Polish language series: Rdz 19, zniszczenie Sodomy i Gomory

In this post, you will study the Polish text of Rdz 19, or the nineteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, where the subject matter is zniszczenie Sodomy i Gomory (destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) and występek córek Lota (crime of Lot’s daughters). Review the following Polish vocabulary: zniszczenie (n., destruction), występek (m., offence, crime), córka (f., daughter).

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Read Rdz 19

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 19. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Wersety 1-2

  • brama (f.), gate
  • zajść (pf.), to drop in, to stop by
  • nocleg (m.), accommodation
  • rano, in the morning
  • dalszy, farther (more far)
  • spędzić (pf.), to spend, to pass

Review: anioł (m., angel), przybyć (pf., to arrive), wieczór (m., evening), siedzieć (impf., to sit, to be seated), ujrzeć (pf., to see, to behold), wyjść (pf., to exit, to go out), naprzeciw (+ gen., opposite), oddać pokłon (pf., to bow down), raczyć (pf., to be so kind as to), dom (m., house), sługa (m., servant), obmyć (pf., to wash), noga (f., foot), pójść (pf., to go), droga (f., way, road), noc (f., night), dwór (m., court).

In the first verse, you read that the two aforementioned angels (two of the three from the preceding chapter: Rdz 18) arrived in Sodom in the evening; wieczorem means in the evening. You read where Lot was when they arrived: siedział w bramie Sodomy (he was sitting at the gate of Sodom). In the remainder of the verse, you read that Lot saw them, went out unto them and took to the ground in deference before them.

In the second verse, Lot invites them to spend the night at his house. Raczcie zajść do domu sługi waszego na nocleg is to be understood as meaning be so kind as to stop in at your servant’s house for the night, where the sense of for the night is conveyed by na nocleg. You find the wołacz in panowie moi, when Lot addresses them as my lords.

Lot then tells them: obmyjcie sobie nogi (wash your feet) a rano pójdziecie w dalszą drogę (and in the morning you will go on your way; literally, farther way).

Dalszy (farther) is the comparative form of the adjective daleki (far).

daleki — dalszy — najdalszy

In the remainder of the second verse, the angels decline Lot’s offer and say that they will spend the night in the court (court, or dwór, is to be understood here as referring to the open space of the city — a square).

Wersety 3-5

  • usilnie, insistently
  • prosić (impf.), to ask, to invite, to beg
  • zgodzić (pf.) się, to agree, to consent
  • przygotować (pf.), to prepare
  • wieczerza (f.), supper
  • upiec (pf.), to bake
  • przaśny, unleavened
  • posilić (pf.) się, to eat
  • spoczynek (m.), rest, repose
  • otoczyć (pf.), to surround
  • wywołać (pf.), to call upon
  • poswawolić (pf.), to frolic, to play, to sport

Review: wejść (pf., to enter, to go in), polecić (pf., to instruct, to command), chleb (m., bread), zanim (before), udać się (pf., to go, to proceed), mieszkać (impf., to live), mężczyzna (m., man), młody (young), stary (old), strona (f., side), miasto (n., city, town), przyjść (pf., to arrive, to come), wyprowadzić (pf., to bring forth).

In verse 3, you read that Lot insisted that the visitors stay, and they finally accepted and went into the house. Supper was prepared and unleavened bread was baked.

In verse 4, the expression udać się na spoczynek can be understood as meaning to retire for the night. Before the visitors retired, the men of the entire city of Sodom surrounded the house. Understand the following portions of text: mieszkający w Sodomie mężczyźni (the men living in Sodom), ze wszystkich stron miasta (from all sides of the city; that is, from all over the city), otoczyli dom (they surrounded the house). As for młodzi (young) and starzy (old), these are plural masculine personal forms.

In verse 5, you read that the men of Sodom called upon Lot to ask where the visitors who had arrived at his place were. Tego wieczoru means this evening. They say: wyprowadź ich do nas (bring them forth unto us), abyśmy mogli z nimi poswawolić (so that we can frolic with them).

Wersety 6-8

  • zaryglować (pf.), to bar, to bolt
  • byle, providing that, so long as
  • czynić (impf.), to make, to do

Review: wejście (n., entrance), drzwi (pl., door), brat (m., brother), dopuszczać się (impf., to commit), występek (m., offence, crime), córka (f., daughter), żyć (impf., to maintain relations with; you have seen this verb before in the sense of to live), pozwolić (pf., to permit, to let), postąpić (pf., to behave, to act), podobać się (impf., to appeal, to be pleasing), bo przecież (for, because, for after all), dach (m., roof).

Lot attempts to fend off the men of Sodom who have come for his vistors. He offers his daughters who have not had relations with men.

From verse 6, you will understand zaryglowawszy za sobą drzwi as meaning having barred the door behind him.

In verse 7, Lot implores the Sodomites to not commit the crime that they have in mind. He addresses them: bracia moi, proszę was (my brothers, I pray you; I beg you). You find the wołacz in bracia moi.

mianownikbrat, bracia (pl.)
wołaczbracie, bracia (pl.)

In verse 8, Lot says that he has two daughters: mam dwie córki, who have not yet had carnal relations with a man: które jeszcze nie żyły z mężczyzną. He offers to bring the daughters out: pozwólcie, że je wyprowadzę do was (permit that I shall bring them forth unto you; that is, let me bring them to you).

The feminine form for two in Polish is dwie; its form in the biernik is also dwie.

mianownik — dwie córki
two daughters

biernik — mam dwie córki
I have two daughters

In the remainder of verse 8, Lot tells the men of Sodom: postąpicie z nimi, jak się wam podoba (you will behave with them as it pleases you; that is, do with them as you like). Bylebyście means providing that you, so long as you.

Wersety 9-11

  • krzyknąć (pf.), to shout, to yell
  • precz, away
  • śmieć (impf.), to dare, to venture
  • gorzej, worse
  • gwałtownie, vehemently, violently
  • przybliżyć (pf.) się, to draw near
  • wyważyć (pf.), to force in
  • wsunąć (pf.), to put forth
  • przyciągnąć (pf.), to pull
  • wnętrze (n.), inside, interior
  • porazić (pf.), to strike
  • ślepota (f.), blindness
  • na próżno, in vain
  • usiłować (impf.), to attempt, to try
  • odnaleźć (pf.), to find again

Review: odejść (pf., to leave, to depart), przybysz (m., stranger, outsider), rządzić (impf., to govern, to command), niż (than), rzucić się (pf., to throw oneself), inny (the other; inni, the others), ręka (f., hand), toteż (and so, therefore).

The Sodomites, in verse 9, shout at Lot to back off: odejdź precz (get away, leave). They remind him that he is but an outsider there: sam jest tu przybyszem (he is alone here as a stranger), and they object to his playing the judge: i śmie nami rządzić (and he dares to command us).

Gorzej (worse), also from verse 9, is the comparative form of the adverb źle (badly).

źle — gorzej — najgorzej

The Sodomites, after demonstrating their contempt for Lot, say that they will behave worse with him than with his visitors. In the remainder of verse 9, you then read that they threw themselves violently at Lot, whereas the other men amongst them drew near to force in the door. Lot is referred to as mąż; you have encountered this noun before in the sense of husband, but it is used here in the sense of man, which is a poetic usage.

In verse 10, the men who put forth their hand are Lot’s visitors, who are referred to as mężowie (this is the plural of mąż); like Lot, they are referred to by this poetic usage for man. Ci dwaj mężowie, then, means these two men (that is, Lot’s visitors). The visitors pull Lot into the house and shut the door.

In the first sentence of verse 11, the men of Sodom are also referred to as men, but by using mężczyzna, rather than mąż. (Mężczyzna, then, is reserved for the Sodomites, and mąż refers to Lot and his visitors.) You read that Lot’s visitors struck the Sodomites, young and old, with blindness. The subject of the first sentence of verse 11 is still ci dwaj mężowie. Of the second sentence, however, the subject is oni, which stands in for mężczyźni (that is, the Sodomites). Blinded, the Sodomites attempt in vain to find the door.

Wersety 12-14

  • zięć (m.), son-in-law
  • bliski (m.), near and dear person
  • zamiar (m.), intention
  • wzmóc (pf.), się, to intensify, to increase
  • posłać (pf.), to send
  • żartować (impf.), to jest, to joke

Review: ktokolwiek (anybody, whosoever), stąd (from here), zniszczyć (pf., to destroy), ponieważ (because), oskarżenie (n., accusation), przeciw (+ dat., against), przyszły (future), chodzić (impf., to walk, to go), jednak (however), myśleć (impf., to think).

With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, work through this grouping of verses. A few notes nonetheless to guide you:

In verse 12, the visitors tell Lot to bring out of the city all that are near and dear to him. Recall that mieście is the locative inflection of miasto. Wyprowadź stąd means bring (them) forth from here, from the perfective verb wyprowadzić. From verse 13, Pan posłał nas means the Lord sent us.

In verse 14, you read that Lot addresses his future sons-in-law who are to take his daughters as wives. He tells them that God will destroy the city, but they believed him to be jesting. In this verse, with both wyszedł (he went out) and wyjdźcie (go out; second-person plural imperative), you are dealing with the perfective verb wyjść (to exit, to go out). Also in this verse, chodźcie is the second-person plural imperative of the imperfective chodzić; it can be understood as come on then, get to, get a move on.

Wersety 15-17

  • zaczynać (impf.), to start, to begin
  • świtać (impf.), to dawn
  • przynaglać (impf.), to urge, to hasten
  • prędzej, hurry up, make haste
  • wina (f.), guilt, fault, sin
  • zwlekać (impf.), to linger, to delay
  • chwycić (pf.), to seize, to grasp
  • litować (impf.) się, to have mercy
  • wyciągnąć (pf.), to extricate, to pull out
  • uchodzić (impf.), to escape, to flee
  • ocalić (pf.), to save, to rescue
  • oglądać (impf.), to look
  • zatrzymywać (impf.) się, to stop, to linger
  • nigdzie, nowhere
  • szukać (impf.), to look for, to seek
  • schronienie (n.), shelter
  • inaczej, otherwise

Review: wziąć (pf., to take), zginąć (pf., to perish), wyprowadzić (pf., to bring forth), poza (+ acc., out of, beyond), życie (n., life), okolica (f., surroundings), góra (f., mount, mountain).

The angels tell Lot, in verse 15, to make haste. They instruct him to take his wife and daughters, in order that he not perish in the sin of the city. From this verse, understand the following: zaczynało świtać (dawn was breaking, the sun was rising; literally, it was starting to dawn); prędzej is used to tell someone to hurry up.

In verse 16, you read that Lot lingered. The angels grasp him, his wife and his daughters by the hand, and the Lord has mercy on him. The angels remove them from the city: wyciągnęli ich (they pulled them out), i wyprowadzili poza miasto (and brought them forth out of the city).

Rzekł jeden z nich, from verse 17, means one of them said (that is, one of the angels said). Uchodź is a second-person singular imperative meaning escape, flee, from the imperfective uchodzić. The angel says: nie oglądaj się za siebie (do not look behind yourself) and nie zatrzymuj się nigdzie w tej okolicy (do not stop anywhere in these surroundings; that is, do not linger about anywhere around here). He tells Lot to take shelter in the mountains lest he perish.

Wersety 18-19

  • łaska (f.), grace, mercy
  • wyświadczyć (pf.), to render, to show
  • ratować (impf.), to rescue, to save
  • dosięgnąć (pf.), to strike, to exact
  • nieszczęście (n.), calamity, misfortune

Review: darzyć (impf., to grant, to bestow), życzliwość (f., kindness, favour), uczynić (pf., to make, to do), większy (larger).

Lot says that he cannot flee to the mountains lest the calamity (that is, the impending destruction) strike him and he perish.

Learn the comparative and superlative form of wielki:

wielki — większy — największy

From verse 19, ratując mi życie means saving my life (literally, saving the life unto me).

Wersety 20-22

  • przychylać (impf.) się, to grant, to accord
  • prośba (f.), request
  • schronić (pf.) się, to take shelter

Review: w pobliżu (in the vicinity of, near), uciec (pf., to run away, to flee), choć (although), mały (small, little), znaleźć (pf., to find), szybko (quickly, hurriedly), dokonać (pf., to execute, to commit), zniszczenie (n., destruction), dopóki (until), dlatego (therefore), dać (pf., to give), nazwa (f., name).

From verse 20, mógłbym (I would be able) is the first-person singular of the conditional. Lot points out a small, nearby city to which he says that he can flee. In it, he says, he will find shelter: w nim znajdę schronienie.

God, in verse 21, responds by saying: przychylam się i do tej twojej prośby (I grant this request of yours). He says that he will not destroy the city of which Lot speaks and, in verse 22, tells him to take refuge there: schroń się w nim (take shelter in it). He also says: nie mogę dokonać zniszczenia (I cannot commit the destruction), dopóki tam nie wejdziesz (until you enter it). In other words, God will not perform his destruction until Lot has taken refuge in the city of which he speaks.

In the remainder of verse 22, you read that the city to which Lot fled was thus named Zoar: dlatego dano temu miastu nazwę Soar (therefore one gave unto this city the name Zoar).

Wersety 23-26

  • wzejść (pf.), to rise
  • siarka (f.), sulphur, brimstone
  • roślinność (f.), vegetation
  • obejrzeć (pf.) się, to look round
  • słup (m.), pillar

Review: słońce (n., sun), spuścić (pf., to release, to unleash), deszcz (m., rain), ogień (m., fire), mieszkaniec (m., inhabitant), iść (impf., to go, to walk), sól (m., salt).

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah finally occurs in this grouping of verses. From verse 23, słońce wzeszło już nad ziemią means the sun had already risen over the earth. In verse 24, God unleashes rain of sulphur and fire: deszcz siarki i ognia. In verse 26, you read that Lot’s wife was walking behind him (szła za nim) and became a pillar of salt when she looked round at the destruction.

Wersety 27-29

  • dokoła, all round
  • gęsty, thick, dense
  • topić (impf.), to melt
  • metal (m.), metal
  • niszczyć (impf.), to destroy
  • okoliczny, neighbouring, adjacent
  • ulec (pf.), to succumb, to undergo

Review: wstać (pf., to arise, to get up), rano (in the morning), udać się (pf., to go, to proceed), przedtem (before, previously), stać (impf., to stand), spojrzeć (pf., to look), w stronę (towards), obszar (m., area), zobaczyć (pf., to see), unosić się (impf., to waft, to rise into the air), dym (m., smoke), piec (m., furnace, kiln), przez wzgląd na (out of consideration for, on account of), zagłada (f., annihilation).

Abraham, in verse 27, goes to place where he had previously stood before the Lord. When he looks towards Sodom and Gomorrah, in verse 28, he sees thick smoke rising over the earth. The smoke is described thus: jak gdyby z pieca (as though from a kiln), w którym topią metal (in which they melt metal).

In verse 29, you read: przez wzgląd na Abrahama (on account of Abraham) ocalił Lota od zagłady ([God] saved Lot from the annihilation), jakiej uległy te miasta (with which these cities met; from which these cities succumbed).

Wersety 30-31

  • pieczara (f.), cave, cavern
  • wprawdzie, indeed, to be sure
  • właściwy, appropriate, proper

Review: bać się (impf., to be afraid, to fear), pozostawać (impf., to remain, to stay), ojciec (m., father), okolica (f., surroundings), przyjść (pf., to arrive, to come), sposób (m., manner).

Take note of the inflections in the following, from verse 30: wraz z dwiema swymi córkami (along with his two daughters). You read that Lot went out from Zoar because he feared living there.

In verse 31, the elder daughter addresses the younger. You read: rzekła starsza do młodszej (the elder said to the younger). You are dealing here with feminine comparative forms, the masculine equivalents of which are starszy (older, elder) and młodszy (younger), ultimately from the base forms stary (old) and młody (young).

stary — starszy — najstarszy
stara — starsza — najstarsza

młody — młodszy — najmłodszy
młoda — młodsza — najmłodsza

In rzekła starsza do młodszej, the subject is starsza and therefore nominative in form; młodszej is genitive in form because it follows do.

In the remainder of verse 31, the elder daughter says to the younger that their father is old indeed, and that there is not any man in the area who may come unto them in the manner appropriate to all (that is, that there is no man with whom they might have intercourse).

Wersety 32-33

  • upoić (pf.), to intoxicate
  • położyć (pf.) się, to lie down
  • kłaść (pf.) się, to lie down

Review: wino (n., wine), pójść (pf., to go), nawet (even), ani (neither, nor), wiedzieć (impf., to know), wstać (pf., to arise, to get up).

Verse 32 begins with chodź więc (come on then, get to then), where you will recognise chodź as being the second-person singular equivalent of chodźcie (second-person plural) encountered earlier. The elder daughter tells the younger of her plan: upoimy ojca naszego winem (we shall intoxicate our father with wine) i położymy się z nim (and we shall lie with him). Thus, she says, they will have offspring from their father.

In verse 33, you read that the daughters carry out their plan. Tej samej nocy means on that very night. As for starsza poszła i położyła się przy ojcu swoim, this means the elder went and lay down next to her father; this is a euphemistic way of saying that she engaged in intercourse.

In the remainder of verse 33, you read that their father was oblivious as to what was happening: on zaś nawet nie wiedział ani kiedy się kładła (whereas he was not even knowing [noticing] when she lay down), ani kiedy wstała (nor when she arose).

Wersety 34-38

  • nazajutrz, the following day
  • ostatni, last
  • sprawa (f.), matter
  • dzisiejszy, present, today’s

Review: spać (impf., to sleep), oba (both), brzemienny (pregnant), urodzić (pf., to bear), imię (n., name), praojciec (m., forefather), nazwać (pf., to call).

The following day, the elder tells the younger that it is now her turn to engage in the act with their father. From verse 34, understand: ostatniej nocy (last night), ja spałam z ojcem (I was sleeping with father), idź ty, i śpij z nim (you go and sleep with him), abyśmy obie (in order that we both). Obie is in nominative feminine plural form.

In verse 36, you read that both daughters get pregnant. Za sprawą swego ojca is to be understood as meaning as a result of their father.

Work through verses 37 and 38 regarding the sons Moab and Benammi to whom they give birth, and the Moabite and Ammonite descendants of these sons; these two final verses employ vocabulary and usages that you have already studied numerous times in your readings.