Hosea 1:2 functions as an introduction to the message of the book of Hosea. It introduces the imagery of conjugal infidelity and relates it to the prophet's marriage and to the relationship between Yahweh and Israel. The exegetical history of the verse suggests that through the ages the theme has confronted exegetes with difficulties. Their interpretations were often dictated by their dogmatic and moral conceptions of what God could or could not do to his prophet. The idea is put forward that the imagery and vocabulary in Hosea reflects something of the multifaceted religious situation in ancient Israel, in which the prophet represented one of the many contemporary ways of thinking. An example of a 'diverging' religious idea is illustrated with reference to the finds at Kuntillet Ajrud.