Prophecies of the Captivity of
9 For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers.
10 Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king.
In the first verse of his prophecy it is stated that the word of the Lord "came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and . . . of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel."
Israel in exile is likened to a wild donkey which wanders from place to place. Donkeys usually travel together, but a stubborn ass pursues its own path.
Israel was wicked and idolatrous and they resisted trusting God and instead hired lovers. They offered gifts in order to secure help from Assyria and Egypt.
God would indeed send Israel into exile and they shall sorrow, and begin to waste away because of the burden imposed upon them by the "mighty king", an expression used only here, which may refer to Tiglath-pileser III, known as "the king of kings."
3 They shall not dwell in the LORD's land, But Ephraim shall return to Egypt, And shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
The coming exile is described as a return to Egypt, metaphorically compared to the earlier bondage in Egypt, the house of bondage.
There would be no offering of the first fruits unto the Lord and thus the food would be unclean.
5 "He shall not return to the land of Egypt; But the Assyrian shall be his king, Because they refused to repent.
Hosea speaks of judgment, not in Egypt but the Assyrian shall be his king. The Northern Kingdom fell to Assyria in 722 B.C.
11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses," Says the LORD.
Some shall return from the land of Assyria
"Trembling" means to flutter in haste.