Explaining Romanian Grammar in Matthew 2:16

The story of the early years of Christ is moving right along. At this point in the story, his family had fled to Egypt because an angel had appeared in Joseph’s dream warning him that King Herod was looking for the baby to kill him. As far as logic and proof, we are doing wonderfully. If you remember, our thesis sentence, or main point is that Jesus is the Messiah, the one promised from the Old Testament by God. We have talked several reasons why it is true. First, Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:22 & 24 and Isaiah 7:14). Next wise men come from the east, Zoroasters from India to see him (Matthew 2:1 &2, 2:11, Psalms 72:1-, Isaiah 60:6). After that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:6&7, Micah 5:2). And, then Jesus lived in Egypt (Matthew 2: 13-15, Hosea 11:3). It takes four legs to hold a table up. If any of those legs are missing, the table falls down. Those legs support the table. If Matthew’s thesis sentence was a table, we have four legs already that support it, so it is not going to fall down. Matthew has pretty much already proven his thesis sentence solidly, but he isn’t finished. He will give us more proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Now, we are ready to talk about the Romanian grammar in Matthew 2:16. Remember, Herod had told the magi that after they found out where Jesus was, they were to come back and tell him, but an angel warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod, so after seeing Jesus, they took off straight way for home. They didn’t go back to see Herod.

Irod s-a maniat foarte tare! (Herod got really angry!)Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Matei 2:16: Atunci Irod, cand a vazut ca fusese inselat magi, s-a maniat foarte tare si a trimis sa omoare pe toti pruncii barbateasca, de la doi ani in jos, care erau in Betlehem si in toate imprejurimile lui, potrivit cu vremea pe care o aflase intocmai de la magi.

Atunci Irod, = “Then Herod.” “Atunci” (then) is pronounced “ahtoonch.” If there is no mark over the “a” in Romanian, it is like the “a” in “father.” Any time you have an “i” after a “c: in Romanian, it sounds like a “ch.” “Irod” (Herod) is pronounced “eerod.”

Irod a vazut ca fusese inselat. (Herod saw that he was cheated.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

cand a vazut = “when he saw.” Yes, this is the beginning of a “when” clause. It is a clause because it has both a subject and a verb, and that subject and verb are “a vazut” (he saw). The “a” in “cand” should have an inverted “v” over it. This means that the “a” should be pronounced down in your throat like a grunt, “uh,” not like any English letter. “A vazut” is past perfect compus tense used as simple past tense. The “a” at the beginning and the “t” on the end tell you it is past tense. The “a” also tells you it is third person singular, so one of these pronouns is embedded: he, she, or it. We know it is “he” because we have already been told the sentence is talking about Herod. “A vazut” comes from the verb “a vedea” which means “to see.”

ca fusese inselat magi = “that he had been cheated (or tricked) by the magi.” “Ca” is often used as the relative pronoun “that” which would mean this is a relative clause. “Fusese” comes from “a fi” which means “to be.” “Fusese” is third person singular past perfect tense. Third person singular means that the subject is “he, she, or it,” and since we are talking about Herod, we know the subject is “he.” The past perfect tense of “to be” in English is “had been,” which means it happened in the past, continued for a period of time, and ended in the past. “Fusese” is pronounced “foosehsay.” “Inselat” can be translated as “cheated” or “tricked.” The “s” in “inselat” is an “sh” sound because of the “e” that is after the “s,” so “inselat” is pronounced “eenshehlaht.” “Fusese inselat” (was cheated) is a passive voice verb. That means the subject of this verb is not the one who does the action of the sentence. A passive voice verb is made up of a state of being verb, in this case “fusese” (was), and a past participle form of the verb. In this case “inselat” (cheated or tricked.) Often, in Romanian, the subject of the sentence comes after the verb, and it does here. After the verb, we find “magi,” and the magi are the ones who tricked Herod by not going back and telling him where Jesus was.

S-a maniat foarte tare. (He got really angry.)Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

s-a maniat foarte tare = “got really angry.” “S-a” is a contraction for “se” and “a.” This “se” is a reflexive pronoun meaning “himself.” The translator was smart because he realized that other people don’t make us mad, but we make ourselves mad because this means that Herod made himself mad or angry. “A” is the prefix to “maniat.” “A maniat” comes from “a mania” which means “to be angry” or “to be mad.” Yes, it looks like our English word “mania,” so Latin must be where that word came from, but it is pronounced differently than our word. “A mania” is pronounced “ah mahnee-ah.” “A maniat” is past perfect compus tense which means it is a kind of past perfect tense the Romanian use when we use simple past tense in English. “A maniat” is in third person singular which means these pronouns can be imbedded in it: he, she, or it. Since we are talking about Herod, we know the pronoun is “he.” “Foarte” is pronounced “foh-ahrtay.” and means “very.” “Foarte” is an adverb telling about “tare.” “Tare” is pronounced “tahray” and means “strong.” “Tare” would normally be used an adjective in English, but it is used as an adverb here because it tells about the verb. “Foarte” is an adverb because it tells about “strong” another adverb, and adverbs tell about verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Irod a ucis pe pruncii! (Herod killed babies!) Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

si a trimis sa omoare pe toti pruncii barbateasca = “and he sent to kill all the male babies.” “Si” is pronounced “shee” because it should have a comma attached to the bottom of it. “Si” means “and.” “A trimis” is the past perfect compus form of “a trimi.” “A trimi” means “to send.” Romanians use the past perfect compus form of the verb like we use the simple past tense of the verb. “A trimis” is third person singular which means that it could have any one of these pronouns embedded into it: he, she, or it. We know the pronoun to choose us “he” because this verse is talking about Herod. “Sa omoare” is the infinitive used inside of the sentence. The infinitive found in dictionaries Is “a omore.” In English, the infinitive is “to kill.” “Sa omoare” is pronounced “sah ohmoh-ahray.”

Cel soldat a folosit sabidurele sa oamare pruncii. (Those soldiers used swords to kill babies.) Sunt atat de trist si uimit! (I am so sad and shocked!)Photo by Daisa TJ on Pexels.com

“Pe” is used next to tell you that what comes next is a human being or beings and the direct object. “Pe” is pronounced “pay.” “Toti” means “all.” “Toti” should have a comma attached to the bottom of the “t.” If a comma is attached to the bottom of the “t,” the it is pronounced “ts.” The “i” on the end is barely voice, and sounds like “ee.” “Prunchii” means “the babies,” and is pronounced “pruhnchee” with the “r” trilled. The “c” is pronounced like a “ch” because there is an “i” after it. There are two “i’s” on the end of “pruncii.” One of the “i’s” makes the word plural. The other means “the,” the definite article which means he was going to kill specific babies. “Barbateasca” means “male” and is an adjective. If you just have “barbat,” it means “man.” “Barbateasca” is pronounced “buhrbuhteh-ahskah.” All the “a’s” in “barbateasca” except the second ot the last should have a mark over them that looks like the smile in a happy face or one en dof a parenthesis tipped over “(.” “Barbateasca” tells about “pruncii” as does “toti.” Yes, the adjective comes after the noun in Romanian, but at times, they put it before the noun for emphasis, so the translator was emphasizing that Herod wanted “all” the babies killed.

de la doi ani in jos = “From two years and under.” “De” is like Spanish. “De,” here means “from” and is pronounced “day.” “La” looks like Spanish, but it means something completely different than it does in Spanish. In Spanish, it means “the,” but in Romanian it means “to” or “at.” In this case, it means “at,” but when we translate it into English, it makes no sense, so we leave it out. “Doi” is pronounced “doy” and means “two.” “Ani” is pronounced “ahnee” with just a slight voice barely audible on the “i” (ee) at the end. that “i” at the end is our English “s.” It makes things plural. “De la doi ani” is a prepositional phrase with “de la” as the preposition and “ani” as the object of the preposition. “In jos” is also a prepositional phrase with “in” as the preposition and “jos” as the object of the preposition. “Jos” means “under,” and here is it used like a noun, so it can be used as the object of the preposition.

Era o multime de crimele de toti pruncii barbateasca in Betelehem. (It was mas murder of all the male babies in Bethlehem.) Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

care erau in Betelehem = “which were in Bethlehem.” “Care” is pronounced “kahray” and means “which,” a relaitve pronoun. This means this is a relative clause, and it is used like an adjective describing “prunchii” (the babies). “Erau” comes from “a fi” which means “to be.” “Erau” is simple past tense of “a fi.” “Erau” is also third person plural which means that the subject imbedded in it is “they” and it translates as “were.” “In Betelehem” is a prepositional phrase that means “in Bethlehem.” The “t” in “Betelehem” should be pronounced with your tongue against the ridge a the top of our mouth behind your teeth and the back of your teeth.

El nu a oprit doar sa ucide pruncii din Betlehem, dar si in tot satele de asemnea. (He didn’t stop and only kill the babies in Bethlehem, but also in all the villages too.)Photo by Alexis Azabache on Pexels.com

si in toate imprejurimele lui = “And in all the surrounding areas.” “Si” means “and,” and is pronounced “shee.” “In,” again, is the English “in,” but pronounced “uhn” because the “i” should have an inverted “v” over it. “Toate” means “all” and is pronounced “toh-ahtay.” “Imprejurimele” means “the surrounding areas.” The “ele” on the end of “imprejurimele” is a plural “the.” If you have just “imprejur,” it means “around,” an adverb. However, all that extra stuff on the ends makes “imprejurimele” into a plural noun with a definite article.” It is the object of the preposition “in.” The first “i” in “imprejurimele” should have an inverted “v” over it and be pronounced “uh” down in your throat. “Lui” after “imprejurimele” is a sign of possession. It means that the surrounding areas belong to Bethlehem. “Lui” is pronounced “loo-ee.”

El a calculate timpul potrivit. (He calculated the time that fit.)Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

potrivit cu vremea = “fitting with the time.” “Potrivit” means “fitting.” If a pair of blue jeans or a dress fits you, you say “ma potreveste” which means “it fits me.” “Potrivit” comes from “a potrivi” that means “to fit.” “Potrivit” is the participle of the verb that can be used as an adjective, “fitting.” “Cu” is pronounced “koo” and means “with. “Vremea” means “the time.” The “a” on the end of “vremea” means “the.” It is a feminine definite article meaning there was a specific time. Just “vreme” means “time,” and is a noun, the object of the prepostion “with” (cu).

pe care o aflase = “in which he had found it out.” “Pe care” means “in which.” That means that this is another relative clause. “Pe care” is pronounced “pay kahray.” “O” is the feminine direct object pronoun. There is no neutral gender pronoun in Romanian, so you use either the masculine or the feminine direct object pronoun for “it.” “O” means “it” here. Yes, the direct object is before the verb instead of after like in English. This is the unstressed direct object because it is before the verb. “Aflase” comes from “a afla” which means “to find out.” “Aflase” is the past perfect third person singular form of “a afla” which means in English, it is “he had found out.”

El a aflat despre Jesus de la magi. (He found out about Jesus from the magi.)Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

intocmai de la magi = “exactly from the magi.” “Intocmai” is an adverb that tells about “afalse” (found out). “intocmai” means “exactly.” The first “i” on “intocmai” should have an inverted “v” over it and be pronounced “uh” down in your throat like a grunt. The “ai” on the end of “intocmai” is pronounced like the English word “my.” “De,” again, means “from.” “La.” again, means “at.” However, we don’t pronounce it into English because it makes no sense in English. “Magi” means the same thing in English, but the “a” is pronounced like the “a” in “father.”

Let’s put this verse all together: “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the magi, got really angry and sent to kill all the male babies from two years and under that were in Bethlehem and al the surrounding areas fitting with the time in which he had found out exactly from the magi.”

Vers acest intotdeauna face pe mine sa vrea sa plange. (This verse always makes me want to cry.) Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

I kept warning you in previous blogs that Herod was the bad guy, and you can really see it here. I can’t imagine what the parents and siblings of all those babies were going through when soldiers came to kills the babies. I can’t imagine what irreparable harm it did to the psyches of the solders who had to kill those babies. This is a historical act written about in history too. Can you imagine a head of state doing that today? We would all be calling him a butcher, and people would be out to kill him and get him off the throne. God had warned Joseph in a dream, and Jesus escaped this mess. I used to teach this chapter with pictures, and I could hardly draw this part because it hurt so much to think about it, about soldiers with swords going out and using those swords on all the innocent defenseless babies. Herod was more than a butcher. He must have really wanted that throne. He did it because he was afraid Jesus would be able to come and take his throne from him.

Din cauza ca Dumnezeu a intervenit, Iesu nu era omorit. (Because God intervened, Jesus wasn’t killed.) Photo by JUAN CARLOS LEVA on Pexels.com

This was prophesied about in the old Testament too, and Matthew gives us the scripture from the Old Testament in the next verse. I will leave talking about the prophecy until the next Romanian grammar blog. We already have our table standing firmly on four legs, but Matthew is going to give it more legs.

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