Polish language series: Rdz 29, małżeństwo Jakuba

In Rdz 29, or the Polish version of the twenty-ninth chapter of the book of Genesis, you will study the Polish language as it relates to the following: małżeństwo Jakuba (Jacob’s marriage) and dzieci Jakuba (Jacob’s children). Małżeństwo is a neuter noun meaning marriage.

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 29, 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Should the above links ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.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 1-4

  • wylegiwać (impf.) się, to lie
  • wokół (+ gen.), round, about
  • poić (impf.), to give water to (animals)
  • przykrywać (impf.), to cover
  • gromadzić (impf.), to gather
  • odsuwać (impf.), to remove, to push away
  • znad (+ gen.), from above, from over
  • napojenie (n.), watering (of animals)
  • przesuwać (impf.), to push

Review: wyruszyć (impf., to leave, to set out), dalszy (farther), droga (f., way, road), powędrować (pf., to journey, to trek), wschód (m., east), ujrzeć (pf., to see), studnia (f., well), pole (n., field), stado (n., herd, flock), owca (f., sheep), kamień (m., stone), otwór (m., opening), wtedy dopiero (that is when), znów (again), dawny (former), miejsce (n., place, spot), nad (above), czekać (pf., to wait), pasterz (m., shepherd), skąd (from where), odpowiedzieć (pf., to reply).

Verse 1: wyruszyć w dalszą drogę (to set out on one’s way); do ziemi synów Wschodu (unto the land of the sons of the East; that is, Mesopotamia).

daleki — dalszy — najdalszy
farfartherfarthest

Verse 2: ujrzał […] trzy stada owiec wylegujących się (he saw three flocks of sleep lying); wokół niej (round it; that is, round the well). Pojono (from the imperfective poić) is the impersonal past: z tej bowiem studni pojono stada (for from it [that is, from the well] one watered the flocks). You read that a stone covered the mouth of the well: wielki zaś kamień przykrywał jej otwór (whereas a large stone was covering its opening).

More impersonal past forms appear in verse 3: gromadzono, odsuwano, przesuwano. Understand: gromadzono tu wszystkie stada (one watered here all the flocks); odsuwano kamień znad otworu studni (one pushed away the stone from above the opening of the well), przesuwano go znów na dawne miejsce (one pushed it back to where it was before). Znad (from above, from over) is a compound of z + nad.

In verse 4, Jacob asks the shepherds where they are from: bracia moi, skąd jesteście? (my brothers, where are you from?). Skąd jesteście can be understood more literally as from where are you. You find the vocative plural in bracia moi ([oh] my brothers). The shepherds respond: jesteśmy z Charanu (we are from Haran).

Vocative examples: bracie mój! (my brother!), bracia moi! (my brothers!), synu mój! (my son!), synowie moi! (my sons!), ojcze mój! (my father!).

Of the imperfective być, be sure to know the present tense:

jestem (1.ps)
jesteś (2.ps)
jest (3.ps)
jesteśmy (1.pp)
jesteście (2.pp)
(3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

Wersety 5-9

  • miewać (impf.) się, to feel, to be feeling
  • nadchodzić (impf.), to approach, to come
  • jasny, bright
  • zapędzać (impf.), to drive back (a herd)
  • paść (impf.), to feed, to pasture
  • spędzić (pf.), to round up
  • odsunąć (pf)., to remove, to push away
  • pasterka (f.), shepherdess

Review: pytać (impf., to ask), znać (impf., to know, to be acquainted), zapytać (pf., to ask), dobrze (well), córka (f., daughter), trzoda (f., herd, flock), ponieważ (given that), dzień (m., day), czas (m., time), napoić (pf., to give water to), iść (impf., to go), powiedzieć (pf., to say, to tell), poić (impf., to give water to), dopóki (until), stado (n., herd, flock), rozmawiać (impf., to speak, to talk), nadejść (pf., to approach, to come).

Verse 1: Jacob asks the shepherds if they know Laban: czy znacie Labana, syna Nachora? (do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?). They reply that they do know him: znamy (we know; that is, yes, we do).

Of the imperfective znać, learn the present tense:

znam (1.ps)
znasz (2.ps)
zna (3.ps)
znamy (1.pp)
znacie (2.pp)
znają (3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

Verse 6: Jacob then asks the shepherds if Laban is well: czy dobrze się miewa? They reply that he is: dobrze (well; that is, yes, he is).

In verse 5, you find the imperfective pytać, whereas in verse 6, it is the perfective zapytać that is used. On pytał ich can be translated as he was asking them; on zapytał ich, on the other hand, can be translated as he asked them. That said, in this context, English would more naturally say he asked them in both cases.

Verse 7: jasny dzień (bright day; that is, full day); i nie czas zapędzać trzody (and not time to drive the flocks back); napójcie trzodę (water the flock); idźcie ją paść (go feed it; go put it out to pasture).

In verse 8, the shepherds say: nie możemy poić (we cannot water [the sheep]), dopóki nie spędzą wszystkich stad (until they round up all the flocks) i nie odsuną kamienia znad otworu studni (and [until] they push away the stone from over the opening of the well), wtedy będziemy poić owce (then we shall water the sheep).

Verse 9: z nimi (with them); która była pasterką (who was a shepherdess); nadeszła ze stadem owiec (she approached with the flock of sheep). You read that Rachela (Rachel) was a shepherdess; the Polish pasterka (shepherdess) is the feminine equivalent of the masculine pasterz (shepherd).

Wersety 10-13

  • tenże, the same
  • ucałować (pf.), to kiss
  • nowina (f.), news
  • wybiec, wybiegnąć (pf.), to run out
  • uściskać (pf.), to hug, to embrace

Review: zbliżyć się (pf., to draw near), rozpłakać się (pf., to burst into tears), w głos (aloud; głos, m., voice), siostrzeniec (m., sororal nephew), pobiec, pobiegnąć (pf., to run over), opowiedzieć (pf., to tell, to relate), usłyszeć (pf., to hear), spotkanie (n., meeting), wprowadzić (pf., to usher, to bring to).

Verse 10: a gdy ujrzał […] trzodę tegoż Labana (and when he saw the flock of this same Laban).

Verse 12: Jacob tells Rachel that he is her father’s nephew: powiedział Racheli (he said to Rachel), że jest siostrzeńcem jej ojca (that he was the [sororal] nephew of her father), synem Rebeki (the son of Rebekah). Review the following: bratanek (m., fraternal nephew), bratanica (f., fraternal niece), siostrzeniec (m., sororal nephew), siostrzenica (f., sororal niece). Rachel, upon hearing this: pobiegła i opowiedziała o tym swemu ojcu (she ran over and told her father about this).

Verse 13: [Laban] wybiegł mu na spotkanie (Laban ran out to meet him; literally, he ran out unto him in meeting); uściskał go i ucałował (he hugged and kissed him), i wprowadził go do swego domu (and brought him to his house). You also read: Jakub opowiedział Labanowi o wszystkim (Jacob told Laban about everything).

Wersety 14-20

  • zapłata (f.), payment, wages
  • zgasić (pf.), to dim
  • zgaszony, dimmed, faded
  • postać (f.), form, figure
  • powierzchowność (f.), appearance
  • pokochać (pf.), to fall in love with
  • woleć (impf.), to prefer
  • kto inny, someone else
  • wydać (pf.) się, to appear, to seem
  • kilka, several, a few

Review: kość (f., bone), ciało (n., flesh), przebywać (impf., to sojourn, to abide), miesiąc (m., month), krewny (m., relative, kinsman), służyć (impf., to serve), darmo (in vain), nazywać się (impf., to be called), oko (n., eye), jakby (as if, as though), piękny (beautiful), miły (nice), inny (another), pozostać (pf., to remain, to stay), bardzo (very much), miłować (impf., to love).

Verse 14: jesteś moją kością i ciałem (you are my bone and flesh). In this verse, you also read that Jacob soujourned one month in the service of Laban; u Labana is to be understood as meaning with Laban, at Laban’s place, at Laban’s house, etc.

In verse 15, Laban says to Jacob: czyż dlatego, że jesteś moim krewnym (given that you are my kin), masz mi służyć za darmo? (must you serve me for nought?). He then asks Jacob to state his wages: powiedz mi więc (tell me then), jaką mam ci dać zapłatę? (what wages I must give you). Recall that the imperfective mieć (to have) followed by an infinitive takes on the sense of to have to, must.

Of the imperfective mieć, be sure to know the present tense:

mam (1.ps)
masz (2.ps)
ma (3.ps)
mamy (1.pp)
macie (2.pp)
mają (3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

In verse 16, you read that Laban had two daughters. Dwie is in feminine accusative position: miał dwie córki (he had two daughters). The elder was called Lea (Leah), whereas the younger was called Rachela (Rachel).

stary — starszy — najstarszy
stara — starsza — najstarsza
oldolderoldest

młody — młodszy — najmłodszy
młoda — młodsza — najmłodsza
youngyoungeryoungest

In verse 17, you read that Leah’s eyes were bleared. Of Rachel, on the other hand, you read: miała piękną postać i miłą powierzchowność (she had a beautiful form and a nice appearance); that is, Rachel was beautiful in both figure and face.

Having fallen in love with Rachel, Jacob states his wages to Laban in verse 18: będę ci służył (I shall serve you) przez siedem lat (for seven years) za twą młodszą córkę, Rachelę ([in exchange] for your younger daughter, Rachel).

In verse 19, Laban says to Jacob: wolę dać ją tobie niż komu innemu (I prefer to give her to you than to some other). Komu innemu is in dative position, from kto inny (someone else, some other, etc.). Having agreed to Jacob’s conditions, Laban tells him to stay: pozostań więc u mnie (stay with me then; stay at my place then).

In verse 20, in exchange for Rachel, you read that Jacob served Laban for seven years; because he loved Rachel so much, those seven years appeared to him to have passed by in days: wydały mu się one (they seemed to him) jak dni kilka (as but a few days).

Wersety 21-24

  • zaprosić (pf.), to invite

Review: wreszcie (after all, at last), upłynąć (pf., to go by, to elapse), połączyć się (pf., to unite, to join), mieszkaniec (m., inhabitant), miejscowość (f., place, spot), wyprawić (pf., to give [feast]), uczta (f., feast), wieczór (m., evening), wprowadzić (pf., to usher, to bring to), zbliżyć się (pf., to draw near), niewolnica (f., female servant, maidservant).

Verse 21: Jacob, at the end of his seven years’ service, asks for Rachel to finally be given to him. Understand: czas już upłynął (the time has now elapsed; that is, the time [of my service] has now been completed); abym się z nią połączył (in order that I unite with her).

Verse 22: zaprosiwszy wszystkich mieszkańców tej miejscowości (having invited all the inhabitants of that place).

Verse 23: Laban wziął córkę swą Leę (Laban took his daughter Leah); it was not the agreed-upon younger Rachel whom Laban had given to Jacob at the end of his service, but her elder sister Leah. You also read: ten zbliżył się do niej (this one [Jacob] drew near to her); that is, Jacob had intimate relations with Leah; because Leah would have been veiled, Jacob would not have perceived the deceit.

Of the perfective wziąć, familiarise yourself with the masculine and feminine of the past tense:

(masculine)
wziąłem (1.ps)
wziąłeś (2.ps)
wziął (3.ps)
wzięliśmy (1.pp)
wzięliście (2.pp)
wzięli (3.pp)

(feminine)
wzięłam (1.ps)
wzięłaś (2.ps)
wzięła (3.ps)
wzięłyśmy (1.pp)
wzięłyście (2.pp)
wzięły (3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

Verse 24: dał też Laban tej córce swej (Laban also gave to this daughter of his). Laban gave Leah the maidservant Zilpa (Zilpah).

Wersety 25-30

  • oszukać (pf.), to deceive, to cheat
  • zwyczaj (m.), custom, habit
  • wydawanie (n.), giving away
  • za mąż, in marriage
  • tydzień (m.), week
  • następny, next
  • usługiwać (impf.), to tend, to serve

Review: rano (in the morning), zobaczyć (pf., to see), uczynić (pf., to do, to make), służyć (impf., to serve), dać (pf., to give), drugi (second), przystać (pf., to consent), również (also), kochać (impf., to love), pozostać (pf., to remain, to stay), służba (f., service).

In verse 25, Jacob realises the deceit when, in the morning, he sees that he has Leah before him (przed sobą) and not Rachel. He asks of Laban three questions: cóż mi uczyniłeś? (what have you done to me?); czyż nie za Rachelę ci służyłem? (did I not serve you for Rachel?); czemu mnie oszukałeś? (why have you deceived me?).

In verse 26, Laban says: nie ma tu u nas (there is not here amongst us) zwyczaju wydawania za mąż (any custom of the giving away in marriage) [córki] młodszej przed starszą (of the younger daughter before the elder). The imperfective wydawać za mąż (and perfective wydać za mąż) means to give away in marriage.

The marriage festival with Leah was to last a week; Laban says to Jacob in verse 27: bądź przez tydzień z tą (stay [be] for a week with this one [that is, with Leah]). After that, Rachel would be given to Jacob in exchange for another seven years’ service: a potem damy ci drugą (and then we shall give you the second one), za którą jednak (in exchange for whom, however) będziesz u mnie służył (you will serve with me) jeszcze siedem następnych lat (the next seven years yet).

Of the verb dać, learn the perfective future:

dam (1.ps)
dasz (2.ps)
da (3.ps)
damy (1.pp)
dacie (2.pp)
dadzą (3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

Verse 28: Jacob agrees to the new conditions; he stays the week with Leah and is then given Rachel to take as a second wife.

Verse 29: Laban gives Rachel the maidservant called Bilha (Bilhah); aby jej usługiwała (in order to tend to her).

Verse 30: Jacob has relations with Rachel; kochał ją bardziej niż Leę (he loved [was loving] her more than Leah). Pozostać na służbie is to be understood as meaning to remain in service; Jacob remained in service with Laban for another seven years.

Wersety 31-35

  • upokorzenie (n.), humiliation
  • przywiązać (pf.) się, to become attached
  • sławić (impf.), to praise

Review: widzieć (impf., to see), odsunąć (pf., to push away, to brush aside), otworzyć (pf., to open), łono (n., womb), niepłodny (barren), począć (pf., to conceive), urodzić (pf., to bear), imię (n., name), wejrzeć (pf., to look), mąż (m., husband), miłować (impf., to love), znów (again), usłyszeć (pf., to hear), dziecko (n., child), nazwać (pf., to call), już teraz (just now, right now), raz (m., time), jeszcze raz (yet again, yet one more time), przestać (pf., to stop, to desist), rodzić (impf., to bear).

Verse 31: In previous verses, you encountered the perfective odsunąć in the sense of to push away, to remove, in reference to moving the large stone sitting atop the well. In this verse, it is used in the sense of to push away, to brush aside, to reject: gdy Pan widział, że Lea została odsunięta (when the Lord saw [was seeing] that Leah was brushed aside). Because she was not loved by Jacob, the Lord gave her a child: otworzył jej łono (he opened her womb); Rachel, on the other hand, was barren.

Verse 32: Leah names her first son Ruben. She says: wejrzał Pan na moje upokorzenie (the Lord has looked upon my humiliation); teraz mąż mój będzie mnie miłował (now my husband will love me).

Verse 33: Leah has a second son, whom she names Symeon (Simeon). She says: [Pan] dał mi jeszcze to dziecko (the Lord has given me yet [again] this child).

Verse 34: Having given birth to a third son named Lewi (Levi), Leah says that her husband will now become attached to her (przywiąże się do mnie, he will become attached to me). Urodziłam mu trzech synów means I have born three sons unto him.

Verse 35: Leah has yet another son; this fourth one is named Juda (Judah). She says: tym razem będę sławić Pana (this time I shall praise the Lord).

Of the perfective zostać, familiarise yourself with the masculine and feminine of the past tense:

(masculine)
zostałem (1.ps)
zostałeś (2.ps)
został (3.ps)
zostaliśmy (1.pp)
zostaliście (2.pp)
zostali (3.pp)

(feminine)
zostałam (1.ps)
zostałaś (2.ps)
została (3.ps)
zostałyśmy (1.pp)
zostałyście (2.pp)
zostały (3.pp)

1.ps = first-person singular
1.pp = first-person plural, etc.

You may wish to review this summary of different Polish prepositions and the cases taken by them.