Exodus 37:17 He also made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered work. Its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers were of one piece with it. 18 And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19 three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20 And on the lampstand itself were four cups made like almond blossoms, with their calyxes and flowers, 21 and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out of it. 22 Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it. The whole of it was a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. (ESV)
I was reading this recently, and realized that I didn't have a clue as to what almond flowers looked like. So I searched Flickr for photos. I found a lot of them. One was by curiouskiwi (who, as the name suggests, lives in New Zealand). I had had corresponded with her before, and seen her contributions in the help forum, so I asked her permission to use the photo above, which she graciously gave. (For some reason, her title doesn't show up. It is "petals forward.") You should be able to see as many of her photos as you want through the link given.
The English Standard Version of the Bible allows quotation in blog use, if referenced as I have done, in case anyone wonders.
Many of you will recognize the resemblance between the almond flower above, and apple, cherry, blackberry, and other members of the Rose Family of flowers. Members of this family have petals in fives, or multiples thereof, and the petals are separate from each other.
The calyx of a flower is the sepals, taken collectively. Sepals are usually green, and are usually outside the petals. There are five of them in almond flowers, and they are shorter than mature petals. If you look closely, you can see one or two of them between the petals of the flower above. (Clicking on the photo above should lead you to a larger version of the photo, if you are interested.)
There are a few other references to almonds in the Bible. The most notable is Numbers 17, which tells the story of Aaron's rod, which miraculously budded and bore fruit, signifying God's choice of Moses and Aaron for leadership.
This is one of an occasional series, based on my daily reading from the ESV Bible. The most recent post is here.
Thanks for reading, and thanks again to curiouskiwi and the ESV, also to an anonymous reader for a correction. Any blame or liability accruing to this post is mine, not theirs.