Friulian language series: Esodo 14, Mosè al divît il mâr

In Esodo 14, or the fourteenth chapter of the book of Exodus, you will continue to read the Friulian text as it relates to the Israelites’ departure from Egypt. It is in this chapter that, commanded by God, Moses divides the sea (Mosè al divît il mâr) in order to let the Israelites pass.

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Friulian language here.

Read Esodo 14

To read the Friulian text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Bibie par un popul and consult Esodo 14. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-5

Vocabulary: tornâ indaûr (to turn back), campâsi (to encamp), denant di (before, in front of), jenfri (between), in face di (before, facing), rimpet di (opposite, in front of), ad ôr di (alongside, on the edge of), lâ indenant (to go forward), a sorte (haphazardly), taiâ fûr (to cut off), indurî (to harden), il cûr (heart), parê (to seem), vêr (true), cori daûr (to pursue), ingloriâsi (to glorify oneself), a spesis di (at the expense of), un esercit (army), savê (to know), a pene che (as soon as), contâ (to tell, to relate), il re (king), scjampâ (to flee), gambiâ di cussì a cussì (to change completely; also cambiâ), a rivuart di (regarding), sfrancjâsi (to liberate oneself), la paronance (rule).

In verse 3, God explains to Moses what the Pharaoh will say of the Israelites. You read: il faraon al disarà dai israelits (the Pharaoh will say of the Israelites): veju là (there they are), che a van indenant a sorte (advancing haphazardly) e che il desert ju taiarà fûr (and the desert will cut them off).

In verse 4, you read that God will harden the Pharaoh’s heart, resulting in his wanting to pursue to Israelites. No i pararà vere can be understood in the sense of it will seem too good to be true to him.

In verse 5, after the Pharaoh learns that the Israelites have fled, his attitude towards them changes. You read: il cûr dal faraon e dai siei fameis (the heart of the Pharaoh and of his servants) al gambià di cussì a cussì (changed completely) a rivuart dal popul (regarding the people). Recall that verb gambiâ (to change) is expressed in standardised Friulian as cambiâ. As for the expression cambiâ di cussì a cussì (to change completely), this can be understood more literally as meaning to change from this to that. In the context of this verse, you will understand that the Pharaoh’s heart turned against the Israelites.

The Pharaoh and his servants wonder: ce vino fat mo (whatsoever have we done) a lassâ che Israel si sfrancjàs de nestre paronance (by allowing Israel to free itself from our rule).

Versets 6-9

Vocabulary: il cjar (chariot), tirâ dongje (to gather), la schirie (host, army), sîscent (six hundred), il miôr (best), il graduât (officer), butâsi daûr (to pursue), brincâ (to seize, to capture), il cjaval (horse), il cjavalîr (horseman; see note below), cjatâsi (to be found).

The use of cjavalîr (horseman) is anachronistic given that the Egyptians of the time had no cavalry. Although the Friulian cjavalîr translates as horseman, it should be probably be understood in this context as referring to a chariot rider.

Be sure to note the difference in gender between the Friulian words for flesh and chariot: la cjar (flesh), il cjar (chariot). You have seen the feminine cjar numerous times in your readings, but, in particular, you recall the following from Gjenesi 2:23, where Adam says of Eve: e je vuès dai miei vues e cjar de mê cjar (she is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh). Of course, it is not the feminine cjar that you now find in verse 6 of the current chapter, but the masculine: il faraon al fasè preparâ il so cjar (the Pharaoh made ready his chariot; that is, the Pharaoh had his chariot made ready [by his servants]).

In this grouping of verses, you read that the Pharaoh and his men pursue the Israelites. Understand the following portions of text: al cjolè cun sè siscent dai miôrs cjars (he took unto himself six hundred of the best chariots; verse 7), ognidun cuntun graduât parsore (each one with an officer on top; verse 7), i egjizians si butarin daûrjur (the Egyptians pursued them; verse 9), a jerin campâts sul ôr dal mâr (they were encamped alongside the sea; verse 9).

In verse 9, you find the plural cjavai (horses). Now might be a good time to review how masculine nouns ending in a vowel + l form their plural:

il cjaval > i cjavai
horse, horses

il nemâl > i nemâi
animal, animals

il nûl > i nûi
cloud, clouds

il gjenerâl > i gjenerâi
general, generals

This change from l to i applies also to adjectives in the masculine plural:

aspiets gjenerâi
general aspects

risultâts ecezionâi
exceptional results

But not the feminine plural, where s is used:

cundizions gjenerâls
general conditions

situazions ecezionâls
exceptional situations

Versets 10-14

Vocabulary: rivâ (to arrive), alçâ i vôi (to look up), cjapâ un spac (to take fright), berlâ (to cry out, to yell), viers di (towards, unto), il tombâl (tomb, grave), ventijù (down there), menâ (to bring, to lead), murî (to die), pursì (certainly, indeed), restâ sot di (to remain under; that is, to remain subjugated), vê miôr (to prefer), la int (people), vê pôre (to fear), tignî (to hold strong, to remain steadfast, to resist), jessi bon di fâ (to be capable of doing), salvâ (to save), no… altri (no more), metisi de bande di (to take the side of), stâ cuiet (to be calm, to remain tranquil).

In verse 11, in addition to the examples observed earlier of masculine nouns ending in a vowel + l taking their plural in i, you find i tombâi, from the singular il tombâl. You also find, in verse 10, the plural i vôi (or simply i voi in standardised Friulian), from the singular il voli, which, you will note, ends not in a vowel + l but in a vowel + li.

il tombâl > i tombâi
grave, graves

il voli > i voi
eye, eyes

From verse 10, viodût che il faraon al rivave is to be understood as (having) seen that the Pharaoh was arriving.

Having taken fright at the Egyptians’ approach, the Israelites say to Moses in verse 11: no ’nd jerino tombâi ventijù pal Egjit (were there not any graves down there throughout Egypt), che tu nus âs menâts a murî tal desert (that you brought us to die in the desert)? This is to be understood as: was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to die in the desert?

In verse 12, the Israelites then say to Moses: tal vevin pursì dit ancjemò in Egjit (we had indeed said to you whilst still in Egypt): lassinus restâ sot dai egjizians (let us remain under the Egyptians), che o vin miôr stâ sot dai egjizians che no murî tal desert (for we prefer to stay under the Egyptians than to die in the desert). Tal vevin pursì dit translates literally as we had indeed said it to you, where tal is a contraction of ti + lu, and where the “it” in question refers to what the Israelites had said.

Recall how a negated imperative in the second-person plural is formed; in verse 13, you read: no stait a vê pôre (do not be afraid; have no fear). Other examples of this that you have seen include:

no stait a fâsi un ramaric
do not be sorrowful

no stait a tormentâsi
do not torment yourselves

no stait a presentâsi devant di me
do not present yourselves before me

no stait a spandi il so sanc
do not spill his blood

Recall that no sta is the second-person singular equivalent:

no sta vê nissun rimuars
do not have any remorse

no sta fâ adulteri
do not commit adultery

no sta copâ, no sta robâ
do not kill, do not steal

In the first-person plural, no stin a is used:

no stin a dividisi
let us not divide ourselves

no stin a copâlu
let us not kill him

In the remainder of verse 13, Moses tells the Israelites: o viodarês ce che al sarà bon di fâ cumò il Signôr par salvânus (you will see what the Lord is capable of doing now to save us). In verse 14, he tells them: vualtris o vês dome di stâ cuiets (you need only be calm).

Versets 15-18

Vocabulary: alçâ (to raise), il baston (rod, staff), slungâ la man (to extend one’s hand), dividi (to divide, to separate), tal mieç di (in the middle of), cence (without), bagnâsi i pîts (to get one’s feet wet), cjamâsi (to fill oneself up, to load oneself up, to take upon oneself), la glorie (glory), palpâ (to perceive, to feel).

God tells Moses to split the waters of the sea by extending his hand over it; thus shall be able to pass the Israelites. With the aid of the vocabulary listed above, you should be able to work your way through these four verses with little problem. In case of doubt, understand the following portions of text: parcè berlistu viers di me? (why are you calling out to me?; verse 15), jentrâ tal mieç dal mâr cence bagnâsi i pîts (to go into the middle of the sea without getting their feet wet; verse 16), jo mi cjamarai di glorie a spesis dal faraon (I shall fill myself with glory at the Pharaoh’s expense; verse 17), cuant che jo mi sarai jemplât di glorie (when I shall have filled myself with glory; verse 18).

You do not find it in these verses, but the third-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb dividi is divît. Thus, for example, Moses divides the waters is Mosè al divît lis aghis.

Versets 19-23

Vocabulary: un agnul (angel), cjaminâ (to walk), il campament (camp), displaçâsi (to relocate oneself, to displace oneself), metisi par daûr di (to place oneself behind), la colone (pillar), il nûl (cloud), par denant (ahead, in front), plaçâsi par daûr (to place oneself behind), scûr (dark), penç (dense, thick), scûr penç (pitch black), la gnot (night), lâ dongje (to go near), fâ cessâ (to make recede), midiant di (by way of), un aiaron (strong wind), la jevade (east), suiâ (to dry), dividisi (to separate oneself, to divide oneself), a pît sut (on dry ground; translates literally as on dry foot), la murae (wall; also muraie), a drete (on the right), a çampe (on the left).

In verse 19, you read that both the angel of the Lord and the pillar of cloud move from before the camp of Israel to behind them; in this way, they came between the Israelites and the pursuing Egyptians. In verse 20, the cloud is described as being pitch black: scûr penç. In the remainder of this verse, you read that the night passed without one side being able to come into contact with the other (that is, without the Egyptians being able to reach the Israelites): cence che un al podès lâ dongje di chel altri (without one being able to go near the other).

Moses, in verse 21, raises his hand over the sea, and the Lord makes the waters recede: il Signôr al fasè cessâ il mâr dute la gnot (the Lord made the sea recede all night) midiant di un grant aiaron de jevade (by way of a very strong wind from the east). The Friulian for wind in un aiar; the augmentative form is un aiaron (strong wind). In the text, you find un grant aiaron, which can be understood as very strong wind.

In verse 22, with the waters split, the Israelites walk into the passage that has formed before them: a jentrarin tal mieç dal mâr a pît sut (they entered the midst of the sea on dry ground) e lis aghis ur fasevin di murae (and the waters were unto them as a wall) a drete e a çampe (on the right and on the left). A pît sut translates literally as on dry foot, but it can be understood as meaning on dry ground. Note the construction ur fasevin di, meaning (the waters) served them as, functioned for them as, were unto them as.

The waters functioned as a wall: une murae (or muraie in standardised Friulian spelling). Note that muraie refers to a defensive wall, like that of a city or fortress; the wall of a house is il mûr. The Great Wall of China, for example, is rendered in Friulian as la Grande muraie cinese (literally, Great Chinese Wall; cinês, Chinese).

Versets 24-26

Vocabulary: la vilie (watch), la vilie di buinore (morning watch), il fûc (fire), cjalâ jù (to look down), fâ pierdi il cjâf (to trouble; literally, to make lose one’s head), ingredeâ (to jam, to obstruct), la ruede (wheel), a sun di vitis (with difficulty), combati (to fight, to combat), de lôr bande (on their side), gloti (to swallow up).

From verse 24, stant te colone di fûc e di nûl is to be understood as meaning whilst in the pillar of fire and cloud. Stant (meaning being) is the present participle of stâ. Literally, stant te colone di fûc e di nûl means being in the pillar of fire and cloud.

The Egyptians, who have entered the passage of split waters in pursuit of the Israelites, come under attack by the Lord. In verse 24, you read: ur fasè pierdi il cjâf (he [God] troubled them), and in verse 25: al ingredeà lis ruedis dai cjars (he obstructed the wheels of their chariots), che a levin indevant a sun di vitis (which went forward with difficulty). This is not the first time that you are encountering a sun di vitis; you met it near the beginning of your study in Gjenesi 3:17, when God says to Adam: tu varâs di tirâti fûr la bocjade a sun di vitis par ducj i dîs de tô vite.

The Egyptians understand that the Lord is on the side of the Israelites. In verse 25, they say: scjampìn denant di Israel (let us flee before Israel; that is, let us flee [to safety] from Israel). In verse 26, God commands Moses to raise his hand over the sea and also says: che lis aghis a glotin i egjizians (may the waters swallow up the Egyptians).

Versets 27-31

Vocabulary: sul crichedì (at dawn), tornâ te sô place (to return to its place), lâ a petâ intor (to go run into, to go bump up against), savoltâ (to turn upsidedown, to overthrow), la armade (army), in chê dì (on that day), gjavâ (to remove), la sgrife (claw), gjavâ des sgrifis di (to free from the clutches of), muart (dead), la rive dal mâr (seashore), jessi di peraule (to be of one’s word), cjapâ pôre di (to take fear of), crodi tal Signôr (to believe in the Lord).

When the Egyptians turn round to flee, they run into a wall of water in all directions, for the waters had shut them in on all sides. In verse 27, you read: i egjizians, che a scjampavin (the Egyptians, who were fleeing), a lerin juste a petâi intor (only came up against it; only met with it [that is, the sea]); in other words, the attempts of the Egyptians to flee were in vain because they were only met with water in every which way.

Still in verse 27, you also read: il Signôr al savoltà i egjizians tal mieç dal mâr (the Lord upturned the Egyptians in the midst of the sea). The sense of this is that God turned the Egyptians upsidedown from, or threw them out of, their chariots.

In verse 28, after the Egyptians are swallowed up by the waters of the sea, you read: no ’nt restà un di numar (not a single one of them remained).

Note the use of gjavâ des sgrifis dai egjizians in verse 30: il Signôr al gjavà Israel des sgrifis dai egjizians (the Lord freed [literally, removed] Israel from the clutches [literally, claws] of the Egyptians); that is, the Lord saved the Israelites from the grasp of the Egyptians.

When the Israelites see the Egyptians dead on the seashore, you read, in the final verse, that the people feared the Lord (al cjapà pôre dal Signôr), believed in the Lord (al crodè tal Signôr) and believed in Moses his servant (al crodè […] in Mosè so famei).