Hosea means "help" or "salvation," and despite the recurring theme of Israel's unfaithfulness to God, the eventual salvation of Israel is the main subject of the prophecy. God uses the prophet's marriage to Gomer, "a wife of harlotry," to illustrate the relationship between God and His people. Gomer is not faithful to Hosea, yet God commands the prophet to take her back, just as He would restore Israel to Himself.
The remainder of the book expounds and expands on this pronouncement, making intermittent calls for repentance. Several sections include Judah within the prophecy (see Hosea 5:5, 10-15; 6:4, 11; 8:14, etc.), showing that Hosea's prophecy, though preached primarily to the northern ten tribes, is in reality aimed at all twelve tribes of Israel. God accuses both Ephraim (Israel, also called Samaria) and Judah of running to other nations, particularly Egypt and Assyria (Hosea 5:13; 7:11), when threatened rather than to God. In the same way, all Israel loves to pursue idols—Baal seems to have been a favorite—rather than their Maker (see Hosea 4:12-14; 8:14; 12:11; etc.).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Meet the Minor Prophets (Part One)
The Hebrew word for "fear" (pahad) in this verse means "to be afraid, tremble, or stand in awe of," even to the point of shaking in fear. Everything God does is good, but His goodness can be overwhelming, especially when it is obviously undeserved. It may appear harsh at times to a carnal human being because it may force a change of thought and action—a total reversal in lifestyle.
Martin G. Collins
Fear the Lord's Goodness!
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Hosea 3:5: