Polish language series: Rdz 22, ofiara Izaaka

In Rdz 22, the twenty-second chapter of the book of Genesis, Abraham is called upon by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. The feminine noun ofiara is the Polish for offering, sacrifice.

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Read Rdz 22

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 22. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Wersety 1-3

  • wystawić (pf.), to put out
  • próba (f.), test, trial
  • jedyny, only
  • miłować (impf.), to love, to cherish
  • pagórek (m.), hillock
  • wskazać (pf.), to indicate, to show
  • osiodłać (pf.), to saddle
  • osioł (m.), donkey, ass
  • narąbać (pf.), to chop
  • spalenie (n.), burning
  • ruszyć (pf.), to set off

Review: wydarzenie (n., occurrence, event, incident), wziąć (pf., to take), iść (impf., to go), kraj (m., land, country), złożyć (pf., to offer up), ofiara (f., offering, sacrifice), nazajutrz rano (the following morning), zabrać (pf., to take away), drzewo (n., wood; you have encountered drzewo before, but only in the sense of tree), droga (f., way, road), miejscowość (f., place, spot).

From verse 1, wystawić na próbę is to be understood as meaning to put to the test, to try. Bóg wystawił Abrahama na próbę means God put Abraham to the test. When God calls out to Abraham, he says Abrahamie. You will recognise this as the wołacz (vocative). Abraham responds: oto jestem (here I am).

In verse 2, weź twego syna jedynego means take your only son; Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, is now disregarded. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac in the land of Moriah: złóż go w ofierze (offer him up in sacrifice) na jednym z pagórków (on one of the hillocks).

In verse 3, you read that Abraham saddled his donkey (osiodłał swego osła). He also took two of his men with him (zabrał z sobą dwóch swych ludzi) and chopped wood (narąbał drzewa). The wood was for the burnt offering: do spalenia ofiary (for the burning of the offering). Note that you have seen the neuter noun drzewo before in the sense of tree; it is to be understood in this verse as meaning wood.

In the remainder of verse 3, ruszył w drogę is to be understood as he set off, he went on his way, etc. You read that Abraham set off for the place of which God had spoken to him.

Wersety 4-6

  • z daleka, from afar
  • drwa (pl.), firewood
  • włożyć (pf.), to put, to place
  • nóż (m.), knife

Review: trzeci (third), spojrzeć (pf., to look), dostrzec (pf., to perceive, to detect), sługa (m., servant), zostać (pf., to remain, to stay), chłopiec (m., boy, lad), pójść (pf., to go), oddać pokłon (pf., to bow down), wrócić (pf., to return), ręka (f., hand), ogień (m., fire), oddalić się (pf., to withdraw, to walk away).

You find the ordinal number trzeci in verse 4: na trzeci dzień (on the third day). Review Polish ordinal numbers.

In verse 5, Abraham says to his servants: zostańcie tu z osłem (remain here with the donkey). Zostańcie is the second-person plural imperative form. He then says that he and his son Isaac will go to worship God, and then return unto the servants.

In verse 6, you read that Abraham set the firewood upon his son: włożył je na syna swego Izaaka. You can understand from this that Abraham made Isaac carry the firewood. Abraham then took the fire and knife into his hand: wziął do ręki ogień i nóż. The two then set off.

Wersety 7-10

  • gdzież = gdzie
  • całopalenie (n.), burnt offering
  • obydwaj, both
  • związać (pf.), to tie, to bind
  • sięgnąć (pf.), to reach

Review: odezwać się (pf., to speak, to address), upatrzyć (pf., to single out, to choose), dalej (onwards), przyjść (pf., to arrive, to come), miejsce (n., place, spot), zbudować (pf., to construct, to build), ołtarz (m., altar), ułożyć (pf., to place, to put), położyć (pf., to place, to set down), zabić (pf., to kill).

Take note of the vocative forms appearing in these verses: ojcze mój (my father), mój synu (my son).

In verse 7, Isaac asks his father where the lamb is for the burnt offering. Abraham, in verse 8, responds by saying that God will choose for himself the lamb. The final sentence of verse 8 tells you that both Abraham and his son then went onwards: i szli obydwaj dalej; you are dealing with the imperfective verb iść here.

In verse 9, you come across the perfective verb wskazać again, meaning to indicate, to show; you first encountered this verb in verse 2. Które Bóg wskazał means which God had indicated. In the remainder of the verse, you read that Abraham sets his son down upon the firewood on the altar.

Abraham, in verse 10, then takes the knife: sięgnął ręką po nóż (he reached with his hand for the knife), in order to kill his son: aby zabić swego syna.

Wersety 11-12

  • podnosić (pf.), to raise
  • złe (n.) = zło, evil, ill
  • odmówić (pf.), to refuse, to deny

Review: anioł (m., angel), pański (lordly, lord’s), zawołać (pf., to summon), czynić (impf., to do, to make), poznać (pf., to recognise, to know), bać się (impf., to be afraid, to fear), nawet (even).

Before Abraham can complete the sacrifice, God calls out to him and tells him to not lay his hand on his son: nie podnoś ręki na chłopca (do not raise your hand upon the boy) i nie czyń mu nic złego (do him no harm). God tells Abraham that he now knows he has the fear of God: boisz się Boga (you fear God).

Wersety 13-14

  • uwikłać (pf.) to entangle
  • róg (m.), horn
  • zarośla (pl.), thicket
  • mówić (impf.) się, to be said
  • dzisiaj, today
  • ukazywać (impf.) się, to appear

Review: obejrzeć się (pf., to look round), poza (beyond), spostrzec (pf., to notice, to see), baran (m., ram), zamiast (instead of), nazwa (f., name), widzieć (impf., to see), stąd (from here), wzgórze (n., hill).

Abraham sees a ram entangled by the horns in a thicket; he offers the ram in sacrifice in place of his son. He names the place Pan widzi (the Lord sees). Stąd to mówi się dzisiaj means from here it is said today (that is, this is from where the saying comes today).

Wersety 15-17

  • wyrocznia (f.) oracle
  • oszczędzić (pf.), to spare
  • piasek (m.), sand
  • warownia (f.), stronghold, fortress

Review: przemówić (pf., to address), głośno (loudly, in a loud voice), raz (m., time), drugi (second), przysięgać (impf., to swear, to take an oath), błogosławić (impf., to bless), potomstwo (n., offspring), liczny (numerous), gwiazda (f., star), ziarnko (n., grain), wybrzeże (n., coast), morze (n., sea), potomek (m., descendant), zdobyć (pf., to acquire, to capture), nieprzyjaciel (m., enemy, foe).

From verse 15, po raz drugi means for the second time. In verse 16, the angel identifies himself as the oracle of the Lord. These three verses contain a good deal of usages that you have already encountered; work through them with the aid of the vocabulary listed above.

Wersety 18-19

  • życzyć (impf.), to wish
  • szczęście (n.), fortune, happiness
  • razem, together

Review: usłuchać (pf., to heed, to follow), rozkaz (m., command, order), wyruszyć (impf., to leave, to set out), mieszkać (impf., to live, to reside), nadal (as before).

Wersety 20-24

  • donieść (pf.), to inform
  • drugorzędny, secondary

Review: wydarzenie (n., occurrence, event, incident), urodzić (pf., to bear), pierworodny (firstborn), praojciec (m., forefather).

From verse 20, doniesiono is the impersonal past; it can be understood as meaning one informed. In verse 23, you read: ośmiu synów urodziła Milka Nachorowi (Milcah bore eight sons unto Nahor). From verse 24, drugorzędna żona (secondary wife) is to be understood as concubine.