundred years) i miał synów i córki (and he begot sons and daughters).

Verse 12: Arpachszad (Arpachshad), przeżywszy trzydzieści pięć lat (having lived thirty-five years), miał syna Szelacha (begot his son Shelah).

Verse 13: Czterysta trzy lata: four hundred and three years.

Verse 14: Szelach: Shelah. Trzydzieści lat: thirty years.

Verse 15: Czterysta trzy lata: four hundred and three years.

Verse 16: Eber: Eber. Trzydzieści cztery lata: thirty-four years. Peleg: Peleg.

Verse 17: Czterysta trzydzieści lat: four hundred and thirty years.

Verse 18: Trzydzieści lat: thirty years. Reu: Reu.

Verse 19: Dwieście dziewięć lat: two hundred and nine years.

Verse 20: Trzydzieści dwa lata: thirty-two years. Serug: Serug.

Verse 21: Dwieście siedem lat: two hundred and seven years.

Verse 22: Trzydzieści lat: thirty years. Nachor: Nahor.

Verse 23: Dwieście lat: two hundred years.

Verse 24: Dwadzieścia dziewięć lat: twenty-nine years. Terach: Terah.

Verse 25: Sto dziewiętnaście lat: one hundred and nineteen years.

Verse 26: Siedemdziesiąt lat: seventy years. Urodzili mu się synowie: Abram, Nachor i Haran: {these} sons were born to him: Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Wersety 27-32

  • zemrzeć (pf.), to die
  • chaldejski, Chaldean
  • niepłodny, barren
  • wnuk (m.), grandson
  • synowa (f.), daughter-in-law
  • wyruszyć (pf.), to leave, to set out
  • udać się (pf.), to go, to proceed
  • przyjść (pf.), to arrive, to come
  • osiedlić się (pf.), to settle
  • doczekać (pf.), to live out, to reach

Review: dzieje (pl., history), potomek (m., descendant), ojciec (m., father), jeszcze (yet, still), życie (n., life), kraj (m., land, country), urodzić się (pf., to be born), wziąć (pf., to take), żona (f., wife), imię (n., name), córka (f., daughter), drugi (second), więc (so, therefore), potomstwo (n., offspring), syn (m., son), czyli (which is to say), jednak (however).

Verse 27: Oto dzieje potomków Teracha: this is the history of the descendants of Terah. Terach był ojcem Abrama, Nachora i Harana: Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran był ojcem Lota: Haran was the father of Lot.

Verse 28: Haran zmarł jeszcze za życia Teracha, swego ojca: Haran died yet in the life of Terah, his father. W kraju, w którym się urodził: in the land in which he was born. W Ur chaldejskim: in the Chaldean Ur.

Verse 29: Abram i Nachor wzięli sobie żony: Abram and Nahor took wives unto themselves. Imię żony Abrama było Saraj, imię zaś żony NachoraMilka: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, whereas the name of Nahor’s wife (was) Milcah. The instrumental imieniem (from the nominative imię) is be understood as by the name {of}: była to córka Harana (she was [it was she] the daughter of Haran), który miał jeszcze drugą córkę (who begot yet a second daughter) imieniem Jiska (by the name {of} Iscah).

Verse 30: Saraj była niepłodna (Sarai was barren), nie miała więc potomstwa (she therefore had no offspring).

Verse 31: Terach (Terah), wziąwszy z sobą swego syna Abrama (having taken with him his son Abram), Lotasyna Harana (Lot — the son of Haran), czyli swego wnuka (which is to say, his grandson), i Saraj, swą synową (and Sarai, his daughter-in-law), żonę Abrama (the wife of Abram), wyruszył z nimi (set out with them) z Ur chaldejskiego (from the Chaldean Ur), aby się udać do kraju Kanaan (to go to the land of Canaan). Gdy jednak przyszli do Charanu, osiedlili się tam: but when they arrived at Haran, they settled there.

Verse 32: Terah died in Haran at the age of two hundred and five: Terach doczekał dwustu i pięciu lat życia (Terah lived out two hundred and five years of life). Zmarł w Charanie: he died in Haran.