Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb אפק ('apaq) means to control or restrain. It corresponds with an Arabic verb that means to excel and clearly refers to self-discipline and restraint. It's surprisingly rare in Scriptures. It describes Joseph who controlled his emotions when he met his brothers again (Genesis 43:31, 45:1), and likewise Haman who controlled his anger against Mordecai (Esther 5:10). Through Isaiah, YHWH declares the suspension of his silence and restraint (Isaiah 42:14), and the prophet wonders whether the Lord would even restrain his compassion (63:15) and indignation (64:11).
In 1 Samuel 13:12 king Saul attempts to explain to Samuel why he had burnt the offering, and instead of explaining why he had not restrained his audacity to pass over the man of God, he explains that he had restrained [his fears, it is implied] and went ahead and dapperly did what needed to be done. That, of course, cost him the kingdom.
Despite the rarity of the parent verb, from it comes a relatively common noun:
- The masculine noun אפיק ('apiq) means channel or conduit: any sort of way in which a liquid is confined and guided. Since proverbially living water is typically not piped or controlled, such a facility may be deemed negative: "My brothers have acted deceitfully like a pipe" (Job 6:15). In Job 12:21, our word is applied to the mighty, but translations struggle to make sense of it. KJV reads "strength" of the mighty, and NAS, ASV, Darby, Young and JSP have "belt" or "girdle" (which brings to mind the antics of Agabus). Behemoth was said to have bronze tubes for bones (Job 40:18) and Leviathan to be proudly endowed with tubular shields sealed tightly (Job 41:15).
The Psalmist declared that the foundations of the world (see our article on Logos) were laid bare when the waters of emotional chaos (see our article on the cognitive equivalent of the hydrological cycle: νεφελη, nephele, cloud) were caught in pipes and channeled off (Psalm 18:15). Perhaps likewise, the deer pants for such orderly channels of water (Psalm 42:1), and the channels of the Negev likewise stream tears (Psalm 126:4, also see Joel 3:18), just like the groom's eyes are doves beside such streams of water (Song of Solomon 5:12).
Contrarily, civilizations which have managed to domesticate and channel all their water via pipes and channels may find natural forces or enemy armies bent on their destruction, so that natural chaos yet again ensues: Isaiah 8:7, Ezekiel 6:3, 31:12-13, 35:8, 36:4-6, Joel 1:20.