(שָׁקֵד, shaked', wakeful, from its early blossoming, comp. Pliny 16:25, 42) occurs as the name of a tree in Ec 12:5: "The almond-tree (Sept. ἀμύγδαλον, Vulg. amygdalum) shall flourish, and the fruit of the caper (q.v.) droop, because man goeth to his long home." This evidently refers to the profuse flowering and white appearance of the almond-tree when in full bloom, and before its leaves appear. It is hence adduced as illustrative of the hoary hairs of age (Thomson's Land and Book, 1, 496). Gesenius, however, objects (Thes. Heb. p. 1473) that the blossoms of the almond are not white, but roseate, like the peach-blow; but see Knobel, Ewald, Hitzig, in loc. In Jer 1:11, a "rod of an almond-tree" (Sept. καρύϊνος, Vulg. vigilans) is made an emblem of prompt vigilance and zeal, according to the inherent force of the original term (Henderson, Comment. in loc.). The produce of the tree is also denoted by the same term, evidently some species of nut, in Ge 43:11 (Sept. κάρυον, Aquila and Symmachus ἀμύγδαλον), where Jacob desires his sons to take into Egypt of the best fruits of the land, almonds, etc. As the almond-tree is a native of Syria and Palestine, and extends from thence to Afghanistan, and does not appear to have been indigenous in Egypt, almonds were very likely to form part of a present from Jacob, even to the great men of Egypt; the more especially as the practice of the Ease is for people to present what they can afford in their respective stations. In Nu 17:8, the rod of Aaron is described as having "brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds" (Sept. κάρυα, Vulg. amygdalas). In Ex 25:33-34; Ex 37:19 (where the derivative verb שָׁקִד is used), bowls are directed to be made like almonds (Sept. καρυϊvσκους). The form of the almond would lead to its selection for ornamental carved work, independently of its forming an esteemed esculent, as well as probably yielding a useful oil. SEE NUT.
The word לוּז, luz, translated "hazel," also occurs in Ge 30:37, as the name of some tree, rods of which Jacob peeled and set before his ewes at the time of their conception; and was probably another term for the almond, of which the Arabic name is still luz (Forskal, Flora AEg. p. 67). Some think this was the wild almond, while shaked designates the cultivated variety (Rosenmuller, Alterth. IV, 1, 263 sq.). SEE HAZEL.
The almond-tree very closely resembles the peach-tree both in form, blossoms, and fruit; the last, however, being destitute of the pulpy flesh covering the peach-nut. It is, in fact, only another species of the same genus (Amygdalus communis, Linn.). It is a native of Asia and Africa, but it may be cultivated in the south of Europe, and the hardier varieties even in the middle portions of the United States. The flowers appear as early as February (Thomson, Land and Book, 1, 495), or even January (Pliny, 16:42; comp. Buhle, Calend. Paloest. p. 5 sq.; Schubert, Reis. 3, 114), the fruit in March (Kitto, Phys. Hist. of Palest.). For a general discussion of the subject, see Celsius, Hierob. 1, 297 sq.; Hayne, Beschreib. d. in d. Arzneikunde gebrauchlichen Gewachse, 4, No. 39; Strumpf, Handbuch der Arzneimittellehre (Berlin, 1848), 1:93 sq.; Martins, Pharmakogn. p. 254 sq.; London, Arboret. Britann. (Lond. 1838), 2:637 sq.; Penny Cyclopoedia, s.v. Amygdalus. SEE BOTANY.