Let’s have a closer look at the staff or Almond branch.
The Almond tree is known as the first fruit tree to ‘awaken’ from its wintery slumber, a resurrection after the death of winter. The Hebrew word for almond tree is shaw-kade meaning: to be alert, ..sleepless, hence to be on the lookout. It can also be translated as hasten, remain, wake or watch. In English we can say The Almond tree is the ‘alert, sleepless, watchful, on the lookout’ tree.
Almonds are considered stone fruits, and are listed in the Bible among the choice fruits. Genesis 43:11 (NASB), “Put some of the best products of the land in your packs and take them down to the man as a gift—some balsam and some honey, aromatic gum and resin, pistachios and almonds”.
We can see in the design of the candlestick which stood in the Holy Place of the Mosaic Tabernacle, the cycle of the almond portrayed on each of the six branches which extend from the lampstand. We see three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with a calyx and petals (Exodus 25:33 HCSB). The priests in the Holy Place saw the candlestick with the golden budding and blossoming almond branches, representing the life and light God gives to his people.
In nature: The branch of the almond tree changes according to the season.
After dormancy/sleeping the tree awakens after winter: a command to prepare for blossoming…the tree begins to arouse from its slumber….a green calyx tip appears at the end of the bud….the bud begins to dilate…. The almond tree awakens and clothes itself with light pink blossoms…that turn white as snow before falling to the ground 5-14 days after bursting forth. Bees deliver pollen to the blossoms …. the first fruit of the almond begins to emerge from the calyx resembling a flame of fire …. and hastily grow to their potential size over a course of 6-8 weeks, at which time the first fruit may be handpicked.
In the Middle East, the first fruit harvest is used for the oil. The remaining fruit is left on the tree to mature ….. summer heat causes the fruit to split open ….. the flesh withers in the heat and the seed inside is revealed. Harvesters gather the seeds and bring them to a location where they separate the hull (husk) from the shell. Over several weeks the leaves from the tree begin to fall to the ground. And the tree enters into a period of rest.