Polish language series: Rdz 18, Bóg w gościnie u Abrahama

In the eighteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, or Rdz 18, you will study the Polish text as it relates to the following subject matter: Bóg w gościnie u Abrahama (God visits Abraham). The feminine noun gościna means visit. W gościnie (locative) can be understood literally as in visit, whereas u Abrahama (genitive) translates literally as at Abraham.

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 18, you must access the verses on biblia.deon.pl below:

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Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

Werset 1

  • siedzieć (impf.), to sit, to be seated
  • najgorętszy, hottest

Review: ukazać się (pf., to appear), dąb (m., oak), wejście (n., entrance), namiot (m., tent), pora (f., time), dzień (m., day).

In this first verse of the chapter, you read that God appeared unto Abraham near the oaks of Mamre when he was sitting in the door of his tent at the hottest time of the day.

If you have not already done so, learn the names of the Polish grammatical cases in Polish itself. If you are consulting declensions in a reference work written in Polish, you will need to be familiar with them. Starting with this post, the Polish names will be used more frequently in these notes:

  • mianownik (m.), nominative
  • dopełniacz (m.), genitive
  • celownik (m.), dative
  • biernik (m.), accusative
  • narzędnik (m.), instrumental
  • miejscownik (m.), locative
  • wołacz (m.), vocative

In this first verse, you find the celownik used in Abrahamowi (unto Abraham). The plural of the narzędnik is used in pod dębami (near the oaks). You find the dopełniacz used in both u wejścia (at the entrance) and do namiotu (to the tent). You find the miejscownik in w najgorętszej porze (at the hottest time), and the dopełniacz in dnia (of the day).

Gdy ten siedział is to be understood as meaning when he was sitting; more literally, it translates as when this (one) was sitting, where this one refers back to Abraham. You might better understand this one here in the sense of the latter.

Najgorętszy (hottest) is the superlative of the adjective gorący (hot).

gorący > gorętszy > najgorętszy
hot > hotter > hottest

You have encountered a few other comparatives and superlatives in your study thus far (and will encounter yet another in verse 6 ahead):

stary > starszy > najstarszy
old > older > oldest

niski > niższy > najniższy
low > lower > lowest

Wersety 2-3

  • dostrzec (pf.), to perceive, to detect
  • podążyć (pf.), to hasten
  • pokłon (m.), bow, obeisance
  • darzyć (impf.), to grant, to bestow
  • życzliwość (f.), kindness
  • raczyć (impf.), to be so kind as to
  • omijać (impf.), to shun, to dismiss

Review: spojrzeć (pf., to look), ludzie (pl., people), naprzeciw (+ gen., opposite), ujrzeć (pf., to see, to behold), spotkanie (n., meeting), oddać (pf., to grant, to yield), sługa (m., servant).

Having looked up, as you read in verse 2, Abraham sees three men before him. (They are, in fact, not men but angels.) He hastens from the door of the tent to go meet them. Trzech (from trzy, three) is the masculine personal form of the accusative: dostrzegł trzech ludzi (he perceived three people, he saw three men). Na ich spotkanie can be understood as meaning to go meet them (literally, unto their meeting). In the remainder of verse 2, you read: a oddawszy im pokłon do ziemi (and having bowed to the ground before them; literally, and having rendered them obeisance unto the ground).

In verse 3, you find the wołacz in o Panie (oh Lord). Note that Abraham is not addressing God here, but one of the three men. Racz nie omijać Twego sługi can be understood as meaning be so kind as to not shun your servant. Racz is the second-person singular imperative of the imperfective verb raczyć (to be so kind as to).

You may wish to review the declension of Polish possessive pronouns; if you have already studied these, you may remember that the masculine personal accusative form twego found here in the Bible is a variant of twojego.

Wersety 4-5

  • przynieść (pf.), to bring
  • trochę, a little, a bit of
  • obmyć (pf.), to wash
  • noga (f.), foot
  • nieco, a little, a bit of
  • pokrzepić (pf.) się, to fortify oneself
  • zanim, before
  • dalej, on(wards)
  • przechodzić (impf.), to pass, to traverse

Review: woda (f., water), odpocząć (pf., to rest), drzewo (n., tree), pójść (pf., to go), wziąć (pf., to take), chleb (m., bread), skoro (since, given that), koło (+ gen., near), uczynić (pf., to make, to do), powiedzieć (pf., to say).

Abraham offers hospitality to his angel visitors in the form of water, bread and feet washing. You read: przyniosę trochę wody (I shall bring a little water) and pójdę wziąć nieco chleba (I shall go to fetch [take] a little bread). Note the use of the dopełniacz in trochę wody (a little [a bit of] water) and nieco chleba (a little [a bit of] bread). Przyniosę (I shall bring) and pójdę (I shall go) are first-person singular perfective future tense forms.

In verse 5, after offering to fetch bread, Abraham says: abyście się pokrzepili (so that you may fortify yourselves), zanim pójdziecie dalej (before you go onwards; that is, before you continue on your way).

Uczyń is the second-person singular imperative of the perfective verb uczynić. Uczyń tak, jak powiedziałeś means do as you have said. By this, the visitor tells Abraham to carry out the things that he has offered to do.

Wersety 6-8

  • spiesznie, quickly, hurriedly
  • prędko, quickly, hurriedly
  • zaczynić (pf.), to knead
  • ciasto (n.), dough
  • najczystszy, finest, purest
  • mąka (f.), flour
  • podpłomyk (m.), flat bread
  • tłusty, fat
  • cielę (n.), calf
  • szybko, quickly, hurriedly
  • przyrządzić (pf.), to prepare
  • twaróg (m.), cheese curd
  • mleko (n.), milk

Review: miara (f., measure), zrobić (pf., to make), trzoda (f., herd), wybrać (pf., to choose), piękny (fine), dać (pf., to give), postawić (pf., to place, to put), jeść (impf., to eat), stać (impf., to stand).

Recall that poszedł is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb pójść. Abraham poszedł, from the beginning of verse 6, means Abraham went. You read that Abraham went quickly into the tent to speak to Sarah.

From verse 6, zaczyń and zrób are second-person singular imperatives: zaczyń ciasto (knead flour), zrób podpłomyki (make flat bread[s]). In this same verse, najczystszy (finest, purest) is the superlative form of czysty (fine, pure). You find it used in its feminine form of the singular genitive najczystszej. Z trzech miar najczystszej mąki means from three measures of the finest flour.

czysty > czystszy > najczystszy
fine, pure > finer, purer > finest, purest

In verse 7, you find the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense podążył; you will recall from verse 2 that the perfective verb podążyć means to hasten. In this verse, you read that Abraham rushed to his herd and chose a fat, fine calf. He then gave this calf to the servant: dał je słudze (he gave it to the servant), so that it could be prepared.

From verse 8, przyrządzone cielę means the prepared calf. You read that Abraham placed the curds, milk and prepared calf before the men: postawił przed nimi. In the remainder of the verse, jedli is the masculine, third-person plural of the past tense of the imperfective verb jeść. You read: a gdy oni jedli (and when they were eating), stał przed nimi pod drzewem (he stood before them under the tree). Abraham honoured his visitors by standing whilst they ate so as to wait upon them.

Wersety 9-11

  • znów, again
  • przysłuchiwać (impf.) się, to listen in
  • tuż, almost
  • podeszły, ripe, advanced (in years)
  • miewać (impf.), to have, to get (periodically)
  • przypadłość (f.), indisposition, affliction
  • właściwy, characteristic, proper

Review: zapytać (pf., to ask), żona (f., wife), odpowiedzieć (pf., to reply), oto (behold), rok (m., year), wrócić (pf., to return), wiek (m., age), toteż (and so, therefore), kobieta (f., woman).

The visitors ask Abraham, in verse 9, where his wife is. Zapytali go means they asked him. Abraham responds that she is in the tent.

From verse 10, jeden z nich means one of them. Rzekł mu [jeden z nich], then, means one of them said to him. As for o tej porze za rok, this can be understood as meaning at this time next year, in a year’s time, etc. One of the visitors tells Abraham that when he returns to him in a year, Sarah will have a son. Wrócę do ciebie means I shall return unto you.

In the remainder of verse 10, you read that Sarah was listening from the entrance of the tent. Of the entrance, you read: [które było tuż] za Abrahamem (which was almost behind Abraham). In other words, Sarah was listening to the conversation from just behind Abraham at the tent door.

Abraham and Sarah, as you read in verse 11, were old indeed: byli w bardzo podeszłym wieku (they were in a very advanced age). Of Sarah, you read that she no longer menstruated; this is expressed in the text in a euphemistic manner: Sara nie miewała przypadłości właściwej kobietom (Sarah was not getting the indisposition proper to women). The imperfective miewać conveys the sense of getting something on a regular basis, such as menstruations, headaches, etc.

Wersety 12-15

  • uśmiechnąć (pf.) się, to smile
  • przekwitnąć (pf.), to wither
  • rozkosz (f.), delight, pleasure
  • starzec (m.), old man, elder
  • śmiać (impf.) się, to laugh
  • myśleć (impf.), to think
  • naprawdę, really, truly
  • zestarzeć (pf.) się, to grow old, to age
  • zaprzeć (pf.) się, to deny
  • wcale nie, not at all
  • przerażenie (n.), dread, terror

Review: pomyśleć (pf., to think), doznawać (impf., to experience, to meet with), mąż (m., husband), dlaczego (why), móc (impf., to be able, may), rodzić (impf., to bear), niemożliwy (impossible), mówić (impf., to say), ogarnąć (pf., to seize, to grip).

Sarah smiles to herself at the idea that she should bear a child at her age. She thinks: teraz, gdy przekwitłam (now that I have withered), mam doznawać rozkoszy (I should have pleasure; literally, I have to experience pleasure), i mój mąż starzec (and my husband an old man)? The pleasure of which Sarah speaks is that of bringing up a son.

In verse 13, God asks Abraham why Sarah laughs (dlaczego to Sara śmieje się) and thinks herself unable to have a son. God says, in verse 14: czy jest coś, co byłoby niemożliwe dla Pana (is there anything that would be impossible for the Lord)? Byłoby (it would be) is the neuter, third-person singular of the conditional of the imperfective verb być.

Sarah, gripped with fear, imagines that she can hide her laughing from God. In verse 15, she denies it (Sara zaparła się) and says: wcale się nie śmiałam (I was not laughing at all). God replies: nie, śmiałaś się (no, you were [indeed] laughing).

Wersety 16-19

  • skierować (pf.) się, to head (for)
  • zataić (pf.), to conceal
  • zamierzać (impf.), to intend
  • potężny, powerful
  • upatrzyć (pf.), to single out, to choose
  • nakazywać (impf.), to order, to command
  • ród (m.), household, family
  • przestrzegać (impf.), to adhere, to comply
  • przykazanie (n.), commandment, injunction
  • sprawiedliwie, justly
  • uczciwie, honestly
  • wypełnić (pf.), to execute, to fulfil
  • obiecać (pf.), to promise

Review: odejść (pf., to leave, to depart), iść (impf., to go), odprowadzić (pf., to escort, to march off), przecież (yet, though), stać się (pf., to become), ojciec (m., father), wielki (great, large), naród (m., nation), otrzymać (pf., to receive), błogosławieństwo (n., blessing), wszystek (all, every), lud (m., people), ziemia (f., earth), potomek (m., descendant), postępować (impf., to act, to behave), żeby (in order that).

The people or men spoken of in verse 16 are Abraham’s angel visitors. They leave and head for Sodom. You read: potem ludzie ci odeszli (then these men left) i skierowali się ku Sodomie (and headed towards Sodom). Abraham went with them (szedł z nimi) in order to escort them (aby ich odprowadzić) over part of their journey.

The Lord, in verse 17, says to himself: czyż miałbym zataić przed Abrahamem (shall I conceal from Abraham; literally, would I have to conceal before Abraham) to, co zamierzam uczynić (that which I intend to do)? Miałbym (I would have) is the first-person singular of the conditional of the imperfective verb mieć.

In verse 18, God reaffirms that Abraham will become the father of a great and powerful nation, and that all the people of the earth will receive a blessing through him. With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, work through verse 19, taking note of the meaning of the following: będzie nakazywał potomkom swym (he will be commanding his descendants), przestrzegając przykazań Pana (adhering to the injunction of the Lord).

Wersety 20-21

  • skarga (f.), complaint, grievance
  • głośno, loudly, in a loud voice
  • rozlegać (impf.) się, to resound, to reverberate
  • występek (m.), offence, crime
  • głosić (impf.), to proclaim, to announce
  • oskarżenie (n.), accusation
  • dojść (pf.), to reach
  • dowiedzieć (pf.) się, to find out

Review: mieszkaniec (m., inhabitant), ciężki (grievous, bad), chcieć (impf., to want), zobaczyć (pf., to see).

A complaint concerning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah has reached God in heaven. God says that he will go down to investigate whether or not the people have sinned according to the complaint. Work your way through these two verses with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.

In verse 20, występki is the plural of the nominative masculine występek. Recall from verse 19 that the imperfective verb postępować means to act, to behave; in verse 21, you find: czy postępują tak, jak głosi oskarżenie […] czy nie (whether they behave as the accusation proclaims or not). Note also the meaning of the following from verse 21: które do Mnie doszło (which reached me, which arrived unto me); dowiem się (I shall find out).

Wersety 22-25

  • wygubić (pf.), to destroy
  • sprawiedliwy (m.), just person
  • wespół z (+ instr.), along with
  • bezbożny (m.), godless person, impious person
  • przebaczyć (pf.), to pardon, to forgive
  • dopuścić (pf.), to permit, to let
  • niesprawiedliwie, unjustly

Review: strona (f., side, way), zbliżyć się (pf., to draw near), miasto (n., city, town), może (perhaps, maybe), zniszczyć (pf., to destroy), wzgląd (m., consideration, account), przez wzgląd na (out of consideration for, on account of), ów (that, the aforementioned), mieszkać (impf., to live), zginąć (pf., to perish), sędzia (m., judge), postąpić (pf., to behave, to act).

W stronę Sodomy, from verse 22, means towards Sodom. You read that the visitors headed for Sodom, whereas Abraham continued standing next to God: Abraham stał dalej przed Panem (Abraham stood on next to God).

From verse 23, zbliżywszy się do Niego means having drawn near to him (that is, to God). You are dealing here with the perfective zbliżyć się (to draw near), which you have encountered numerous times in your readings.

Recall from verse 17 that the imperfective zamierzać means to intend. In verse 23, Abraham asks God about his intentions: czy zamierzasz wygubić (do you intend to destroy) sprawiedliwych wespół z bezbożnymi (the just along with the impious)?

In verse 24, you find the miejscownik in w tym mieście (in this city; that is, in Sodom). Mieście is the locative inflection of miasto. Abraham makes an observation: może w tym mieście jest pięćdziesięciu sprawiedliwych (perhaps in this city there are fifty just); czy także zniszczysz to miasto (will you also destroy this city) i nie przebaczysz mu (and will you not pardon it) przez wzgląd na owych pięćdziesięciu sprawiedliwych (out of consideration for said fifty just), którzy w nim mieszkają (who live in it)? Note that pięćdziesięciu is the masculine personal form of pięćdziesiąt (fifty). You may wish to review Polish numbers.

Abraham tells God twice, in verse 25, to not commit such an act: nie dopuść do tego (do not let this happen). If this were to occur, he says, the just would perish along with the impious and become as them; to samo means the same. In the remainder of the verse, Abraham asks God if he who is judge over the entire earth would be able to act so unjustly. Mógłby (he would be able) is the masculine, third-person singular of the conditional of the imperfective verb móc.

Wersety 26-28

  • znowu, again
  • pozwolić (pf.), to permit, to let
  • ośmielić (pf.) się, to dare
  • choć, although
  • zabraknąć (pf.), to lack
  • brak (m.), lack

Review: odpowiedzieć (pf., to reply), jeżeli (if), znaleźć (pf., to find), pył (m., dust), proch (m., dust), gdyby (if), wśród (amongst), jeśli (if).

From verse 26, jeżeli znajdę means if I shall find. God says that if he finds fifty just in the city, he will pardon it on account of them. Recall from verse 24 that the perfective przebaczyć means to forgive, to pardon; przebaczę means I shall pardon. Note the use of the celownik following this verb.

Abraham, in verse 27, asks God to permit that he dare speak again. Pozwól, że means allow that, permit that. He asks to be permitted to speak again despite being nothing more than dust: choć jestem pyłem i prochem. The Hebrew uses the alliterative âphar va-êpher; the alliteration is achieved in the Polish through the use of pył and proch.

In verse 28, Abraham asks God if, amongst the fifty just, there were five lacking (that is, five unjust, resulting in forty-five just), he would still destroy the entire city. Z braku means in the absence of, with the lack of. God says that if he finds forty-five just, he will not destroy the city.

Wersety 29-33

  • odezwać (pf.) się, to speak, to be heard
  • dokonać (pf.), to execute, to commit
  • gniewać (impf.) się, to be angry
  • raz jeszcze, once more
  • skończyć (pf.), to end, to finish
  • rozmowa (f.), conversation

Review: słowo (n., word), zniszczenie (n., destruction), rzec (pf., to say), zapytać (pf., to ask).

From verse 29, znalazłoby się is the neuter, third-person singular of the conditional of the perfective znaleźć się (to be found). Abraham asks: a może znalazłoby się tam czterdziestu (and perhaps forty would be found there). By this, Abraham questions God regarding his intentions should he find only forty just in the city. God responds: nie dokonam zniszczenia (I shall not destroy; literally, I shall not commit destruction).

Abraham, in verse 30, continues to question God. Before his next question, he says: niech się nie gniewa Pan (may the Lord not be angry). Farther along, rzeknę means I shall say, from the perfective rzec. Work through the remainder of the verse, as well as through verses 31 and 32, where the language is mostly repetitive.

In the final verse of the chapter, you read that God ends the conversation, and the two part ways. Understand the following: skończywszy rozmowę (having ended the conversation), odszedł (he left), wrócił do siebie (he returned to his place).