Polish language series: Wj 7, plagi egipskie

With the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, you begin to read about the plagues of Egypt. The Polish for plague is the feminine noun plaga; its nominative plural form is plagi (plagues). Plagi egipskie from the subject line of this chapter translates literally as Egyptian plagues, but it can be taken as plagues of Egypt. In all, God brought ten plagues upon Egypt; you will read about them in this and the next five chapters. In this seventh chapter in particular, you will read about the first and second plagues: I., przemiana wód w krew (transformation of waters into blood); II., żaby (frogs).

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Read Wj 7

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Wj 7. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Wersety 1-5

  • ustępliwy, unyielding, uncompromising
  • pomnożyć (pf.), to multiply
  • pośród (+ gen.), amongst

Review: uczynić (pf., to make, to do), faraon (m., pharaoh), brat (m., brother), prorok (m., prophet), rozkazać (pf., to order, to command), przemawiać (impf., to speak), wypuścić (pf., to release, to let go), Izraelita (m., Israelite), kraj (m., land, country), serce (n., heart), znak (m., sign), cud (m., marvel, wonder), egipski (Egyptian), usłuchać (pf., to heed, to listen), toteż (and so, therefore), wyciągnąć (pf., to extend), ręka (f., hand), Egipt (m., Egypt), wywieść (pf., to lead out), zastęp (m., array, rank), lud (m., people), syn (m., son), wśród (amongst), wielki (great, large), kara (f., punishment), poznać (pf., to know, to recognise), Egipcjanin (m., Egyptian), przeciw (before, opposite), wyprowadzić (pf., to bring forth).

Verse 1: The Lord tells Moses that he will be placed in the role of God to the Pharaoh by saying: oto (here now; see now that) Ja uczynię cię (I shall make you) jakby Bogiem faraona (as God unto [of] the Pharaoh). As for Aaron, he shall be made as the spokesman of Moses, his prophet: będzie twoim prorokiem (he shall be your prophet).

Verse 2: wszystko, co ci rozkażę (everything that I shall command [unto] you); ażeby wypuścił (so that he releases; in order that he let go).

Verse 3: Ja zaś uczynię nieustępliwym serce faraona (as for me, I shall make the Pharaoh’s heart unyielding). The Lord says that he will multiply his signs and marvels: pomnożę moje znaki i moje cuda. Note that Polish often uses an adjective where English would be more likely to use a proper noun: w kraju egipskim (in the Egyptian land; that is, in the land of Egypt); other examples of this that you have met: plagi egipskie (Egyptian plagues; that is, plagues of Egypt), Bóg Jakubowy (Jacobean God; that is, God of Jacob), Duch Boży (Godly Spirit; that is, spirit of God), Anioł Pański (Lordly Angel; that is, angel of the Lord).

Verse 4: faraon nie usłucha was (the Pharaoh will not heed you); nad Egiptem (over Egypt); wywiodę z Egiptu moje zastępy (I shall lead my ranks out of Egypt); z pośrodka nich (from amongst them [the Egyptians]); wśród wielkich kar (with [amongst] great punishments).

Verse 5: poznają Egipcjanie (the Egyptians shall know); gdy wyciągnę rękę przeciw Egiptowi (when I shall extend my hand before Egypt). Egiptowi: dative.

Wersety 6-9

  • korzyść (f.), favour, advantage
  • przemienić (pf.) się, to transform oneself

Review: nakazać (pf., to command, to order), liczyć (impf., to count, to number), rok (m., year), przemawiać (impf., to speak), powiedzieć (pf., to say), cud (m., marvel, wonder), wziąć (pf., take), laska (f., rod, staff), rzucić (pf., to throw, to cast), przed (before, in front of), wąż (m., snake, serpent).

Verse 6: tak, jak im Pan nakazał uczynić (just as unto them the Lord had commanded be done [commanded to do]).

Verse 7: osiemdziesiąt (eighty); osiemdziesiąt trzy (eighty-three). Note the use of the imperfective liczyć to express one’s age: Mojżesz liczył wtedy osiemdziesiąt lat (Moses was then numbering [counting] eighty years; that is, Moses was eighty years old).

Verse 9: jeśli faraon powie wam tak (if the Pharaoh says [will say] to you thus): uczyńcie cud (produce [make] a marvel) na waszą korzyść (in your favour), wtedy powiesz Aaronowi (then you shall say to Aaron). Although na waszą korzyść translates literally as in your favour, the original Hebrew says for you; uczyńcie cud na waszą korzyść (produce [make] a marvel in your favour) can be taken as produce for you(rselves) a marvel (where the sense is give unto yourselves a marvel [and produce it here before me]). Moses is to say to Aaron: weź laskę (take your rod) i rzuć ją (and cast it) przed faraonem (before the Pharaoh), a przemieni się w węża (and it will turn into a serpent). You will find the declension of wąż below. Review the perfective future of powiedzieć:

powiem (1.ps)
powiesz (2.ps)
powie (3.ps)
powiemy (1.pp)
powiecie (2.pp)
powiedzą (3.pp)

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

Declension of wąż (m.)

sing. pl.
nom. wąż węże
gen. węża węży
dat. wężowi wężom
acc. węża węże
instr. wężem wężami
loc. wężu wężach
voc. wężu węże

Wersety 10-13

  • czarownik (m.), sorcerer
  • tajemny, secret, occult, esoteric
  • połknąć (pf.), to swallow

Review: przybyć (pf., to arrive, to come), nakazać (pf., to command, to order), rzucić (pf., to throw, to cast), laska (f., rod, staff), sługa (m., servant), zamienić się (pf., to transform oneself), wąż (m., snake, serpent), wówczas (then, at that time), kazać (impf., to order, to command), przywołać (pf., to call, to summon), mędrzec (m., wise man), wróżbita (m., foreteller, diviner), egipski (Egyptian), dzięki (owing to, thanks to), wiedza (f., knowledge), każdy (each), jednak (however), mimo (despite), serce (n., heart), pozostać (pf., to remain), uparty (stubborn, obstinate), usłuchać (pf., to heed, to listen), zapowiedzieć (pf., to announce, to foretell).

Verse 10: rzucił Aaron laskę swoją przed faraonem (he cast his rod before the Pharaoh) i sługami jego (and his servants); zamieniła się w węża (it turned into a serpent).

Declension of laska (f.)

sing. pl.
nom. laska laski
gen. laski lasek
dat. lasce laskom
acc. laskę laski
instr. laską laskami
loc. lasce laskach
voc. lasko laski

Verse 11: faraon wówczas kazał (the Pharaoh was then commanding) przywołać mędrców i czarowników (to summon the wise men and sorcerers), a wróżbici egipscy uczynili to samo (and the Egyptian diviners did the same) dzięki swej tajemnej wiedzy (owing to their secret knowledge). Uczynili to samo: skilled in the art of serpent charming, the Egyptians would have applied pressure to the neck of the serpent so as to induce a state of hypnotic rigidity, allowing the serpent to be held as a rod by the tip of the tail; when it became disenchanted, the “rod” would have appeared to transform into a serpent. Tajemna wiedza: esoteric words and movements.

Verse 12: każdy z nich (each of them); laska Aarona połknęła ich laski (Aaron’s rod swallowed their rods).

Verse 13: mimo to serce faraona pozostało uparte (despite this, the Pharaoh’s heart remained obstinate) i nie usłuchał ich (and he did not heed them), jak zapowiedział Pan (as the Lord had foretold).

Wersety 14-18

  • twardy, hardened
  • wzbraniać (impf.) się, to refuse, to object
  • pośpieszyć (pf.), to hasten
  • poginąć (pf.), to perish
  • wydawać (impf.), to emit
  • przykry, nasty, foul

Review: serce (n., heart), wypuścić (pf., to release, to let go), lud (m., people), rano (in the morning), wyjść (pf., to go [come] out), woda (f., water), spotkanie (n., meeting), brzeg (m., bank, shore), Nil (m., Nile), wziąć (pf., to take), ręka (f., hand), laska (f., rod, staff), zamienić się (pf., to transform oneself), wąż (m., snake, serpent), Hebrajczyk (m., Hebrew), posłać (pf., to send), rozkaz (m., command, order), oddać cześć (pf., to worship, to venerate), pustynia (f., desert), dotąd (up to now), posłuchać (pf., to listen, to heed), poznać (pf., to know, to recognise), uderzyć (pf., to strike), krew (f., blood), ryba (f., fish), woń (f., odour, smell), Egipcjanin (m., Egyptian), móc (impf., can, to be able), pić (impf., to drink).

Verse 14: The Pharaoh’s heart is described as hardened. You have now met with a number of different descriptions of his heart: serce twarde (hardened heart), serce uparte (obstinate heart), serce nieustępliwe (unyielding heart). The Pharaoh refuses to let the people go: wzbrania się wypuścić lud.

Verse 15: gdy wyjdzie nad wodę (when he will come out to the water); pośpiesz mu na spotkanie na brzeg Nilu (hasten to meet with him at the bank of the Nile; literally, hasten unto him in the meeting at the bank of the Nile).

Verse 17: po tym (by this, from this). Oto (behold) can be rendered a number of different ways in English: before a noun, it can be taken as behold, here is, here are, this is, these are, etc.; in the following, it precedes a verb, where it can be taken as behold, here it is now that, see now that, etc. — it is used to announce an occurrence about to take place: oto uderzę laską (see now that I shall strike with the rod), którą mam w ręce (which I have in my hand), wody Nilu (the waters of the Nile). Also: zamienią się w krew (they will turn into blood).

Verse 18: ryby Nilu poginą (the fishes of the Nile will perish); wydawać przykrą woń (to emit a foul smell); tak że (such that).

Wersety 19-22

  • kanał (m.), canal
  • staw (m.), pond
  • naczynie (n.), vessel
  • drewniany, wooden

Review: mówić (impf., to say), wziąć (pf., to take), laska (f., rod, staff), wyciągnąć (pf., to extend), ręka (f., hand), woda (f., water), rzeka (f., river), zbiorowisko (n., gathering), zamienić się (pf., to transform oneself), krew (f., blood), ziemia (f., land, earth), egipski (Egyptian), kamienny (stonen, of stone), nakazać (pf., to command, to order), podnieść (pf., to raise), uderzyć (pf., to strike), oko (n., eye), sługa (m., servant), ryba (f., fish), wyginąć (pf., to perish), zacząć (pf., to start, to begin), wydawać (impf., to emit), przykry (foul, nasty), woń (f., odour, smell), Egipcjanin (m., Egyptian), móc (impf., can, to be able), pić (impf., to drink), kraj (m., land, country), cały (entire), czarownik (m., sorcerer), dzięki (owing to, thanks to), wiedza (f., knowledge), tajemny (secret, occult, esoteric), pozostać (pf., to remain), uparty (stubborn, obstinate), serce (n., heart), usłuchać (pf., to heed, to listen), zapowiedzieć (pf., to announce, to foretell).

Verse 19: wyciągnij rękę na wody Egiptu (extend your hand over the waters of Egypt), na jego rzeki (over its rivers) i na jego kanały (and over its canals), i na jego stawy (and over its ponds), i na wszelkie jego zbiorowiska wód (and over all its gatherings of waters), a zamienią się w krew (and they will turn into blood). Zbiorowisko is one of the first nouns that you encountered in your study of Polish here; you will perhaps remember it from Rdz 1:10, when God gave the name “sea” to the gathering of waters: zbiorowisko wód nazwał morzem. The declension of zbiorowisko is below. From the remainder of the verse, w naczyniach drewnianych i kamiennych (in wooden and stonen vessels) is to be taken as meaning that blood will be present even in drinking vessels made of wood and stone.

Declension of zbiorowisko (n.)

sing. pl.
nom. zbiorowisko zbiorowiska
gen. zbiorowiska zbiorowisk
dat. zbiorowisku zbiorowiskom
acc. zbiorowisko zbiorowiska
instr. zbiorowiskiem zbiorowiskami
loc. zbiorowisku zbiorowiskach
voc. zbiorowisko zbiorowiska

Verse 20: Aaron podniósł laskę (Aaron raised his rod) i uderzył nią wody Nilu (and struck with it the waters of the Nile); na oczach (before the eyes of; that is, in the sight [presence] of).

Verse 21: ryby rzeki wyginęły (the fish[es] of the river perished); Nil zaczął wydawać przykrą woń (the Nile started emitting a foul smell).

Verse 22: lecz to samo (but the same) uczynili czarownicy egipscy (did the Egyptian sorcerers) dzięki swej wiedzy tajemnej (owing to their secret knowledge); see the notes at verse 11.

Wersety 23-29

  • odwrócić (pf.) się, to turn round
  • brać (impf.), to take
  • picie (n.), drinking
  • plaga (f.), plague
  • żaba (f.), frog
  • sypialnia (f.), bedroom
  • piec (m.), stove
  • dzieża (f.), kneading bowl
  • wśliznąć się (pf.), to creep in

Review: pójść (pf., to go), dom (m., house), serce (n., heart), kopać (impf., to dig), pobliże (n., vicinity), szukać (impf., to look for, to seek), woda (f., water), pić (impf., to drink), upłynąć (pf., to go by, to elapse), siedem (seven), dzień (m., day), chwila (f., moment, instant), uderzyć (pf., to strike), wypuścić (pf., to release, to let go), lud (m., people), służyć (impf., to serve), jeżeli (if), dotknąć (pf., to afflict), cały (entire), kraj (m., land, country), zaroić się (pf., to teem), wejść (pf., to enter, to go in), pałac (m., palace), łoże (m., bed), sługa (m., servant).

Verse 23: faraon odwrócił się (the Pharaoh turned round). He paid no heed to the occurrences, considering them to be of unimportance: nie biorąc sobie tego do serca (without taking this upon himself to heart; that is, without paying regard [heed, attention]).

Verse 24: wszyscy Egipcjanie kopali w pobliżu Nilu (all the Egyptians were digging round about [in the vicinity of] the Nile), szukając wody do picia (looking for water to drink [for the drinking]), bo nie mogli pić wody z Nilu (for they could not drink the water of the Nile).

Verse 25: upłynęło siedem dni (seven days passed) od chwili (from the moment), gdy Pan uderzył Nil (when the Lord had struck the Nile). Note the use of the neuter form of verb in upłynęło siedem dni.

Verse 27: to dotknę cały kraj twój plagą żab (then I shall afflict your entire country with the plague of frogs).

Declension of żaba (f.)

sing. pl.
nom. żaba żaby
gen. żaby żab
dat. żabie żabom
acc. żabę żaby
instr. żabą żabami
loc. żabie żabach
voc. żabo żaby

Verse 28: Nil zaroi się od żab (the Nile shall teem with frogs). The perfective zaroić się (to teem) was one of the first verbs you encountered in your Polish study here; in Rdz 1:20, you encountered: niechaj się zaroją wody od roju istot żywych (let the waters teem with a swarm of living creatures). Wejdą do pałacu twego: they shall enter your palace. Jak również: as well as.

Verse 29: żaby wślizną się (the frogs shall creep in) i do ciebie ([not only] unto you), i do twego ludu ([but also] unto your people) oraz do twoich sług (as well as unto your servants). Note the use of i… i… oraz (literally, and… and… as well as) in the enumeration.