The first commandment: "I am the Lord, thy God," corresponds to the sixth: "Thou shalt not kill," for the murderer slays the image of God.

The second: "Thou shalt have no strange gods before me," corresponds to the seventh: "Thou shalt not commit adultery," for conjugal faithlessness is as grave a sin as idolatry, which is faithlessness to God.

Different religious traditions divide the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels in Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten "commandments" or "sayings" in different ways, shown in the table below.

Some suggest that the number ten is a choice to aid memorization rather than a matter of theology.

The Geneva Bible used "tenne commandements", which was followed by the Bishops' Bible and the Authorized Version (the "King James" version) as "ten commandments".

Most major English versions use "commandments.", Lukhot Ha Brit, meaning "the tablets of the covenant".

The Ten Commandments concern matters of fundamental importance in Judaism and Christianity: the greatest obligation (to worship only God), the greatest injury to a person (murder), the greatest injury to family bonds (adultery), the greatest injury to commerce and law (bearing false witness), the greatest inter-generational obligation (honour to parents), the greatest obligation to community (truthfulness), the greatest injury to moveable property (theft).

or many other biblical laws and commandments, because they provide guiding principles that apply universally, across changing circumstances.

In Jewish Bibles the references to the Ten Commandments are therefore Exodus 20:2–14 and Deuteronomy 5:6–18.

The Samaritan Pentateuch varies in the Ten Commandments passages, both in that the Samaritan Deuteronomical version of the passage is much closer to that in Exodus, and in that Samaritans count as nine commandments what others count as ten.

against adulterers”] many other commands are conveyed by implication, such as that against seducers, that against practisers of unnatural crimes, that against all who live in debauchery, that against all men who indulge in illicit and incontinent connections.” A conservative rabbi, Louis Ginzberg, stated in his book Legends of the Jews, that Ten Commandments are virtually entwined, that the breaking of one leads to the breaking of another.