Polish language series: Rdz 21, narodziny Izaaka

In Rdz 21, or the twenty-first chapter of the book of Genesis, you will study the Polish text as it relates to the following subject matter: narodziny Izaaka, oddalenie Izmaela (birth of Isaac, dismissal of Ishmael) and przymierze Abrahama z Abimelekiem (Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech).

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 21, 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Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.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 1-5

  • okazać (pf.), to show
  • łaskawość (f.), graciousness, kindness
  • zapowiedzieć (pf.), to announce, to foretell
  • sędziwy, aged
  • wyznaczyć (pf.), to fix, to assign
  • przykazać (pf.), to tell

Review: wreszcie (after all, at last), obiecać (pf., to promise), brzemienny (pregnant), urodzić (pf., to bear; urodzić  się, to be born), właśnie (very same, exactly), czas (m., time), imię (n., name), obrzezać (pf., to circumcise), osiem (eight), dzień (m., day), sto (one hundred), rok (m., year).

In these first five verses, you read that Sarah bore a son to whom Abraham gave the name Isaac. Isaac was circumcised on the eighth day. When Isaac was born, Abraham was one hundred years old.

Review the language of the following:

Abraham obrzezał Izaaka, gdy ten miał osiem dni (Abraham circumcised Isaac when he [this one] was eight days old)

Abraham miał sto lat, gdy mu się urodził syn jego Izaak (Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born unto him)

The Polish for to be x years old, you will recall, is mieć x lat (literally, to have x years). Miał osiem dni and miał sto lat can be understood literally as he was having eight days and he was having one hundred years. Following osiem and sto, you find the genitive plural forms dni and lat. Following an age ending in dwa, trzy or cztery, the accusative plural is used instead. You may wish to consult the additional notes in Rdz 5 and Rdz 7.

From verse 2, w tym właśnie czasie, jaki Bóg wyznaczył is to be understood as meaning at the very same time that God had fixed; you will recall from Rdz 18 that God had announced Sarah’s future bearing of a son in one year’s time.

Wersety 6-7

  • śmiech (m.), laughter, laugh
  • dowiedzieć (pf.) się, to find out, to learn
  • przyczyna (f.), cause, reason
  • dodawać (impf.), to add
  • karmić (impf.), to suckle, to nurse
  • pierś (f.), breast

Review: powód (m., cause, reason), każdy (every), śmiać się (impf., to laugh), któż (who is it that, whosoever), ośmielić się (pf., to dare), dziecko (n., child),  jednak (however), mimo (in spite of, despite), podeszły (advanced in years), wiek (m., age), mąż (m., husband).

From verse 6, powód do śmiechu can be understood as meaning cause for laughter. Sarah says that God has given her reason to laugh. Farther along in the verse, każdy, kto się o tym dowie can be understood as all who learn of this, whoever hears of this. She says that whoever comes to learn of the childbirth will laugh on her account: z mej przyczyny (on my account, because of me, etc.).

Karmić piersią means to breastfeed. Related to this is karmienie piersią, meaning breastfeeding. Karmienie is a neuter noun. It is also possible to use only karmić, as in karmić dziecko (to nurse a child, to suckle a child).

From the end of verse 7, mimo podeszłego wieku mego męża means despite the advanced age of my husband.

Wersety 8-10

  • podrosnąć (pf.), to grow a little
  • odłączyć (pf.), to separate
  • wyprawić (pf.), to give (feast, party, etc.)
  • uczta (f.), feast
  • naśmiewać (impf.) się, to mock, to ridicule
  • wypędzić (pf.), to banish
  • współdziedzic (m.), co-heir

Review: widzieć (impf., to see), Egipcjanka (Egyptian woman), niewolnica (f., female servant, maidservant), wraz z (along with).

Odłączyć dziecko od piersi means to wean a child (literally, to separate a child from the breast). In verse 8, you read: dziecko podrosło (the child grew a little) i zostało odłączone od piersi (and got weaned). Note the use of the neuter forms podrosło, zostało and odłączone to agree with dziecko, a neuter noun.

Recall that zostać (to become) can be used to create a passive construction: zostało odłączone (it got weaned, was weaned), zostało wytępione (it got destroyed, was destroyed), została skażona (she got corrupted, was corrupted), został uprowadzony (he got taken captive, was taken captive), etc. Compare the agreements in the following, both examples of which appear in the eighth verse:

dziecko zostało odłączone od piersi (the child was weaned)dziecko is a neuter noun

Izaak został odłączony od piersi (Isaac was weaned)Isaak is a masculine proper noun

From verse 9, syn Egipcjanki Hagar is to be understood as the son of Hagar the Egyptian. In this same verse, you read that Sarah saw that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, was mocking Isaac: naśmiewa się z Izaaka (he was mocking Isaac, he was laughing at Isaac). For this reason, she tells Abraham, in verse 10, to banish Hagar and Ishmael. She also says: bo syn tej niewolnicy nie będzie współdziedzicem z synem moim Izaakiem (for the son of this maidservant shall not be co-heir with my son Isaac).

Wersety 11-13

  • powiedzenie (n.), saying, what was spoken
  • uznać (pf.), to acknowledge
  • wydawać (impf.) się, to seem, to appear
  • chłopiec (m.), boy, lad

Review: zły (evil), ze względu na (on account of), posłuchać (pf., to listen), nazwać (pf., to call), naród (m., nation).

Sarah’s proposal that Hagar and her son be banished is found to be grievous by Abraham, given his affection for Ishmael. From verse 11, to powiedzenie can be understood as referring to that which Sarah said in verse 10.

In verse 12, God speaks to Abraham: niechaj ci się nie wydaje złe (let it not seem evil to you) to, co Sara powiedziała (that which Sarah has said) o tym chłopcu i o twojej niewolnicy (about this boy and about your maidservant). He tells Abraham to listen to Sarah: posłuchaj jej (listen to her), for it is only in Isaac that his offspring shall be called.

From verse 13, study the instrumental usages: syna […] uczynię […] wielkim narodem (I shall make the son [Ishmael] a great nation) and jest on twoim potomkiem (he is your descendant).

Wersety 14-16

  • bukłak (m.), goat-skin receptacle
  • wkładać (impf.), to put, to place
  • bark (m.), shoulder
  • błąkać (impf.) się, to wander, to roam
  • opodal, nearby
  • donieść (pf.), to carry, to deliver
  • płakać (impf.), to cry

Review: nazajutrz (the following day), rano (in the morning), wziąć (pf., to take), chleb (m., bread), woda (f., water), wydalić (pf., to expel), pójść (pf., to go), pustynia (f., desert), zabraknąć (pf., to lack), ułożyć (pf., to place, to put down), krzew (m., shrub), odejść (pf., to leave, to depart), usiąść (pf., to sit down), daleko (far away), łuk (m., bow), patrzeć (impf., to look, to see), śmierć (f., death), siedzieć (impf., to sit, to be seated), zacząć (pf., to begin, to start), głośno (loudly, in a loud voice).

The bukłak in question in verse 14 was a vessel used to carry water, most likely made of goat skin. Farther along in the verse, wkładając jej na barki means placing on her shoulders. In the remainder of this verse, you read that Hagar left and wandered in the desert of Beersheba: poszła (she went) i błąkała się (and was wandering) po pustyni Beer-Szeby (about the desert of Beersheba).

From verse 15, a gdy zabrakło wody is to be understood as and when the water lacked, and when the water ran out. In the remainder of the verse, you read that Hagar sets her son down under a shrub. Then, in verse 16, you read: odeszła i usiadła opodal (she left and sat down nearby) tak daleko, jak łuk doniesie (as far as a bow delivers). In other words, she sat down from her son at a distance equal to that of the shot of a bow.

In the remainder of verse 16, Hagar says that she does not wish to see her son die: nie będę patrzała na śmierć dziecka (I shall not be looking upon the death of the child). She then begins to cry loudly.

Wersety 17-21

  • jęk (m.), moan, groan
  • napełnić (impf.), to fill
  • pić (impf.), to drink
  • otaczać (impf.), to surround
  • dorosnąć (pf.), to grow
  • łucznik (m.), archer
  • stale, constantly, forever

Review: usłyszeć (pf., to hear), anioł (m., angel), zawołać (pf., to summon), niebo (n., heaven), lękać się (impf., to be afraid, to fear), leżeć (impf., to lie), wstać (pf., to arise, to get up), podnieść (pf., to lift, to pick up), ręka (f., hand), otworzyć (pf., to open), oko (n., eye), ujrzeć (pf., to see), studnia (f., well), opieka (f., protection), mieszkać (impf., to live, to reside), sprowadzić (pf., to bring), egipski (Egyptian).

In verse 17, God hears the wails of the child and calls out to Hagar. He says to her: cóż ci to? (what is the matter?, what ails you?).

You find a number of second-person singular imperatives in verse 18: wstań, podnieś chłopca i weź go za rękę (arise, pick up the boy and take him into [your] hand). The verbs in question here are wstać, podnieść and wziąć.

In verse 19, Hagar finds water and gives it to her son. You read: Bóg otworzył jej oczy (God opened her eyes) i ujrzała studnię z wodą (and she saw a well with water); a ona poszła (and she went), napełniła bukłak wodą (she filled the goatskin with water) i dała chłopcu pić (and she gave to the boy to drink).

You find another example of the instrumental in verse 20: stał się łucznikiem (he became an archer).

You read, in verse 21, that Hagar brought a woman from the land of Egypt unto her son for him to marry. Study the difference between these nouns and adjectives related to Egyptians:

noun:
Egipcjanin
(m., Egyptian man)
Egipcjanka
(f., Egyptian woman)

adjective:
egipski
(m.)
egipska
(f.)
egipskie
(n.)

Wersety 22-23

  • dowódca (m.), commander, leader
  • wojsko (n.), army
  • pomagać (impf.), to help
  • przysięga (f.), oath
  • bliższy, nearer
  • dalszy, farther
  • dopuścić (pf.) się, to commit
  • zdrada (f.), betrayal
  • obejść (pf.) się, to treat
  • łaskawie, kindly
  • względem, in relation to, towards
  • gość (m.), guest

Review: czas (m., time), czynić (impf., to do, to make), złożyć (pf., to offer up), miejsce (n., place, spot), ani (neither, nor), postępować (impf., to behave, to act).

In nominative form, the name of the army commander mentioned in verse 22 is Pikol.

From verse 23, złożyć przysięgę is to be understood as to take an oath. Abimelech asks Abraham to swear that he will not betray him, and that he will behave towards Abimelech as Abimelech has behaved towards him.

The Polish of verse 23 is somewhat difficult; as such, rather exceptionally, I shall provide a translation of the entirety of the verse to help you make sense of it: złóż mi więc (offer up to me then) teraz tu na tym miejscu (now here in this place) przysięgę na Boga (an oath by God), że ani wobec mnie (that neither towards me), ani wobec mego potomstwa (nor towards my offspring) bliższego i dalszego (nearer and farther) nie dopuścisz się zdrady (you will [not] commit betrayal); że jak ja obszedłem się z tobą łaskawie (that just as I have treated you kindly), tak też i ty będziesz postępował (so too shall you be behaving) względem mnie i tej ziemi (towards me and this land), w której jesteś gościem (in which you are a guest).

Bliższy (nearer) is the comparative form of the adjective bliski (near).

bliski > bliższy > najbliższy
near > nearer > nearest

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

daleki > dalszy > najdalszy
far > farther > farthest

The sense of “offspring nearer and farther” is that of immediate descendants (sons = nearer) and posterity (sons of sons = farther).

Wersety 24-26

  • równocześnie, simultaneously
  • wymówka (f.), reproach, reproof
  • przemoc (f.), violence
  • dopiero teraz, just now
  • dowiadywać (impf.) się, to find out about

Review: przysięgać (impf., to swear, to take an oath), zrobić (pf., to make, to do), zabrać (pf., to take away), wiedzieć (impf., to know), znać (impf., to know, to be acquainted).

With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, work your way through these verses, where you read that Abraham reproached Abimelech regarding a well of water that had been violently taken away from him by Abimelech’s men. Abimelech says that he knew nothing of the matter, for Abraham not had told him of it earlier. Zrobić wymówkę, from verse 25, is to be understood as meaning to reproach, to reprove. From verse 26, dać znać means to let know, to inform (literally, to give to know).

Wersety 27-30

  • wydzielić (pf.), to discharge, to liberate
  • jagnię (n.), lamb, kid
  • znaczyć (impf.), to mean, to signify
  • przyjąć (pf.), to receive, to accept
  • wykopać (pf.), to dig

Review: owca (f., sheep), wół (m., ox), zawrzeć (pf., to establish, to contract), przymierze (n., covenant), nadto (furthermore), trzoda (f., herd), siedem (seven), zapytać (pf., to ask), oddzielić (pf., to separate), dowód (m., proof, evidence, token).

Understand the following: i tak obaj zawarli przymierze (and thus both made a covenant; verse 27), co znaczy tych siedem jagniąt? (what do these seven lambs mean?; verse 29). Abraham tells Abimelech, in verse 30, to accept the lambs; he does so in order to have a token of Abimelech’s recognition of his (Abraham’s) having dug the well.

Wersety 31-34

  • zawarcie (n.), conclusion, contraction
  • powrotny, return
  • tamaryszkowy, tamarisk
  • wiekuisty, everlasting, eternal
  • długi, long

Review: miejscowość (f., place, spot), udać się (pf., to go, to proceed), droga (f., way, road), kraj (m., land, country), zasadzić (pf., to plant), drzewo (n., tree), wzywać (impf., to call upon), imię (n., name), przebywać (impf., to sojourn, to abide), czas (m., time).

You will recall from verse 22 that the masculine noun dowódca means commander, leader, and that the neuter noun wojsko means army. From verse 23, recall that złożyć przysięgę means to take an oath.

From verse 32, po zawarciu przymierza means after the conclusion of the covenant (that is, after the covenant had been established). As for udali się w powrotną drogę, this can be understood as they returned, they headed back (literally, they set out on the return way).

In verse 33, you read that Abraham planted a tree: zasadził w Beer-Szebie drzewo tamaryszkowe (he planted in Beersheba a tamarisk tree). Przez długi czas, from verse 34, means for a long time.