5.1. “Tandem, grandī amne trānsmissō, pervenimus ad interiōrem sōlitūdinem, ubi, dominam eiusque līberōs ex mōre gentis adōrāre iussī, cervīcēs flectimus. 5.2 Hīc, quasi clausus carcere, mūtātō habitū—id est nūdus—ambulāre discō; nam āeris quoque intemperiēs praeter pudīcitiam nihil aliud vēlārī patiēbātur. 5.3 Trāduntur mihi pāscendae ovēs, et in malōrum comparātiōne, hōc fruor sōlāciō, quod dominōs meōs et cōnservōs rārius videō. 5.4 Vidēbar mihi habēre aliquid sānctī Iācōb, recordābar Moȳsī, quī et ipsī in erēmō pecorum quondam fuēre pāstōrēs. Vescēbar recentī cāseō et lacte. Ōrābam iūgiter, canēbam psalmōs, quōs in monastēriō didiceram. 5.5 Dēlectābat mē captīvitās mea, agēbamque Deī iūdiciō grātiās, quod monachum, quem in patriā fueram perditūrus, in erēmō invēneram.
Finally we arrived far in the interior of the wilderness and were handed over to a household and new masters. I wore nothing but a loincloth, and abased myself on the ground to them in the eastern manner. Later I was given the job of shepherd, which meant I thankfully saw the master less. I took consolation from Biblical precedents for my captivity.
grandī amne trānsmissō: ablative absolute. The river is probably the Euphrates.
Pervenimus: other verbs in this paragraph (e.g. flectimus) suggest that pervenimus is a historical present, used often by Jerome for vividness (AG 469).
ad interiōrem sōlitūdinem: the location of this wilderness is uncertain; Malchus is not giving a detailed geographical description.
ex mōre gentis adorare iussī: Greeks and Romans typically describe peoples of the East, especially Persians, as engaging in proskynesis (Latin adoratio) before human rulers; this could range from bowing to full prostration on the ground.
mūtātō habitū: ablative absolute or ablative of description (AG 415).
āeris intemperiēs: “the extreme heat of atmosphere” < intemperiēs -eī f., “excessiveness” (of climate, etc.).
praeter pudīcitiam: “except for (my) modesty” i.e. “except for my private parts.”
pāscendae: gerundive, here used as simple participle in agreement with a noun, indicating necessity, obligation, or propriety (AG 500).
sōlāciō < sōlācium -(i)ī n., “consolation”; ablative with fruor.
quod ... rārius videō: substantive clause using quod, “the fact that I rarely see” (AG 572). Light supervision was typical for agricultural and rural slaves such as shepherds in the ancient world.
habēre aliquid sānctī Iācōb: “to be a little like the holy man Jacob.” Jacob worked as a shepherd for his uncle Laban, so that he could marry Laban’s daughter Rachel (Genesis 29:15-28; 30:31; 31:4). sānctī Iācōb is partitive genitive with aliquid. Use of the word sanctus to refer to a character in the Old Testament is unusual (see Gray).
fuēre = fuērunt, an archaic and artificial form (Gray).
Vescēbar < vescor, vescī , “to feed on” (+ abl.)
recentī: “fresh” (abl. with vescor)
Dēlectābat mē captīvitās mea: a striking oxymoron, emphasizing Malchus’ Christian self-abnegation
monachum: “the monk,” i.e. “the state of being a monk.”
fueram perditūrus: “had been about to lose” by returning home. If he had returned home as planned Malchus would never, he thinks, have returned to his life as a monk.
grandis grandis grande: full-grown, grown up; large, great, grand, tall, lofty; powerful; aged, old
trānsmittō -ere -mīsī -missus: to send across; bear or convey across or over; give over; to cross, pass over, fly over, with acc. of the space crossed over; to make across, of a passage or voyage
interior interiōris: inner, interior, middle; more intimate, closer (of friends etc)
sōlitūdō -inis f.: solitude, loneliness; desert, waste land
līberī līberōrum m. pl.: children
adōrō adōrāre adōrāvī adōrātus: to pray to; supplicate, worship, adore
cervīx cervīcis f.: neck, nape; severed head/neck
flectō flectere flēxī flexus: to bend, curve, bow; turn, curl; persuade, prevail on, soften
carcer carceris m.: prison, jail; starting gate
habitus habitūs m.: condition, appearance; style of dress, get-up, costume
ambulō ambulāre ambulāvī ambulātum: to walk
intemperiēs -ēī f.: want of moderation, irregularity, excess, inclemency
pudīcitia -ae f.: chastity, modesty, virtue
vēlō vēlāre vēlāvī vēlātus: to cover, conceal
pāscō pāscere pāvī pāstum: to nourish, feed; pasture
ovis -is n.: sheep
malum malī n.: evil, misfortune, calamity
comparātiō comparātiōnis f.: comparison
sōlācium sōlāci(ī) n.: comfort, consolation
dominus dominī m.: master, lord
conserva -ae f. or conservus -ī m.: fellow-slave
rārō (rārius rārissimē) : rarely, seldom
Iācōbus -ī m. (Iācob): Jacob, a man's name
recordor recordārī recordātus sum: to remember, recollect
Mōses (Mōȳses) -is (-ī) m.: Moses
erēmus -ī m. or f.: desert, waste land (late Latin)
pāstor pāstōris m.: shepherd
vēscor vēscī: to eat, feed on
cāseus -ī m.: cheese
lac lactis n.: milk; juice
canō canere cecini cantum: to sing
psalmus -ī m.: psalm
monastērium -ī n.: a monastery
dēlectō dēlectāre dēlectāvī dēlectātus: to delight, please, amuse, fascinate; charm, lure, entice; be a source of delight; (passive) be delighted/glad, take pleasure; (+ inf.) enjoy (being/doing)
captīvitās —ātis f. : servitude, captivity, bondage
grātēs: defect. (found only in nom. and acc. pl.), f. (grator), thanks; in a bad sense, return, reward
monachus -ī m.: a monk
erēmus -ī m. or f.: desert, waste land (late Latin)