Chapter 31: Beneath the Surface

31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

      The precise nature of what is translated as "rubies" (also 3:15; 8:11; 20:15) in Proverbs is not clear. Obviously valuable, it appears to be mineral in nature.
      In the Biblical world a man's wealth was measured in flocks, herds and grain fields. Typically, the only woman who would have wealth was a married woman. The dowry which she brought with her into the marriage would have been something of value that she could have carried with her to her new home. It was most likely jewelry in nature – precious stones.
      The dowry was something the wife would be able to keep in the marriage for security, remember when the husband died, his wealth would go to his sons (and the oldest son would get a double portion). The wife would have her dowry to insure her future wellbeing. What this verse is really saying is that this wife of noble character is so good that she is even more valuable than the dowry she brings into the marriage.