Leviticus 19 is also based on the Decalogue. The chapter opens with a reference to the fifth, fourth, first and second commandments of the Decalogue: “You shall each fear his mother and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I the Lord am your God. Do not turn to idols or make molten gods for yourselves: I the Lord am your God” (Leviticus 19:3–4).

The references to the Decalogue are chiastic (that is, in reverse order), as is common with quotations from (and references to) other texts. The author opens with the fifth commandment (honoring parents), continues with the fourth (Sabbath) and concludes with the second (idolatry). Even within the sentence, he changes the order of the components: the object precedes the predicate (not “you shall [each] fear his father and mother,” but “[each] his father and mother shall you fear”; and similarly concerning the Sabbath). Even the order of the objects themselves is interchanged (not “his father and mother,” but “his mother and father”).

In the continuation of Leviticus 19 are found commandments concerning theft, false witness and oaths (Leviticus 19:13, 16) and adultery: “Do not degrade your daughter and make her a harlot” (Leviticus 19:29).

Like the Decalogue, which opens with the self-presentation of God, thus conferring authority to the laws that follow, the commandments of Leviticus 19 similarly open with “I the Lord am your God” (Leviticus 19:2); this formula is repeatedly affixed to various laws of this chapter.

Leviticus 19 fills a gap in the Priestly source of the Pentateuch. In contrast to the Deuteronomic source, which repeats the Decalogue as it appears in the Book of Exodus, the Decalogue is not found in the Priestly legislation, even though it explicitly declares that it transmits the laws and rules given by the Lord “through Moses on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelite people” (Leviticus 26:46; compare Leviticus 27:34). The absence of any reference to the Decalogue in the Priestly legislation gives the impression that the main point is lacking. Accordingly, Leviticus 19 comes to fill this lack by giving us a “Decalogue” in a reworked and expanded form of its own.

While Leviticus 19 is based on the Decalogue, it is distinctly different. It contains many other laws, most of which are contingent on special circumstances to which they apply. It also includes laws that appeal to conscience, as well as ritual laws.