This tree resembles a peach-tree, but is larger. In Palestine, it blossoms in January, and in March has fruit. Its blossoms are white. Its Hebrew name signifies a watcher, and to this there is an allusion in Jer 1:11. In Ec 12:5, the hoary head is beautifully compared with the almond-tree, both on account of its snowy whiteness and its winter blossoming.
a native of Syria and Palestine. In form, blossoms, and fruit it resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, shaked, signifying “wakeful, hastening,” is given to it on account of its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February, and sometimes even in January. In Eccl. 12:5, it is referred to as illustrative, probably, of the haste with which old age comes. There are others, however, who still contend for the old interpretation here. “The almond tree bears its blossoms in the midst of winter, on a naked, leafless stem, and these blossoms (reddish or flesh-coloured in the beginning) See m at the time of their fall exactly like white snow-flakes. In this way the almond blossom is a very fitting symbol of old age, with its silvery hair and its wintry, dry, barren, unfruitful condition.” In Jer. 1:11 “I See a rod of an almond tree [shaked]…for I will hasten [shaked] my word to perform it” the word is used as an emblem of promptitude. Jacob desired his sons (Gen. 43:11) to take with them into Egypt of the best fruits of the land, almonds, etc., as a present to Joseph, probably because this tree was not a native of Egypt. Aaron’s rod yielded almonds (Num. 17:8; Heb. 9:4). Moses was directed to make certain parts of the candlestick for the ark of carved work “like unto almonds” (Ex. 25:33, 34). The Hebrew word luz, translated “hazel” in the Authorized Version (Gen. 30:37), is rendered in the Revised Version “almond.” It is probable that luz denotes the wild almond, while shaked denotes the cultivated variety.
(Jer 1:11-12; Hebrew “I see a rod of the wakeful tree (the emblem of wakefulness) … Thou hast well seen: for I will be wakeful (Hebrew for “hasten”) as to My word.”) It first wakes out of the wintry sleep and buds in January. In Ecc 12:5, instead of “the almond tree shall flourish,” Gesenius translates “(the old man) loathes (through want of appetite) even the (sweet) almond;” for the blossom is pink, not white, the color of the old man’s hair.
But as the Hebrew means “bud” or “blossom” in Son 6:11 it probably means here “the wakefulness of old age sets in.” Or the color may not be the point, but the blossoms on the leafless branch, as the hoary locks flourish as a crown on the now arid body. Exo 25:33-34; in the tabernacle the candlesticks had “bowls made in the form of the almond flower” or “nut,” most graceful in shape; perhaps the pointed nut within was the design for the cup, the sarcocarp containing the oil, and the flame shaped nut of gold emitting the light from its apex. Luz, the original name of Bethel, was derived from one species of almond (Gen 28:19; Gen 30:37), luz.
It was almond, not hazel, rods wherewith Jacob secured the ringstraked and speckled offspring from the flocks. Jordan almonds were famed. The almonds growing on Aaron’s rod, when laid up over night before the Lord, denote the ever wakeful priesthood which should continue until the Antitype should come; type also of the vigilance and fruitfulness which Christ’s ministers should exhibit;. also of the rod of Christ’s strength which shall finally destroy every adversary (Num 17:8; Psa 110:2; Psa 110:5-6).
a’-mund: (1) shaqedh, Gen 43:11; Num 17:8, etc. The word shaked comes from a Hebrew root meaning to “watch” or “wait.” In Jer 1:11; Jer 1:12 there is a play on the word, “And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree (shaqedh). Then said Yahweh unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will watch (shoqedh) over my word to perform it.” (2) luz; the King James Version hazel, Ge 30:37; lauz is the modern Arabic name for “almond”–Luz was the old name of (which see).
1. Almond Tree:
The almond tree is mentioned in Ec 12:5, where in the description of old age it says “the almond-tree shall blossom.” The reference is probably to the white hair of age. An almond tree in full bloom upon a distant hillside has a certain likeness to a head of white hair.
2. A Rod of Almond:
A rod of almond is referred to Ge 30:37, where “Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond (luz) and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them” as a means of securing “ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted” lambs and goats–a proceeding founded doubtless upon some ancient folklore. Aaron’s rod that budded (Num 17:2; Num 17:3) was an almond rod. Also see Jer 1:11 referred to above.
3. The Blossoms:
The blossoms of the almond are mentioned Exod 25:33; Exod 37:19 f, etc. “Cups made like almond-blossoms in one branch, a knop (i.e. knob) and a flower,” is the description given of parts of the sacred candlesticks. It is doubtful exactly what was intended–the most probable is, as Dillmann has suggested, that the cup was modeled after the calyx of the almond flower. See CANDLESTICK.
4. The Fruit:
Israel directed his sons (Ge 43:11) to carry almonds as part of their present to Joseph in Egypt. Palestine is a land where the almond flourishes, whereas in Egypt it would appear to have been uncommon. Almonds are today esteemed a delicacy; they are eaten salted or beaten into a pulp with sugar like the familiar German Marzipan.
The almond is Amygdalus communis (N.O. Rosaceae), a tree very similar to the peach. The common variety grows to the height of 25 feet and produces an abundant blossom which appears before the leaves; In Palestine this is fully out at the end of January or beginning of February; it is the harbinger of spring. This early blossoming is supposed to be the origin of the name shaqedh which contains the idea of “early.” The masses of almond trees in full bloom in some parts of Palestine make a very beautiful and striking sight. The bloom of some varieties is almost pure white, from a little distance, in other parts the delicate pink, always present at the inner part of the petals, is diffused enough to give a pink blush to the whole blossom. The fruit is a drupe with a dry fibrous or woody husk which splits into two halves as the fruit ripens. The common wild variety grows a kernel which is bitter from the presence of a substance called amygdalon, which yields in its turn prussic (hydrocyanic) acid. Young trees are grafted with cuttings from the sweet variety or are budded with apricot, peach or plum.
E. W. G. Masterman
The tree and its fruit are represented by the same word. It is derived from a root signifying ‘to hasten,’ which is appropriate, seeing it is the first tree to break out into blossom, as a forerunner of spring. The meaning is confirmed by Jer. 1:11, 12 where the prophet saw an almond tree, and Jehovah said, “Thou hast well seen:for I will hasten my word to perform it.” The bowls of the golden candlestick were to be made like almonds. Ex. 25:33, 34; Ex. 37:19, 20. Aaron’s rod budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds in one night, Num. 17:8:beautiful type of the coming of the Lord Jesus out of His grave perfect for His priestly functions. In Ecc. 12:5, when everything seems to be decaying instead of ‘the almond tree shall flourish,’ it may be translated ‘the almond tree shall be despised;’ others say, ’cause loathing;’ others prefer to compare the almond tree to the white head of an old man hastening to the grave.
• Levitical city of refuge
• Called Alemeth
The almond tree is associated with one of the earliest prophecies of a young Jeremiah. “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a branch of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching to perform My word.’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12)
This prophecy uses a play on words that carries a vital truth for Israel as well as for us. The Hebrew word for almond, shaked, is also translated “to watch”. By seeing the almond branch, God assured Jeremiah that He is watching over His word to bring it to pass, no matter the passage of time.
In context, God had just given Israel a warning. “I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:9-10) Then after Jeremiah sees the almond tree, God shows him a boiling pot over Jerusalem which portends “calamity”. (Jeremiah 1:13-14) While the almond is a sign of hope that God will eventually fulfill His wonderful promises to Israel (or to us), the context is more ominous.
Later, God repeated the warning through Jeremiah: “Behold, I will watch (shaked) over them for evil, and not for good…” (Jeremiah 44:27). God’s message to Israel was that sin has consequences and there will come a time of reckoning – namely the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Israel.
Years later, Daniel would pray: “Therefore has the Lord watched (shaked) upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all His works which He does: for we obeyed not His voice.” (Daniel 9:14)
The lesson of the almond tree, therefore, is that God in heaven watches a sinful nation walking away from Him and declares it will have consequences. His message to humanity today is still the same: God is watching! He will watch over His word either for curse or for blessing. When sin and immorality engulf nations and even penetrate the Church, we should remember: God is watching! When nations assail Israel and seek to divide her land, we can be sure: God is watching! (Read the whole post!)