Job 20:3

I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.

I have heard the check of my reproach,.... He took it that Job had reproached him and his friends, by representing them as hardhearted men, and persecuting him wrongly in a violent manner; and he had observed the "check" or reproof given for it, by bidding them beware of the sword, and lest the punishment of it should be inflicted on them; and if that should not be the case, yet there was a righteous judgment they could not escape. Now Zophar heard this, but could not hear it with patience; be could not bear that he and his friends should be insulted, as he thought, in this manner; and therefore it was he was in such baste to return an answer; though some {d} think he here pretends to a divine oracle, like that which Eliphaz makes mention of in the beginning of this dispute, Job 4:12, &c. which he had from God, and from which he had heard the "correction of his reproach" {e}, or a full confutation of the thing Job had reproached him with; and being thus divinely furnished, he thought it his duty to deliver it:

and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer; or his rational spirit, his natural understanding, furnished him at once with an answer; he had such a clear insight into the controversy on foot, and such a full view of it, that he thought himself capable of speaking very particularly to the matter in hand, and to the conviction and confusion of Job; nay, his conscience, or the spirit of his conscience, as Mr. Broughton renders it, not only readily dictated to him what he should say, but obliged him to it; though some think he meant the Holy Spirit of God, by which he would be thought to be inspired; that he "out of his understanding" {f}, enlightened by him, caused him to answer, or would answer for him, or supply him with matter sufficient to qualify him for it; and this he might observe to Job, in order to raise his attention to what he was about to say.

{d} Schmidt.
{e} ytmlk rowm "correctionem ignominiae meae", Pagninus, Montanus; so Schmidt, Michaelis.
{f} ytnybm "ex intelligentia mea", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Drusius, Schmidt, Michaelis.