Funerals are sad enough, but this man was his mother’s only son.
Losing one’s only child is bad enough, but the dead man’s mother was already a widow.
Keeping in mind that in ancient Palestine, the only “social security” one had was one’s family, the death of this woman’s only son meant that from now on, and for the rest of her life, no one would care for her, or about her.
Why? The belief system of the day was misfortune of this magnitude must mean that God is punishing her…she must have done something (the thinking went) to have fallen out of God’s favor, or she wouldn’t be suffering so.
Lest we think we’ve overcome that kind of bad theology: I’ll bet a fair number of people reading this believe that God rewards us human beings for good behavior and punishes us for bad behavior. That’s what’s called a “celestial Coke-machine God”…