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Habakkuk 2:3 New International Version

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

International Standard Version

For the revelation pertains to an appointed time— it speaks truthfully about the end. Though it delays, wait for it, because it will surely come about— it will not be late!

Which version is better?

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  • Hey Tony - I think the parts you quoted and compared between translations are from different sections of the verse. The "will not delay" in NIV actually matches to "will not be late" in ISV. These are essentially equivalent. The early section in NIV uses "Though it linger" which matches to "Though it delay" in ISV. Again equivalent. Kind of confusing as the ISV uses the same word "delay" in different part of the verse to the NIV.
    – Marshall
    Oct 25 at 13:11
  • I took out the confusing part. Thanks :) Expand your comment into an answer and I'll upvote it :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 25 at 13:14
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Habakkuk begins the book with the complaint,

Hab 1:2 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? (NIV)

He must have felt that the Lord was delaying in answering him. The Hebrew words "mahah" and "’ê·ḥar" mean "to tarry or delay". You can see how that might lead to being late. Since Habakkuk was written in the 7th c. B.C., "it will not delay" does not seem to be the best translation of

לֹ֥א יְאַחֵֽר.

If I promised to do something for you without delay and you were still waiting a year later, would you trust me? The predicted Babylonian invasion did not come until many years later. I would therefore vote for the ISV translation because even though some might think that the Lord tarries in keeping his promises, he is never late.

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