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(I originally asked this question on Christianity.SE, and was redirected here for a better understanding of the Jewish laws and culture.)

I’m hoping someone can help me concerning ancient Jewish laws or customs regarding children ensuring their parents were taken care of. Specifically, I’m looking at a passage in the Christian New Testament - John 19:25-27:

25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

The man Jesus is being executed by crucifixion and he is giving directions for his mother’s care after his death. He is the oldest son, and most Christians presume the husband/father is dead. Apparently, there are other family members in the city (there is no common agreement if these are children of the same mother, or just close relatives). Yet he directs one of his disciples to take over the future care of his mother.

I understand that the children were generally responsible for caring for their aging parents; beyond that, I have no knowledge of any laws or customs that might have impacted this situation in this ancient time period. As such, the following questions came to my mind:

  • Would it have been against law or custom to provide care outside the family?
  • Would another adult child have been able to challenge this?
  • Would the son’s status as a condemned criminal have any impact on any rights to assign this care?
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    I'm with @rosends here about not being clear about what the question is. Are you asking who is responsible for taking care of a parent? If those responsibilities can be transferred? If inheritance laws could be changed? I vote to close as unclear until it gets clarified. – Salmononius2 Mar 29 '18 at 13:38
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    @ba I think this question is (meant to be) about Jewish law and tradition, not about how to interpret those passages, so I'm not sure that it's any more on topic at BH. (For example, a question about which melacha the mekoshesh did, would probably be better suited to this site, even though it deals with interpretation of a Bible passage.) But I may be wrong on that. – רבות מחשבות Mar 29 '18 at 13:58
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    I edited the title based on the end of the question (and to make it look less like a question about non-Jewish texts). Please feel free to edit further if I've misunderstood. – Monica Cellio Mar 29 '18 at 14:08
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    My apologies for an unclear question, and thank you for pointing this out. I am not asking for an interpretation of the text or an opinion on any religious aspect. I read this and realized I have no clue how the ancient laws and culture would have come into play here, if at all. I will try to edit this question to be more specific. Again, thanks for the help. – EdNerd Mar 29 '18 at 15:48
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    @EdNerd Much better. Especially "As such, the following questions came to my mind: -- Would it have been against law or custom to provide care outside the family? -- Would another adult child have been able to challenge this? -- Would the son’s status as a condemned criminal have any impact on any rights to assign this care?" I have voted to reopen. – רבות מחשבות Mar 29 '18 at 16:50

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