I am learning that people really like the grammar blogs, so I will try to put one out as often as possible since I have been explaining grammar in several languages, and I want everyone to get the language they want. Since I did Korean and Spanish yesterday, I will give you Romanian today.
So far, we have talked about the birth of Jesus from chapter one, and then on to chapter 2 where the magi went looking for a star, King Herod called the chief priests and scribes asking where Jesus would be born, and then King Herod telling the magi that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. After that, the wise men found baby Jesus, took him gifts, and worshiped him, the first people to worship him. In this next verse, we can really see the hand of God because the wise men or magi really get wise. The grammar is reviewed was we go because I explain everything on the page.
Matei 2:12: ,,In urma, au fost instiiintati de Dumnezeu in vis sa nu mai dea pe la Irod, si s-au intors in tara lor pe un alt drum.”
,,In urma, = “after that,” I used the Romanian system of quotation marks again, putting them at the bottom at the beginning and at the end, at the top. The “i” in “in” needs an inverted “v” over it, and “in” is pronounced “uhn” down in your throat, not like English at all. “Urma” needs a smile from a smiley face like a side ways parenthesis “)” over the last “a.” That means “urma” is pronounced “oormuh.” Technically, “in” means “in,” and “urama” means “following,” but separately, the make no sense, so I translated them together as “after that.” This is an introductory prepositional phrase. “In” in a preposition, and “urma” (following) is a gerund style noun, except “following” in Romanian is technically “urmand.” It is really hard if you expect to translate everything straight through because it hardly ever happens in a language. You translate the essence of what is being said, not word for word.
au fost = “they were” or “they had been.” This verb is in past perfect tense (a kind of past tense) used as simple past tense. If it were just simple past tense, they would have translated it as “erau.” However, Romanian also uses present perfect tense as simple past tense. “Au fost” comes from “a fi” which means “to be.” The “au” tells you it is third person plural past perfect tense, and the “t” on the end also tells you it is past perfect tense. Past perfect happens over a period of time in the past and begins and finishes in the past. Simple past happens at one time and is finished in the past. “They were” is simple past tense, and “they had been” is past perfect tense. The Romanians prefer to use past perfect more often than simple past, but in English we use simple past more often. Because of the “au,” we know “they” is embedded here.
instiinstati de Dumnezeu- “warned by God.” Actually, “au fost instiistati de Dumnezeu” is passive voice. In passive voice, the subject is not who does the action of the verb. Sometimes you are not even told who does the action unless there is a prepositional phrase at the end with the preposition “by,” or in Romanian “de.” The subject of a sentence usually does the action of the verb, but that is only in active voice sentences. If it is in passive voice, the object of the preposition does the action, and the subject receives the action. If I were to change this passive voice section of the sentence to active voice, I would say, “God warned them” or “Dumnezeu le a instiinstat.” If passive voice is used, there is usually a reason. As an English professor, I encouraged my students to use active voice. Here, passive voice is used to put more emphasis on the magi or wise men and the fact that they had knowledge rather than who gave them the knowledge.
The word in Romanian, here, used for “warn” is extremely interesting. If you look it up in the dictionary, it is not going to be there. The actual word for “warn” is “a avertiza.” this word for “warn” comes from “stiinta” which means a Scientific knowledge, so God gave them Scientific knowledge. That means there was no doubt about the knowledge he gave them. There was nothing mystical about the knowledge God gave them. It was based on fact.
“Instiintatati” has a lot to it as far as pronuncation. The first “I” should have an inverted “v” over it making it sound like “uh” down in your throat, not a place English letters come from at all. Next, the “s” needs a comma under it making it pronounced like “sh.” The next two “i’s” look unusual to English speakers because we never put two “i’s” together in English. Just a plain “i” in Romanian is pronounced “ee.” If there are two of them together like this, it is pronounced “ee-ee” with a kind of waving of the voice between the two “i’s.” Next, the third “t” and the fourth “t” both need a comma attached to the bottom. They are both pronounced “ts.” Both “a’s” are pronounced “ah.” The final “i” is not really voiced and barely heard. Some may just not say it at all because it’s sound is so insignificant. We come out with something like this in English, “uhnshtee-eentsahts.”
in vis – “in a dream.” “In” means the same thing it does in English. However, it is said differently. That “i” at the beginning should have an inverted “v” over it making it a sound we don’t use in English which is like a grunt down in the throat. “In” is pronounced “uhn.” “Vis” means “dream. The indefinite article is missing in Romanian because many languages don’t always consider the indefinite article as important as English does. Romanian has indefinite articles. They are “un” and “o,” but the translator decided to leave them out because he thought they were irrelevant. In English, our indefinite article is “a.” Which means there is one, any one, not a particular one. Can you see why some people might think this is irrelevant? Without the indefinite article, it would mean the same.
sa nu mai dea pe la Irod = “to not give anymore to Herod.” “Sa” should have a mark over the “a” that looks like a smile on a smiley face, like a parenthesis tipped to the side “).” “Sa” is pronounced “suh.” “Sa” means “to,” connected to the verb. “Nu” means either “no” or “not.” “Nu” is pronounced “noo.” “Mai” means “more.” It is pronounced “mah-ee.” When it is used the way it is used here, it means “anymore.” “Dea” comes from “a da” which means “to give.” “Dea” is in future tense, third person plural. that means the pronoun embedded is “they.” Romanian is giving a lot more information in this section of the sentence than we normally give in English. We don’t conjugate or infinitives, but then can, and they did because the “sa” is connected to “dea.” “Pe” normally means “on,” but not here. Here, it is used before “Irod” to tell us that “Irod” is an object. “Pe” is only used before people, not things. If you speak Spanish, it is like “a” before people in Spanish. “La” looks like Spanish, but it means something completely different in Romanian. In Spanish, it means “the,” but in Romanian, it means “to.” It is a different “to” than “sa.” “Sa,” as I said, is connected to the verb, but “la” is a preposition, and “Irod” is the object proper noun of the preposition. The prepositional phrase is actually “pe la Irod.”
si s-au intors in tara lor = “And, they returned to their country.” “Si” is pronounced like the English word “she,” but means “and.” The “s” should have a comma attached to the bottom of it to make it “sh.” “S-au” is a contraction. The “s” comes from “se” which means “themselves.” The “au” is the prefix for “intors.” “Au intors” technically means “they had returned,” but we don’t use the past perfect tense the same way the Romanians do, so we say “they returned” and use simple past tense. If “au intors” was in simple past tense in Romanian, they would say “intoarceau.” However, the use past perfect tense rather than simple past like we do. “They returned” is simple past tense, and “they had returned” is past perfect tense. “In” is that “in” in Romanian that is pronounced “uhn” down in your throat. However, we can’t translate it as “in” in English this time because it would a be a bit strange. Instead, we translate it as “to,” the preposition. “Tara” is the noun object of the preposition. “Tara” means “country,” “Tara” needs a comma on the bottom of the “t”, so it is pronounced “tsahrah.” “Lor” is a post position possessive pronoun meaning “their.” In English, we put “their” before the noun, but in Romanian, it comes after the noun, so “tara lor” means “their country.”
pe un alt drum = “on another road.” As I said before, “pe,” if it isn’t used before a person, means “on.” “Un” is a masculine “a,” the indefinite article. “Alt” means “other.” “Drum” is pronounced “droom” and means “road.”
Let’s put this verse all together: “After that, they were warned by God in a dream not to give anymore to Herod, and they returned to their country on another road.”
Have you ever gone to bed with a problem in your head bothering you, but you really don’t know the answer? But, in the middle of the night, or the next day, you woke up with the answer? I have done it, and I know my brain works overtime when I am asleep. It is a gift God gave us. That is why the expression, “I’m going to sleep on it” came about. Our brain is a marvelous instrument that God gave us, and we really don’t seem to tap into all its potential, but these “wise” men were using theirs. There is no doubt in my mind because they woke up the next day having figured out that King Herod was a bad man, and they wanted to avoid him.
Also in this passage in the Romanian Bible, I found something great! I had really worked to figure out where these “wise men” or “magi” were from, and I had already figured out that they were Zoroasters from India, they tribe that eventually became known as gypsies. However, in the Romanian, Bible, there was an asterisk (*) by this verse, so I looked at the bottom to see what was there. There were two Old Testament scriptures, and I looked them up.
Here is what Isaiah 60:6 says in English, “Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and ephah. And, all from Sheba will come bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of he Lord. ” I looked up “Sheba” because I thought the Queen of Sheba was from Ethiopia, and she was. However, there are three places that can have a place called “Sheba” in them: Ethiopia, Yemen, and India. The Romanian Bible is connecting this prophecy to the wise men. Isaiah was written in 740 B. C., and Matthew was written between 50-70 A. D. Jesus was born in 4 B. C. If it is a prophecy about the wise men, it is another amazing prophecy because it talks about people coming on camels bring fits from Sheba, perhaps India.
The other scripture at the bottom in the Romanian Bible is Psalms 72:10: “The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him, the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.” The notes on this say that this means people will even come from Spain, and that it has “Sheba” and “Seba” because there is more than one place, and they are guessing where they can be, and they are the ones listed above: Ethiopia, Yemen, and India. Psalms was written over a period of time by different authors, but mostly King David, and it was completed by the 3rd Century B. C. which is well before Jesus was born and well before Matthew wrote his book.
I know there are many, many prophecies in the Old Testament that told us that Jesus was coming and even gave us specific details. We have already talked about Isaiah 7:14 telling us that a virgin would be with child and the child would be “God with us.” We have already also talked about Micah 5:2 from the Old Testament saying that a great ruler would come from Bethlehem who would be a shepherd for his people. These scriptures were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. It is amazing that they knew so much about him before he came. There are more than 100 scriptures like this in the Old Testament telling about Jesus before he came.
If you follow Aristotle’s logic, he says we have to have at least three good reasons to prove a point. The prophecies just keep mounting up about Jesus, and there are many more than just three. As Matthew continues to write, he will point out even more prophecies fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is, no doubt, the one that God promised the people in the Old Testament.—Have a nice day! We will talk about verse 13 next time.