Polish language series: Wj 5, spotkanie Mojżesza z faraonem

In the fifth chapter of the book of Exodus, or Wj 5, Moses meets with the Pharaoh: pierwsze spotkanie Mojżesza z faraonem (first meeting of Moses with the Pharaoh).

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Wersety 1-3

  • urządzić (pf.), to prepare, to arrange
  • zaraza (f.), pestilence

Review: potem (then), udać się (pf., to go, to proceed), faraon (m., pharaoh), powiedzieć (pf., to say), wypuścić (pf., to release, to let go), lud (m., people), pustynia (f., desert), uroczystość (f., ceremony), cześć (f., honour, veneration), odpowiedzieć (pf., to answer), kim (who), musieć (impf., to have to, must, to be obligated), usłuchać (pf., to heed, to listen), rozkaz (m., order, command), znać (impf., to know, to be acquainted), Hebrajczyk (m., Hebrew), ukazać się (pf., to appear), pozwolić (pf., to permit, to let), przeto (therefore), iść (impf., to go), trzy (three), dzień (m., day), droga (f., way, road), złożyć (pf., to offer up), ofiara (f., offering, sacrifice), nawiedzić (pf., to visit), miecz (m., sword).

Verse 1: Unto the Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron say: wypuść mój lud (release my people; let my people go), aby urządził na pustyni (in order that they prepare in the desert) uroczystość (a ceremony) ku mojej czci (in my honour). Whereas the English people is followed by a verb in the third-person plural, the Polish lud is followed by the third-person singular: wypuść mój lud, aby urządził […]. The feminine noun cześć (honour, veneration) is found in dative position as czci (see chart below) following the preposition ku (to, towards): ku mojej czci (in my honour). Pay particular attention to the pronunciation of czci in the associated recording. A second-person singular imperative form appears in this verse:

wypuścić –> wypuść! (release!)

Declension of cześć (f.)

nom. cześć
gen. czci
dat. czci
acc. cześć
instr. czcią
loc. czci
voc. czci

Verse 2: Kim means who; the emphatic kimże can be rendered in English as who ever, who on earth. The Pharaoh responds to Moses and Aaron: kimże jest Pan (who ever is the Lord), abym musiał usłuchać Jego rozkazu (such that I should take heed of his command) i wypuścić Izraela? (and let Israel go?). Abym musiał usłuchać can be taken more literally as such that I were having to take heed of; such that I were having to heed. The Pharaoh, by his words, means to say that Jehovah has no authority over him. He continues: nie znam Pana (I do not know the Lord) i nie wypuszczę Izraela (and I shall not let Israel go). Review the following:

aby musiał usłuchać
such that he were having to heed

abym musiał usłuchać
such that I were having to heed

Verse 3: Nam: unto us. Pozwól nam iść: allow (unto) us to go. Iść trzy dni drogą na pustynię: to make a three-day journey into the desert; literally, to go three days (by) way into the desert. Złożyć ofiarę: to make a sacrifice. Moses and Aaron request permission to make their offering to avoid meeting with pestilence or sword: by nas nie nawiedził (in order that [the Lord] not visit us) zarazą lub mieczem (with pestilence or sword). In this verse, you find the dative nam and the accusative nas, both from the nominative my. You also find a second-person singular imperative:

pozwolić –> pozwól! (permit!)

Wersety 4-9

  • odwieść (pf.), to draw away, to distract
  • odciągać (impf.), to draw away, to distract
  • dozorca (m.), custodian, keeper
  • pisarz (m.), writer
  • wyrabianie (n.), manufacture, production
  • starać się (impf.), to seek
  • ilość (f.), quantity, amount
  • wyrabiać (impf.,) to manufacture, to produce
  • dotąd, up to now
  • zmniejszać (impf.), to diminish, to lessen
  • leniwy, lazy
  • cięższy, heavier
  • zająć się (pf.), to be occupied
  • skłaniać się (impf.), to be inclined
  • fałszywy, false

Review: król (m., king), egipski (Egyptian), dlaczego (for what reason, why), chcieć (impf., to want, to intend, to seek), lud (m., people), praca (f., work, labour, task), iść (impf., to go), co prędzej (without delay, at once), robota (f., work, labour, toil), jeszcze (yet, furthermore), kraj (m., land, country), liczny (numerous), sam (very, same), dzień (m., day), rozkaz (m., command, order), wydać rozkaz (pf., to give an order), dostarczać (impf., to supply), nie więcej (no more), słoma (f., straw), cegła (f., brick), poprzednio (previously), odtąd (from now on, henceforth), wyznaczyć (pf., to assign), ponieważ (because, for), wołać (impf., to cry out), pójść (pf., to go), ludzie (pl., men), musieć (impf., to have to, must), stać się (pf., to become), wieść (f., news, rumour, message).

Verse 4: Na to: (in response) to this. As for Mojżeszu and Aaronie, these are the vocative forms of the names. The Pharaoh asks Moses and Aaron: dlaczego to (why is it that) Mojżeszu i Aaronie (Moses and Aaron), chcecie odwieść lud (you seek to distract the people) od pracy? (from [their] work?). He then tells them to get to work: idźcie co prędzej (go at once) do waszych robót (to your labours).

Verse 5: Oto (here it is that; now) lud kraju teraz jest liczny (the people of the land are numerous), a wy odciągacie go od pracy (and you distract them [literally, it] from [their] work).

Verse 6: Tego samego dnia: on that same day. Dozorca robót ludu (labour custodian [custodian of the labours] of the people) was a superintendent (a “taskmaster”) of the forced labours of the Hebrews. You read that the Pharaoh gave an order to these superintendents and to the scribes: taki rozkaz wydał faraon (the Pharaoh gave the following order) dozorcom robót ludu (to the labour custodians of the people) i pisarzom (and to the scribes [writers]). The Polish pisarz means writer, author, novellist; in the context of these verses, the sense of scribe must be applied to it. The declension of pisarz is presented in the notes for verse 15 below.

Verse 7: Nie będziecie dostarczać więcej (you shall no longer supply) ludowi słomy (unto the people any straw) do wyrabiania cegły (for the manufacture of brick), jak poprzednio (as before); that is, you shall no longer supply the people with straw for making bricks. The imperfective wyrabiać means to manufacture, to produce, to turn out; from this, the neuter wyrabianie (manufacture, production, turning out) is formed. In the remainder of the verse, starać się o can be taken as meaning to obtain: odtąd (from now on) niech sami (let they themselves) starają się o słomę (obtain the straw).

Declension of cegła (f.)

sing. pl.
nom. cegła cegły
gen. cegły cegieł
dat. cegle cegłom
acc. cegłę cegły
instr. cegłą cegłami
loc. cegle cegłach
voc. cegło cegły

Verse 8: You encounter for the first time dotąd, meaning up to now, heretofore; contrast this with odtąd, meaning from now on, henceforth, from verse 7. The Pharaoh orders that the people produce the same quantity of bricks with no reduction permitted: wyznaczycie im tę samą ilość cegieł (assign to them the same quantity of bricks), jaką wyrabiali dotąd (as they have been making up to now), nic im nie zmniejszając (lessening nothing unto them; that is, without lessening their quota). The people are described as lazy: są leniwi (they are lazy).

Verse 9: Cięższy (heavier) is the comparative form of ciężki (heavy). Aby się nią zajęli: so that they are occupied with it; in order that they be busied by it. Aby […] nie skłaniali się ku fałszywym wieściom: so that they are not disposed to false rumours; in order that they not be inclined to false messages. The false rumours or messages are the words spoken by Moses and Aaron; the Pharaoh insinuates that they have lied about being commanded to go make a sacrifice to God for the purpose of inciting unrest amongst the people.

ciężkicięższynajcięższy
heavyheavierheaviest

Wersety 10-14

  • ogłosić (pf.), to announce, to declare
  • dostarczyć (pf.), to supply
  • zbierać (impf.), to gather
  • świadczenie (n.), provision
  • rozprószyć się (pf.), to disperse, to scatter
  • ścierń (m.), stubble
  • codzienny, daily
  • powinność (f.,), duty, obligation

Review: wyjść (pf., to go [come] out), dozorca robót (labour custodian, taskmaster), lud (m., people), pisarz (m., writer; see note at verse 6), rozkazać (pf., to command, to order), nie więcej (no more), słoma (f., straw), rozejść się (pf., to spread, to disperse), móc (impf., can, to be able), znaleźć (pf., to find), mimo (despite), odjąć (pf., to diminish, to reduce), nakazać (pf., to command, to order, to ordain), ziemia (f., land, earth), zamiast (in place of), przynaglać (impf., to urge, to hasten), mówić (impf., to say), winien (ought), wykonać (pf., to perform, to carry out), każdy (each, every), dzień (m., day), praca (f., work, labour, task), dostarczać (impf., to supply), bić (impf., to beat, to hit), spośród (amongst), Izraelita (m., Israelite), ustanowić (pf., to appoint), czemu (why, wherefore), cegła (f., brick), ani… ani (neither… nor), wczoraj (yesterday), dzisiaj (today), miara (f., measure), poprzednio (previously).

Verse 10: Wyszli więc: so they went out. Razem z: along with. Ogłosili ludowi: they declared to the people. Nie dostarczę wam więcej słomy: I shall no longer supply you any straw.

Verse 11: Sami (you yourselves) rozejdźcie się (disperse; spread out) i zbierajcie słomę (and gather straw), gdzie ją możecie znaleźć (where you can find it). Rozejdźcie się and zbierajcie are both second-person plural imperatives. The Pharaoh also said: mimo to (despite this) nic nie będzie odjęte (nothing shall be diminished) z nakazanych świadczeń (from [your] ordained provisions). The ordained provision is the quota of brick required to be made by the Hebrews.

From odjąć come the following passive adjectival participles: (singular) odjęty (m.), odjęta (f.), odjęte (n.); (plural) odjęci (m. pers.), odjęte (other).

zostało odjęte
it was (got) diminished

nic nie będzie odjęte
nothing shall be diminished

From nakazać come the following passive adjectival participles: (singular) nakazany (m.), nakazana (f.), nakazane (n.); (plural) nakazani (m. pers.), nakazane (other).

zostało nakazane
it was (got) ordained

nakazane świadczenia
ordained provisions

z nakazanych świadczeń
from the ordained provisions

Verse 12: Zbierać ścierń zamiast słomy: to gather stubble in place of straw; to collect stubble instead of straw.

Verse 13: Przynaglali: they urged; pressed; hastened (them). The taskmasters pressed the Hebrews by saying: winniście wykonać (you shall carry out) w każdym dniu (every day) codzienną swą pracę (your daily work), jak wtedy, gdy (as then when) słomy wam dostarczano (one supplied straw unto you; that is, when you were supplied with straw); this entire sentence can be taken more simply in the sense of you shall carry out the same amount of work every day as when the straw was brought to you.

Verse 14: Bito pisarzy spośród Izraelitów: one beat (was beating) the scribes amongst the Israelites; the scribes of the Israelites were beaten (being beaten); bito is the impersonal past of the imperfective bić. As for których dozorcy robót faraona ustanowili nad nimi, this is to be understood as whom the taskmasters of the Pharaoh had appointed to [placed over] them. The scribes were asked: czemu nie wykonaliście powinności waszej (why have you not carried out your obligations) i nie dostarczyliście cegieł (and have not supplied bricks) ani wczoraj, ani dzisiaj (either yesterday or today) w tej mierze jak poprzednio? (in this measure as before?; that is, in the same measure [amount] as before?). Of the perfective wykonać and dostarczyć, read over the masculine and feminine of the past tense:

wykonać

(masculine)
wykonałem (1.ps)
wykonałeś (2.ps)
wykonał (3.ps)
wykonaliśmy (1.pp)
wykonaliście (2.pp)
wykonali (3.pp)

(feminine)
wykonałam (1.ps)
wykonałaś (2.ps)
wykonała (3.ps)
wykonałyśmy (1.pp)
wykonałyście (2.pp)
wykonały (3.pp)

dostarczyć

(masculine)
dostarczyłem (1.ps)
dostarczyłeś (2.ps)
dostarczył (3.ps)
dostarczyliśmy (1.pp)
dostarczyliście (2.pp)
dostarczyli (3.pp)

(feminine)
dostarczyłam (1.ps)
dostarczyłaś (2.ps)
dostarczyła (3.ps)
dostarczyłyśmy (1.pp)
dostarczyłyście (2.pp)
dostarczyły (3.pp)

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

Wersety 15-19

  • robić (impf.), to make
  • przypisywać się (impf.), to be attributed
  • położenie (n.), situation, predicament
  • rozpaczliwy, desperate, hopeless
  • umniejszać (impf.), to diminish, to lessen
  • dzienny, daily
  • wyrób (m.), manufacture, production

Review: pisarz (m., writer; see note at verse 6), przybyć (pf., to arrive, to come), narzekać (impf., to complain, to moan), sposób (m., manner, way), postępować (impf., to behave, to act), sługa (m., servant), dawać (impf., to give), słoma (f., straw), cegła (f., brick), bić (impf., to beat, to hit), wina (f., guilt, fault, sin), lud (m., people), odpowiedzieć (pf., to reply), leniwy (lazy), dlatego (for this reason, this is why), chcieć (impf., to want), wyjść (pf., to go out), złożyć ofiarę (pf., to make a sacrifice), praca (f., work, labour, task), otrzymać (pf., to receive), dostarczyć (pf., to supply), ilość (f., quantity, amount), stać się (pf., to become), powód (m., cause, reason), rozkaz (m., command, order).

Verse 15: Czemu (why) w ten sposób (in this manner; thus) postępujesz (do you behave; are you behaving) z twoimi sługami? (with your servants?). The nominative plural pisarze (writers) appears in this verse; review the entire declension of pisarz below.

Declension of pisarz (m.)

sing. pl.
nom. pisarz pisarze
gen. pisarza pisarzy
dat. pisarzowi pisarzom
acc. pisarza pisarzy
instr. pisarzem pisarzami
loc. pisarzu pisarzach
voc. pisarzu pisarze

Verse 16: Nie dają teraz słomy (now they are not giving any straw) sługom twoim (to your servants) i mówią nam (and they say to us): róbcie cegły (make bricks). Recall that the nominative plural of the masculine sługa (servant) is słudzy (servants). The Israelite scribes continue to protest by saying: i oto (and here it is that) słudzy twoi (your servants) są bici (are being beaten), i winę przypisuje się ludowi (and the fault is attributed to the people). From bić come the following passive adjectival participles: (singular) bity (m.), bita (f.), bite (n.); (plural) bici (m. pers.), bite (other). From the text, są bici can be understood as are being beaten, are getting beaten.

Verse 17: Jesteście bardzo leniwi: you are very lazy. Chcemy: we want.

Verse 18: The Pharaoh orders them back to work: teraz idźcie, ale do pracy. Understand also: nie otrzymacie (you shall not receive); dostarczycie (you shall supply).

Verse 19: Położenie pisarzy Izraelitów stało się rozpaczliwe: the situation (circumstances, predicament) of the Israelite scribes became desperate. Z powodu: on account of. Z dziennego wyrobu cegieł: from your daily output (production, manufacture) of bricks.

Wersety 20-23

  • osądzić (pf.), to pass judgement
  • niesława (f.), disgrace, shame

Review: wychodzić (impf., to go out, to leave), spotkać (pf., to meet), czekać (impf., to await, to wait for), powiedzieć (pf., to say), wejrzeć (pf., to look), gdyż (for, because), narazić (pf., to expose), dworzanin (m., courtier), podać (pf., to serve, to give, to hand), miecz (m., sword), ręka (f., hand), zabijać (impf., to kill), zwrócić się (pf., to address), czemu (why), zezwolić (pf., to permit, to allow), wyrządzić (pf., to inflict), zło (n., evil, ill, harm), wysłać (pf., to send), wszak (after all), chwila (f., moment, instant), pójść (pf., to go), przemawiać (impf., to speak), imię (n., name), gorzej (worse), obchodzić się (pf., to treat, to deal), czynić (impf., to do, to make), wybawienie (n., deliverance, redemption).

Verse 20: Gdy wychodzili od faraona: when they went out (were going out) from the Pharaoh; that is, as they left (were leaving) the Pharaoh’s presence. Którzy na nich czekali: who were waiting for them.

Verse 21: Niechaj wejrzy Pan na was (may the Lord look upon you) i osądzi (and pass judgement), gdyż naraziliście nas na niesławę (for you have exposed us to disgrace) u faraona i jego dworzan (amongst the Pharaoh and his courtiers). Moses and Aaron also say: wy to (it is you) podaliście miecz (who have put [served] a sword) w ich rękę (into their hand), aby nas zabijali (such that they kill us; that is, such that they will now kill us).

Verse 22: Moses asks the Lord why he has brought ill upon the people. Although one of the meanings of the neuter zło is evil, it should be rendered here instead as ill, harm because it was God who brought it about: czemu zezwoliłeś (why have you permitted) wyrządzić zło (to inflict harm; to do ill) temu ludowi? (upon [unto] this people?); more simply, the sense of this can be taken as why have you brought harm upon this people?

Verse 23: Wszak od tej chwili, gdy: after all, since the time when; after all, ever since. Przemawiać w Twoim imieniu: to speak in your name. Gorzej się on obchodzi z tym ludem:he (the Pharaoh) deals worse with this people. Ty nic nie czynisz dla wybawienia tego ludu: you are not doing anything for the deliverance of this people; that is, you are not doing anything to deliver this people.

Gorzej (worse) is the comparative form of the adverb źle (badly).

źle — gorzej — najgorzej
badlyworseworst