Polish language series: Rdz 23, śmierć i pogrzeb Sary

You will now study the Polish text of the twenty-third chapter of the book of Genesis, where the subject matter is śmierć i pogrzeb Sary (death and burial of Sarah). Understand: śmierć (f., death), pogrzeb (m., burial).

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Read Rdz 23

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 23. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Wersety 1-2

  • zemrzeć (pf.), to die
  • obrzędowy, ritualistic
  • żałoba (f.), mourning
  • opłakać (pf.), to mourn

Review: doczekać się (pf., to live out, to reach), sto dwadzieścia siedem (one hundred and twenty-seven), rok (m., year), życie (n., life), czyli (that is to say), kraj (m., land, country), rozpocząć (pf., to initiate, to commence).

In verse 1, you read that Sarah lived to the age of one hundred and twenty-seven: Sara doczekała się stu dwudziestu siedmiu lat życia (Sarah lived out one hundred and twenty-seven years of life).

In verse 2, you read that she died (zmarła ona) in Kirjatharba, that is, in Hebron, in the land of Canaan. In the remainder of the verse, you read that Abraham mourned her death.

Be sure to master the difference between the following:

dwanaście 12 (acc., dwunastu)
dwadzieścia 20 (acc., dwudziestu)
dwieście 200 (acc., dwustu)

Wersety 3-4

  • powstać (pf.), to get up, to arise
  • zmarła (f.), deceased, departed (woman)
  • zwrócić (pf.) się, to address
  • prośba (f.), request
  • sprzedać (pf.), to sell
  • pochować (pf.), to bury

Review: odejść (pf., to leave, to depart), choć (although), mieszkać (impf., to live, to reside), wśród (+ gen., amongst), przybysz (m., stranger, outsider), grób (m., grave, tomb), własność (f., possession, property).

You first encountered the perfective verb powstać in Rdz 1:6, when you read: niechaj powstanie sklepienie w środku wód (let a firmament come into being in the midst of the waters). In verse 3 of the current chapter, you will understand powstać in the sense of to arise, to get up: a potem powstawszy (and then having arisen, and then having got up).

Odszedł od swej zmarłej is to be understood as he departed from his deceased. Zmarła refers to a deceased woman; the masculine form (that is, a deceased man) is zmarły.

The Hittites are mentioned in verse 3: Chetyta (a Hittite), Chetyci (the Hittites). You read that Abraham made a request of them: zwrócił się do Chetytów (he addressed the Hittites; he turned to the Hittites) z taką prośbą (with the following request).

Abraham makes his request in verse 4: he asks the Hittites to sell him a grave so as to bury Sarah. From this verse, understand: wśród was (amongst you); jako przybysz (as a foreigner); sprzedajcie mi (sell to me); u was (with you, in your land, amongst you, etc.); na własność (for a possession).

Wersety 5-6

  • odpowiedź (f.), answer, response
  • uchodzić (impf.), to pass
  • szczególnie, especially, particularly
  • zaszczycić (pf.), to honour, to favour
  • najprzedniejszy, choicest, most choice
  • nikt, nobody
  • pochowanie (n.), burial, burying

Review: dać (pf., to give), posłuchać (pf., to listen), człowiek (m., man; pl., ludzie), pochować (pf., to bury), zmarła (f., deceased woman, departed woman), grób (m., grave, tomb), odmówić (pf., to refuse, to deny).

Verse 5 announces what the response of the Hittites was; dali taką odpowiedź means (they) gave the following response. In verse 6, the Hittites begin by saying to Abraham: posłuchaj nas, panie (listen to us, lord). Following this, uchodzić za is to be understood as meaning to pass for. The Hittites tell Abraham that he passes for a man favoured by God (that is, that they recognise him as a man favoured by God).

The Hittites then tell Abraham to bury his departed in the most choice of their graves: w najprzedniejszym z naszych grobów (in the choicest of our graves).

przedni — przedniejszy — najprzedniejszy
choicemore choicemost choice

Nikt z nas means none of us.

Wersety 7-9

  • zgromadzić (pf.), to gather
  • godzić (impf.) się, to agree
  • pieczara (f.), cave, cavern
  • kraniec (m.), extremity, end
  • cena (f.), price

Review: oddać pokłon (pf., to bow down), zacząć (pf., to begin, to start), prosić (impf., to ask, to entreat), sprzedać (pf., to sell), znajdować się (impf., to be found), pole (n., field), odpowiedni (suitable).

Abraham, in verse 7, arises and bows before the gathered Hittites. In verse 8, he says to them: jeśli godzicie się, abym pochował moją zmarłą (if you agree that I bury my deceased), posłuchajcie mnie (listen to me).

Compare:

posłuchaj nas! (verse 6; listen to us!)
posłuchajcie mnie!
(verse 8; listen to me!)

In the above, posłuchaj is the second-person singular imperative of the perfective posłuchać, whereas posłuchajcie is its second-person plural imperative.

In verse 4, you encountered sprzedajcie mi (sell to me), where sprzedajcie is the second-person plural imperative of the perfective sprzedać. Its second-person singular imperative is sprzedaj.

sprzedaj mi!
sprzedajcie mi!

More examples:

pochować (pf., to bury)
pochowaj!
pochowajcie!

nazbierać (pf., to gather)
nazbieraj!
nazbierajcie!

It might also be useful at this point to observe these second-person imperatives alongside the second person of the perfective future.

ty posłuchaszposłuchaj!
wy posłuchacie
posłuchajcie!

ty sprzedaszsprzedaj!
wy sprzedaciesprzedajcie!

ty nazbierasznazbieraj!
wy nazbieracienazbierajcie!

Across verses 8 and 9, Abraham says: proście za mną Efrona (entreat Ephron for me), syna Sochara (the son of Zohar), żeby mi sprzedał pieczarę Makpela (in order that he sell to me the Machpelah cave). He says where the cave is located: która znajduje się na krańcu jego pola (which is found at the extremity of his field).

Abraham continues: za odpowiednią cenę (for a suitable price) niechaj mi ją sprzeda (may he sell it to me). With perfective verbs, recall that the niechaj construction is followed by the third-person singular or plural of the future. Observe what these forms are of the same verbs seen above:

on posłucha
oni posłuchają

on sprzeda
oni sprzedają

on pochowa
oni pochowają

on nazbiera
oni nazbierają

Wersety 10-11

  • współplemieniec (m.), tribesman
  • wchodzić (impf.), to enter
  • wchodzący, entering
  • obecność (f.), presence
  • współbrat (m.), tribesbrother

Review: siedzieć (impf., to sit, to be seated), wobec (before, in the presence of), brama (f., gate), miasto (n., town, city).

You find two words in these verses beginning with współ, which can be likened to the co prefix of English: współplemieniec and współbrat.

In verse 10, you read that Ephron the Hittite (Efron Chetyta) was sitting amongst his tribesmen: siedział wśród swych współplemieńców. In the remainder of the verse, you read: wobec nich (before them; that is, in the presence of his tribesmen) i wobec wszystkich wchodzących w bramę miasta (and before all those entering at the gate of the city).

In verse 11, you read that Ephron offers Abraham the field and cave as a gift. By nie, panie mój (no, my lord), you will understand that Ephron is saying no, my lord, (you need not pay for it). The understanding, however, was that Abraham would offer an ample compensation in return.

W obecności is to be understood as in the presence of.

Wersety 12-13

  • oświadczyć (pf.), to declare
  • raczej, rather
  • zechcieć (pf.), to be so kind as to

Review: zebrać (pf., to gather), pieniądze (pl., money), przyjąć (pf., to receive, to accept).

Abraham insists with Ephron that money be accepted for the land where he is to bury Sarah. Verse 13: zebrani (those gathered); wobec zebranych (before those gathered). Two second-person singular imperatives appear: zechciej (be so kind as to) and przyjmij (receive, accept). Przyjmij ode mnie means accept from me. Wtedy dopiero can be understood as meaning only then, that is when.

Wersety 14-16

  • wart, worth
  • sykl (m.), shekel
  • suma (f.), sum
  • niewielki, not large, small
  • przystać (pf.), to consent
  • żądanie (n.), requirement, stipulation
  • odważyć (pf.), to weigh
  • wymienić (pf.), to quote, to mention
  • obieg (m.), circulation

Review: czterysta (four hundred), srebro (n., silver), wówczas (then, at that time).

Verse 14 can be understood as meaning to this, Ephron gave Abraham the following response. To this (that is, in response to what Abraham had just said) is expressed in the Polish as na to.

In verse 15, Ephron states the value of the land: ziemia warta czterysta syklów srebra (the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver). Of this, he says: suma niewielka dla mnie i dla ciebie (a small sum for me and you).

From verse 16, przystać na żądanie is to be understood as meaning to consent to the stipulation, to agree to the requirement, etc. In the remainder of the verse, you read that Abraham weighed for Ephron the sum he had quoted; that is, four hundred shekels of silver jakie były wówczas w obiegu (as were in circulation at that time).

Wersety 17-18

  • tak więc, thus
  • posiadłość (f.), possession

Review: pobliże (n., vicinity), w pobliżu (in the vicinity of, near), drzewo (n., tree), wzdłuż (along the length), granica (f., border), stać się (pf., to become).

You now read that the land passes into Abraham’s ownership. From verse 17, understand: pole i znajdująca się na nim pieczara (the field and the cave found within it); wszystkie drzewa wzdłuż jego granicy (every tree along the length of its border; that is, along the border of the field). In verse 18, you read that the transfer occurred in the presence of the Hittites and of all those who were entering at the gate of their city.

Wersety 19-20

  • zwać (impf.), to call
  • tytuł (m.), title

Review: odtąd (henceforth, from then on), przejść (pf., to pass), własność (f., possession, property), grób (m., grave, tomb).

Verse 19: Abraham buries Sarah w pieczarze na polu [zwanym] Makpela (in the cave at the field called Machpelah). Zwany is formed from the imperfective zwać; the expression być zwanym x can be taken as meaning to go by the name of x, to be called x.

Verse 20: Przejść od Chetytów do Abrahama can be understood as meaning to pass from the Hittites to Abraham. The text of this verse communicates that the burial site was acknowledged as a title. Tytuł własności is the Polish for title deed, title of ownership, title of possession. This verse can be understood as follows: odtąd (from then on) pole (the field) i znajdująca się na nim pieczara (and the cave found within it; literally, and the cave finding itself in it) przeszły od Chetytów do Abrahama (passed from the Hittites to Abraham) jako tytuł własności grobu (as a title of possession of a grave [burial site]). The tytuł własności grobu ensured that the land would be used only for the purpose in which it was bought — as a burial site — and not for the purpose of living or building upon it.