(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?