Folly, personified in Proverbs as a woman, is the muse of the Fool. This is what makes one a fool. The Fool chooses the reasoning of Folly instead of the Wisdom of God. And it is tragic indeed.
Three things are brought to our attention in this verse, and they are vitally important…
Note first that Folly is LOUD. Folly draws attention to itself as though it really has something important to say. It speaks with the volume of confidence. It is a deception. Just watch TV, and you’ll get a skull full of it. But no matter how “worldly” wise the talking heads and pundits seem to be, in fact, all they do day and night is rail about the temporal, fleshly, worldly and what is passing away. This is true regardless of whether or not they are Conservative, Liberal, or whatever. Listen to the volume, the speed, the vitriol – all over things which impact us some now, but we have little control over, and do absolutely nothing for the health of our eternal souls. Folly screams at us from our TV’s, our radios, our newspapers (if you even read one anymore) and our computers. Trying to whip us into a frenzy about anything and everything. Exhausting us with worry and care while simultaneously drawing our hearts and minds away from spiritual and eternally important matters. As Spurgeon once said, “nonsense spoken louder doesn’t make any more sense.” But in the clamour for our attention, volume often wins the day. Isn’t it amazing then that Matthew cites the a prophecy about Jesus that: “He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; ” (Matthew 12:19, ESV) The loudest, fastest talker, may in fact be the most foolish of all.
Note secondly that Folly is SEDUCTIVE: The New Bible Dictionary states that – “While folly in the OT is sometimes plain silliness (e.g. Pr. 10:14; 14:15; 18:13), it is usually culpable: a disdain for God’s truth and discipline (Pr. 1:7). Hence even the ‘simple’ or gullible man is not merely ‘without sense’ (Pr. 7:7ff.) but fatally wayward (Pr. 1:32). He must make a moral and spiritual choice, not only a mental effort (Pr. 9:1–6, 13–18; Ps. 19:7).” Why then do we become Fools? Because Folly has an attractiveness to it. A subtle but deadly allure that must be unmasked for what it is. Usually, Folly’s attractiveness is located in gross reductionism – hence the translation of the word seductive as “simple” in other places. In other words it promises great wisdom in a small, easily digestible and memorable package. Giant truths crushed down, pulverized into misshapen caricatures of truth. The grains are there, and seem to fit – but in the end it is distortion by oversimplification. Its main currency is the sound-bite. The Fool thinks they can know all that is needed to be known about any particular thing by drinking in a Cliff-notes version of War and Peace. Worse, it imagines spiritual and Biblical truth can be had this way. No labor. No digging. No meditation. No real thought. No sermons. No Bible. No preacher. Just give me the “nugget” and let me run. Foolish.
Note lastly that Folly KNOWS NOTHING: In the end, folly does not add any truly useful knowledge. Like the promise of eating of the Forbidden Tree. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. ” (Proverbs 9:10, ESV) If one does not start with the fear of the Lord, if one begins at the wrong place, how can they hope to arrive at the right place? When Biblically revealed knowledge of God especially as seen in Jesus Christ – is not the lens through which we discern all truth – what few truths we may have will only be collected into a merely imagined and manufactured final truth. We’ll look at creation and conclude it just made itself through impersonal forces. We’ll be forced to conclude man is but a biological anomaly. And hence, we’ll neglect the soul to its eternal destruction. Fools! Heaven save us from ourselves. God deliver us from Folly. Open our eyes and ear to know the truth as it is in Christ alone.