“The tone for the entire section is set by verse 2: "I am the LORD, your [sing.] God who brought you Out of the land of Egypt from the house of slaves." The LORD can call on His people because he has delivered them; the Israelites have changed masters.
The Israelite was to view the commandments through a heart, which had been touched by the loving action of the LORD.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” In a culture where images of Gods are rampant and considered as the residing places of these false Gods, out of concern for the people he delivered (Jealous) Yahweh commands them that no image in stone, wood or metal is really god and therefore should not be made or worshipped.
This would also cover making an image or idol of Yahweh as well, and as such should be considered as a total prohibition.
A list of witnesses ensued next and was generally the gods they believed in, with the conclusion being and equation of blessings and curses for the adherence and the severance of the covenant.
While covenants changed from community to community and the there are differences even amongst the covenants of the Old Testament, it is sufficient to know that this was Gods commands for his community constituting his law.
Despite the singular pronoun the commands are God’s revelation for the community at large, but responsibility is laid on every single individual by the use of the singular pronoun.
We live in societies today that require ethical and moral behavior from its leaders but the denizens feel they are exempt. It can also be noted that none of the laws carried an individual remedy for failure.
Chapter 19 reports them entering into the wilderness of Sinai.
Having brought them to freedom God sets the foundation for receiving his revelation through covenant in verse 15 “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. The rest of chapter 19 details the preparation for receiving the covenant.