ALMOND TREE (שָׁקֵד, H9196, Prunus Amygdalus communis). A tree common in Pal. in Jacob’s days (Gen. 43:11), prob. introduced into Egypt when Joseph was governor. This is how the children of Israel were able to use almonds as models for the cups of the golden lamps (Exod 25:33-36). Aaron’s rod (Num 17:1-8) was prob. brought from Egypt in the Exodus. There is a play on the Heb. word shāqēd meaning “hasten” or “be wakeful” (Jer 1:11, 12; Eccl 12:5). This is because the flowers of the almond appear long before the leaves. Jeremiah said: “I see a rod of almond.” The Lord answered: “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
The word šoqēd can mean “to watch for” or “to be wakeful.” Thus the sentence in Jeremiah 1:12 reads: “You have seen right; for I am wakeful over my word to carry it out.”
The reference in Ecclesiastes 12:5 may be because the flowers of the almond appear white from a distance, like the white hair of old age, or that the old men of those days were toothless, and so could not eat the nuts!
The word lûz in Joshua 16:2 and 18:13, as well as in Genesis 28:19 and 35:6, refers also to the almond tree, for the Arab. word “lûz” means “almond.”