The word “folly” occurs 23 times in Proverbs and only 16 times in the rest of the Bible. The dictionary defines folly as “a lack of good sense, understanding, or foresight; an act of foolishness; or a costly undertaking having an absurd or ruinous outcome.”
I think that is exactly what Solomon had in mind as he advised against folly.
Over half of Proverbs’ verses that include “folly,” also pair it with the word “fool.” That gives the perspective that folly is foolishness.
Also, just like the word “simple,” “folly” is often contrasted with being “prudent.” This implies that prudence is the prescription for folly.
Interestingly, in one instance, Solomon personifies “folly” as a woman who is loud, undisciplined, and without knowledge. That is a most effective metaphor, explaining why folly is to be avoided.
Of course, there are the simple who may desire a woman like Folly, but that just wouldn’t be prudent — and Solomon repeated cautions against liaisons of that nature.
[See 23 occurrences of folly in Proverbs.]
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.