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When the Bible talks about foolishness and folly what is it usually talking about?

There are numerous words in the Hebrew language that are translated into som form of the word folly or foolish.

One word we see translated folly and foolishness is ‘ivveleth[1] composed of the Hebrew letters AlefVavLamedTav and appears 25 ties int the Old Testament.[2]

It is from the word ‘eviyl[3] which sounds a lot lie evil and is composed of the Hebrew letters AlefVavYodLamed. It appears some 26 times in the Old Testament.[4]

There is another different word translated folly 10 times[5] which is nᵉbalah [6] composed of the letters NunBeitLamedHey.

It is from the adjective nabal[7] often translated fool and foolish[8] which is NunBeitLamed.

Another word cikluwth[9] and unique to Ecclesiastes appearing only 7 times[10] It is written תולכס which is SamechKafLamedVavTav.

It is from the Hebrew verb cakal[11] appearing only 8 times[12]

Last is the word kacal[13] which only appears once in Jeremiah[14]

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  1. 0200 ^תלוא^ ‘ivveleth \@iv-veh’- leth\@ from the same as 0191; n f; AV-folly 13, foolishness 10, foolish 1, foolishly 1; 25 1) foolishness, folly
  2. : Psalms 38:5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness <0200>.
    Psalms 69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness <0200>; and my sins are not hid from thee.
    Proverbs 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly <0200> he shall go astray.
    Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness <0200>.
    Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish <0200> plucketh it down with her hands.
    Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly <0200> of fools is deceit.
    Proverbs 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly <0200>: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
    Proverbs 14:18 The simple inherit folly <0200>: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
    Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness <0200> of fools is folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness <0200>.
    Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness <0200>.
    Proverbs 15:21 Folly <0200> is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
    Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly <0200> and shame unto him.
    Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness <0200> of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
    Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness <0200> is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
    Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness <0200> is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
    Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly <0200>, lest thou also be like unto him.
    Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly <0200>, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
    Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly <0200>.
    Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness <0200> depart from him.
  3. 0191 ^ליוא^ ‘eviyl \@ev-eel’\@ from an unused root (meaning to be perverse); adj m AV-fool(s) 20, foolish (man) 6; 26
    1) be foolish, foolish
    1a) (subst)
    1a1) of one who despises wisdom
    1a2) of one who mocks when guilty
    1a3) of one who is quarrelsome
    1a4) of one who is licentious
  4. : Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man <0191>, and envy slayeth the silly one.
    Job 5:3 I have seen the foolish <0191> taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
    Psalms 107:17 Fools <0191> because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools <0191> despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 7:22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool <0191> to the correction of the stocks;
    Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool <0191> shall fall. Proverbs 10:10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool <0191> shall fall. Proverbs 10:14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish <0191> is near destruction.
    Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools <0191> die for want of wisdom.
    Proverbs 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool <0191> shall be servant to the wise of heart.
    Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool <0191> is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
    Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s <0191> wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
    Proverbs 14:3 In the mouth of the foolish <0191> is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
    Proverbs 14:9 Fools <0191> make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
    Proverbs 15:5 A fool <0191> despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
    Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools <0191> is folly.
    Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool <0191>, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
    Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool <0191> will be meddling.
    Proverbs 24:7 Wisdom is too high for a fool <0191>: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
    Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s <0191> wrath is heavier than them both.
    Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool <0191> in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
    Proverbs 29:9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish <0191> man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
    Isaiah 19:11 Surely the princes of Zoan are fools <0191>, the counsel of the wise counsellors of : Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?
    Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools <0191>, shall not err therein.
    Jeremiah 4:22 For my people is foolish <0191>, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
    Hosea 9:7 The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool <0191>, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.
  5. : Genesis 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly <05039> in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
    Deuteronomy 22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly <05039> in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
    Joshua 7:15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly <05039> in Israel.
    Judges 19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly <05039>.
    Judges 19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile <05039> a thing.
    Judges 20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly <05039> in Israel.
    Judges 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of : : : Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly <05039> that they have wrought in Israel.
    1 Samuel 25:25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly <05039> is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
    2 Samuel 13:12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly <05039>.
    Job 42:8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly <05039>, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
    Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly <05039>. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
    Isaiah 32:6 For the vile person will speak villany <05039>, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
    Jeremiah 29:23 Because they have committed villany <05039> in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD.
  6. 05039 ^הלבנ^ nᵉbalah \@neb-aw-law’\@ from 05036; n f; AV-folly 10, villany 2, vile 1; 13
    1) senselessness, folly
    1a) disgraceful folly
    1a1) of immorality, profane actions
    1b) disgrace, contumely disgrace
  7. 05036 ^לבנ^ nabal \@naw-bawl’\@ from 05034; adj; AV-fool 9, foolish 5, vile person 2, foolish man 1, foolish women 1; 18 1) foolish, senseless, fool
  8. : Deuteronomy 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish <05036> people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
    Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish <05036> nation.
    2 Samuel 3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool <05036> dieth?
    2 Samuel 13:13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools <05036> in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
    Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women <05036> speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
    Job 30:8 They were children of fools <05036>, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.
    Psalms 14:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » The fool <05036> hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
    Psalms 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish <05036>.
    Psalms 53:1 « To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David. » The fool <05036> hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
    Psalms 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish <05036> : people have blasphemed thy name.
    Psalms 74:22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man <05036> reproacheth thee daily.
    Proverbs 17:7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool <05036>: much less do lying lips a prince.
    Proverbs 17:21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool <05036> hath no joy.
    Proverbs 30:22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool <05036> when he is filled with meat;
    Isaiah 32:5 The vile person <05036> shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
    Isaiah 32:6 For the vile person <05036> will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
    Jeremiah 17:11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool <05036>.
    Ezekiel 13:3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish <05036> prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
  9. 05531 ^תולכס^ cikluwth \@sik-looth’\@ or ^תולכשׂ^ sikluwth (#Ec 1:17) \@sik-looth’\@ from 05528; n m; AV-folly 5, foolishness 2; 7 1) folly, foolishness
  10. : Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly <05531>: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
    Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly <05531>, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
    Ecclesiastes 2:12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly <05531>: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.
    Ecclesiastes 2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly <05531>, as far as light excelleth darkness.
    Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness <05531> and madness:
    Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly <05531> him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
    Ecclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness <05531>: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
  11. 05528 ^לכס^ cakal \@saw-kal’\@ for 03688; v; AV-done foolishly 5, turn into foolishness 1, make foolish 1, play the fool 1; 8
    1) to be foolish, be a fool
    1a) (Piel) to make foolish, turn into foolishness
    1b) (Niphal) to act or do foolishly
    1c) (Hiphil) to do foolishly, play the fool
  12. Genesis 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly <05528> in so doing.
    1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly <05528>: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
    1 Samuel 26:21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool <05528>, and have erred exceedingly.
    2 Samuel 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness <05528>.
    2 Samuel 24:10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly <05528>.
    1 Chronicles 21:8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly <05528>.
    2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly <05528>: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
    Isaiah 44:25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish <05528>;
  13. 03688 ^לסכ^ kacal \@kaw-sal’\@ a primitive root; v; AV-foolish 1; 1 1) (Qal) to be foolish, be stupid
  14. Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.

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