By Barri Cae Mallin
The word of the LORD
came to me saying, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
~ Jeremiah 1:11 ~
word of the LORD came to me saying,
"What do you see, Jeremiah?" And I
said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the LORD said to me, “You
have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” (Jeremiah
The Bible first mentions the almond in Genesis 43:11: Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.”
According to Numbers 17, Aaron’s rod, made out of the almond tree, sprouted, thus denoting that he was God’s choice to be priest: Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
It was a miracle that the rod blossomed. God’s choice was for Aaron to be priest.
We also see the almond in the Temple
menorah: Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and
its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its
bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. Six branches shall
go out from its sides; three branches of the lampstand from its one side
and three branches of the lampstand from its other side. Three cups
shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a
flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch,
a bulb and a flower—so for six branches going out from the lampstand;
and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs
and its flowers. (Exodus 25:31-34)
The almond is the first tree that awakens in the early spring. The almond is the early bird of trees, also known as the hasty tree. Even though Jeremiah was looking at a rod, a tool for chastening, the rod was the almond tree, the ‘hasty tree’.
The LORD then does a play on words. His reply back to Jeremiah was: Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching (שֹׁקֵד. shoh-kayd) over My word to perform it."
God had given Jeremiah a holy assignment; to prophecy against Israel, to
condemn their heathen wickedness. God gave Jeremiah a very tough
assignment. In addition to this holy assignment, God had Jeremiah remain
unmarried, a difficult calling. Yet, with the challenge came the promise,
I am watching over My word to perform it. The LORD provided a play on
the Hebrew word, almond (שָׁקַדַ.
shah-kahd) and watching (שֹׁקֵד .shoh-kayd)
- the hasty tree and the watching, the assignment, the promise and the
Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Your law.
Barri Cae Mallin holds a PhD
in Biblical Studies from