“Do not steal.
“Do not deceive or cheat one another.
“Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the LORD.
“Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the LORD.
“Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly.
“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.
“Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the LORD.
“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
“You must obey all my decrees.
“Do not mate two different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread. (Leviticus 19:11-19)
There is more to righteousness than simply behaving well toward others. Outward actions, for good or ill, have their origins in what people are thinking, what their desires might be, how they are feeling at any given moment. Bad decisions can grow from exhaustion, headache, or stress. Hate festers a long time before it results in outward violence. Evil is sometimes not an action, but the failure to act. The mixing of things that shouldn’t be mixed symbolizes the importance of not mixing evil with good, or hatred with love. Some things should not be compromised.
It was common in Hebrew writing to have a summary statement followed by explanations or expansions upon that summary statement. And so the summary statement in this passage—of “do not steal”—is followed by explanations of what might constitute stealing: “defrauding your neighbor,” making hired day workers wait for their pay, gossip—which robs people of their reputations—and stealing the life of your neighbor through inaction when you could have saved it.
The context of the phrase upon which all the law hangs—to love your neighbor as yourself—was when you were least likely to feel affection for your neighbor: when he has wronged you and you want justice. God makes it clear that loving your neighbor is not always easy.