In this chapter, Hosea saw that Judah would also end up in exile, like Israel. He pictures God as a lion carrying Israel off into exile first, and then Judah. God then returns to his lair, waiting for them to repent and seek him during a time of distress.
In chapter 1, Hosea warned of Israel's exile but said that God would deliver Judah. Here in chapter 5, Hosea saw that ultimately the same fate would befall Judah as well. Judah would be brought down with them (v5). In verse 14, God is like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to Judah, the young lion seeming to represent a later generation. Ephraim would be carried of into exile first (by the Assyrians) and Judah would be carried off later (by the Babylonians). But both would be God's doing. In verse 15, God returns like a lion to his lair, and waits for Israel and Judah to earnestly seek him during a time of distress (tribulation). Jeremiah 30:7 says that Israel will be saved out of a time of great trouble for Jacob. And in Matthew 24:21, describing events after the end-time fall of Jerusalem, Jesus said, "For then there will be great suffering (or 'tribulation') unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen".

In 6:1-3, the people of Israel express their sincere desire to return to the Lord, and have a confidence that God will respond to revive and heal the nation. In verse 2, they say (literally), "He will restore us after two days; he will heal us on the third day" (See NET Bible notes). This indicates their expectation of God restoring them after a short time in exile. However, in 2 Peter 3:8, on the subject of end-time events, Peter says, "Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day." It is interesting that the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948 came after nearly 2,000 years of exile, and it is likely that the restoration of the northern tribes will occur during the third millennium of their exile (assuming it happens within the next 300 years).

In verse 3, they express an assurance that God will come and rescue them. This is as certain as 1) the appearance of the dawn, 2) the winter rains, and 3) the spring rains. Metaphorically and eschatologically, the winter and spring rains speak of the outpouring of God's spirit and blessing in the end times (Joel 2:23-32). Similarly, the Holy Spirit outpouring that Joel describes had an early fulfilment in Acts 2, and will have a later fulfilment at the end of the age.
Places: Israel
Symbols: God as a lion, Winter and spring rains
Tags: Restoration of Israel and Judah, Israel repents, Deliverance of Israel
5 Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites! Listen closely, O king! For judgment is about to overtake you! For you were like a trap to Mizpah. like a net spread out to catch Tabor.
2 Those who revolt are knee-deep in slaughter, but I will discipline them all.
3 I know Ephraim all too well; the evil of Israel is not hidden from me. For you have engaged in prostitution, O Ephraim; Israel has defiled itself.
4 Their wicked deeds do not allow them to return to their God; for a spirit of idolatry is in them, and they do not acknowledge the Lord.
5 The arrogance of Israel testifies against it; Israel and Ephraim will be overthrown because of their iniquity. Even Judah will be brought down with them.

The Futility of Sacrificial Ritual without Moral Obedience

6 Although they bring their flocks and herds to seek the favor of the Lord, They will not find him – he has withdrawn himself from them!
7 They have committed treason against the Lord, because they bore illegitimate children. Soon the new moon festival will devour them and their fields.

The Prophet’s Declaration of Judgment
8 Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah! Sound the trumpet in Ramah! Sound the alarm in Beth Aven! Tremble in fear, O Benjamin!
9 Ephraim will be ruined in the day of judgment! What I am declaring to the tribes of Israel will certainly take place!

The Oppressors of the Helpless Will Be Oppressed
10 The princes of Judah are like those who move boundary markers. I will pour out my rage on them like a torrential flood!
11 Ephraim will be oppressed, crushed under judgment, because he was determined to pursue worthless idols.

The Curse of the Incurable Wound

12 I will be like a moth to Ephraim, like wood rot to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim turned to Assyria, and begged its great king for help. But he will not be able to heal you! He cannot cure your wound!

The Lion Will Carry Israel Off Into Exile

14 I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear them to pieces, then I will carry them off, and no one will be able to rescue them!
15 Then I will return again to my lair until they have suffered their punishment. Then they will seek me; in their distress they will earnestly seek me.

Superficial Repentance Breeds False Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

6 “Come on! Let’s return to the Lord! He himself has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us! He has injured us, but he will bandage our wounds!
2 He will restore us in a very short time (Hebrew: after two days); he will heal us in a little while (Hebrew: on the third day), so that we may live in his presence.
3 So let us search for him! Let us seek to know the Lord! He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn, as certainly as the winter rain comes, as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”