Polish language series: Rdz 15, Ja jestem twoim obrońcą

In the Polish version of the fifteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, or Rdz 15, the subject matter is zapowiedź licznego potomstwa i przymierze (announcement of numerous offspring and the covenant). You may need to review the following: zapowiedź (f., announcement), liczny (numerous), potomstwo (n., offspring), przymierze (n., covenant). As for the meaning of the Polish Ja jestem twoim obrońcą in the title of this post, you will discover its meaning in the notes for the first verse below.

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Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.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

  • wydarzenie (n.), occurrence, event, incident
  • podczas (+ gen.), during
  • widzenie (n.), vision
  • obawiać (impf.) się, to be afraid
  • obrońca (m.), protector, defender
  • nagroda (f.), reward, prize
  • sowity, ample, lavish
  • kres (m.), end, limit
  • przyszły, future
  • spadkobierca (m.), heir
  • majętność (f.), fortune

Review: powiedzieć (pf., to say), skoro (since, given that, seeing that), zbliżać się (impf., to draw near), życie (n., life), potomek (m., descendant).

In verse 1, you read that God spoke to Abram in a vision: podczas widzenia. Po tych wydarzeniach, the text by which this verse begins, is to be understood as following these events, after these occurrences, etc. In the remainder of this first verse, God tells Abram to have no fear for he is his defender: Ja jestem twoim obrońcą (I am your defender, I am your protector). Recall that Polish uses the instrumental case in constructions of the sort; this use of the instrumental might be likened to the as of English: I am (as) your protector.

You may wish to review the declension of Polish possessive pronouns, such as twój, which you find in verse 1 as the instrumental twoim.

Note how God addresses Abram in verse 1: Abramie ([oh] Abram). Abram’s name is inflected here for the vocative case. You find more examples of the vocative in verse 2, when Abram calls out to God: o Panie (oh Lord), mój Boże (my God).

After God tells Abram that his reward will be ample, Abram says, in verse 2: na cóż mi ona; by this, Abram makes an objection, as in what is it to me. He then goes on to say: skoro zbliżam się do kresu mego życia (given that I am drawing near to the end of my life), nie mając potomka (not having a descendant). The masculine noun Damasceńczyk means Damascan. In the remainder of verse 2, Abram says that his future heir is Eliezer the Damascan.

Wersety 3-5

  • dziedziczyć (impf.), to inherit
  • zdołać (pf.), to manage, to succeed

Review: ponieważ (because), zrodzić (pf., to beget), sługa (m., servant), zostać (pf., to become), usłyszeć (pf., to hear), słowo (n., word), lecz (but), pochodzić (impf., to descend), polecić (pf., to instruct, to command), wyjść (pf., to exit, to come out), namiot (m., tent), spojrzeć (pf., to look), policzyć (pf., to count), gwiazda (f., star), dodać (pf., to add), liczny (numerous).

In verse 3, Abram continues to speak of Eliezer, saying that the servant born in his house (u mnie, at my place, in my house), that is, Eliezer, is the one that becomes his heir. Ten właśnie zrodzony u mnie sługa mój is to be understood as this very slave of mine begotten in my house. It can be understood literally as: ten właśnie (this very) zrodzony u mnie (begotten at my place) sługa mój (my slave; slave mine).

God replies in verse 4: nie on będzie twoim spadkobiercą (it is not him who will be your heir), lecz ten po tobie dziedziczyć będzie (but the one after you will inherit), który od ciebie będzie pochodził (who will descend from you).

In verse 5, God commands Abram: spójrz na niebo i policz gwiazdy (look at the heaven and count the stars), jeśli zdołasz to uczynić (if you will manage to do this; that is, if you can). Of course, Abram will not be able to count the stars; God says: tak liczne będzie twoje potomstwo (your offspring will be just as numerous).

Wersety 6-8

  • uwierzyć (pf.), to believe
  • poczytać (pf.), to consider
  • zasługa (f.), credit, merit
  • wywieść (pf.), to take out, to lead out
  • własność (f.), ownership
  • upewnić (pf.) się, to ascertain

Review: chaldejski (Chaldean), otrzymać (pf., to receive).

Abram believed what God had said, and God saw this as being to his merit: Pan poczytał mu to za zasługę (verse 6). In verse 7, God says: Ja jestem Pan, który ciebie wywiodłem z Ur chaldejskiego (I am the Lord who led you out of the Chaldean Ur), aby ci dać ten oto kraj na własność (in order to give you this very land in ownership).

Verse 8 begins: a na to Abram. This is to be understood as meaning and to this Abram (said). In the remainder of the verse, Abram asks how he can be certain of the fulfilment of the promise.

Wersety 9-11

  • trzyletni, three-year-old
  • jałowica (f.), heifer (young cow)
  • koza (f.), goat
  • baran (m.), ram
  • nadto, furthermore
  • synogarlica (f.), ring dove, turtle dove
  • poprzerąbywać (impf.), to chop
  • połowa (f.), half
  • przerąbać (pf.), to chop
  • ułożyć (pf.), to place, to put down
  • naprzeciw (+ gen.), opposite
  • porozcinać (impf.), to cut (open)
  • zlatywać (impf.) się, to flock, to come flying
  • drapieżny, predatory
  • odpędzić (pf.), to repel, to drive away

Review: wybrać (pf., to choose), gołębica (f., dove, pigeon), wzdłuż (lengthways, along the length), część (f., part, share, portion), ptak (m., bird), mięso (n., meat), zacząć (pf., to start, to begin), ptactwo (n., fowl).

Work through the text of verse 9 with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.

From Rdz 13:17, you will perhaps recall the following vocabulary: wzdłuż (lengthways, along the length), wszerz (breadthways, along the breadth). In that verse, you read: wstań i przejdź ten kraj wzdłuż i wszerz (arise and traverse this land lengthways and breadthways). In verse 10 now of the current chapter, you read: Abram poprzerąbywał je wzdłuż na połowy. From this, you will understand that he cut the gathered animals lengthways into halves. You then read that he placed the chopped portions opposite one another: przerąbane części ułożył jedną naprzeciw drugiej.

From verse 11, ptactwo drapieżne (literally, predatory fowl) is to be understood as referring to birds of prey. Abram drove them away when they came in for the meat of the cut animals.

Wersety 12-14

  • słońce (n.), sun
  • chylić (impf.) się, to go down
  • zapaść (pf.), to sink
  • opanować (pf.), to seize, to grip
  • uczucie (n.), feeling
  • lęk (m.), fear
  • ogarnąć (pf.), to seize, to grip
  • przebywać (impf.), to sojourn, to abide
  • przybysz (m.), stranger, outsider
  • ciemiężyć (impf.), to oppress
  • zesłać (pf.), to send (from heaven)
  • zasłużony, just, due, deserved

Review: zachód (m., west), głęboki (deep), sen (m., sleep), wielki (great, large), ciemność (f., darkness), wiedzieć (impf., to know), dobrze (well), niewolnik (m., slave), (until), wreszcie (after all, at last), kara (f., punishment), naród (m., nation), dobytek (m., livestock; possessions).

With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, work through the text of verse 12. Note the following: ku zachodowi translates literally as towards the west; jak gdyby means as if, as though. You may wish to review the cardinal points in Polish; see the notes for verse 8 on the linked page.

This is not the first time you are encountering the Polish for deep sleep, which is głęboki sen. You may recall having met it near the beginning of your study, in Rdz 2:21, when God induced a deep sleep in Adam before taking one of his ribs.

In verse 13, you find the second-person singular imperative wiedz, from the imperfective verb wiedzieć. Wiedz o tym dobrze, iż means know about this well that or know of this well that; in other words, know well that. In the remainder of the verse, you read what it is that Abram is to know well: his descendants will sojourn in a land that is not theirs and where they will be oppressed for four hundred years.

God continues, in verse 14: aż wreszcie (until at last) ześlę zasłużoną karę na ten naród (I shall send down a deserved punishment unto this nation). Którego będą niewolnikami means of whom they (the descendants of Abram) will be slaves; these descendants will come out the land with a great deal of possessions.

Wersety 15-21

  • przodek (m.), ancestor, forefather
  • pokój (m.), peace
  • późny, late, advanced
  • starość (f.), old age
  • zejść (pf.), to go down
  • grób (m.), grave, tomb
  • pokolenie (n.), generation
  • dopełnić (pf.) się, to fill oneself
  • miara (f.), measure
  • niegodziwość (f.), wickedness, iniquity
  • zajść (pf.), to set
  • mrok (m.), darkness
  • nieprzenikniony, impenetrable
  • dym (m.), smoke
  • jakby, as if, as though
  • wydobywać (impf.) się, to emanate
  • piec (m.), furnace, oven, kiln
  • niby, as if, as though
  • goreć (impf.), to burn, to glow
  • pochodnia (f.), torch
  • przesunąć (pf.) się, to move, to pass

Review: odejść (pf., to leave, to depart), powrócić (pf., to return, to come back), czwarty (fourth), nastać (pf., to come about), ukazać się (pf., to appear), ogień (m., fire), zwierzę (n., animal), zawrzeć (pf., to establish, to contract), przymierze (n., covenant), rzeka (f., river), egipski (Egyptian).

In verse 15, you find two second-person singular, perfective future tense forms: odejdziesz (you will leave) and zejdziesz (you will go down). You read that Abram will depart to his forefathers in peace (w pokoju) and go down to his grave in an advanced old age. The Polish for advanced old age is późna starość.

In verse 16, you read that it is only in the fourth generation that Abram’s descendants will return; the “measure of iniquity” (that is, the amount or degree of wickedness) of the Amorites had yet to become full.

From the beginning of verse 17, a kiedy słońce zaszło i nastał mrok nieprzenikniony translates as and when the sun set and impenetrable darkness came about. The verb used here for to set is the perfective zajść.

Verses 19 and 20 mention the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.