“Judgment is toward you,” or as stated in the RSV, “The judgment pertains to you.” This part of verse 1 is a play on words, for in exercising their judgment, the people were found wanting and guilty—priests, judges, people, and king. (Much of the Book of Hosea is a play on words, especially with regard to individuals.) Because the judges misused their prerogative of judgment, retributive judgment would come upon them. In other words, because of their misjudgment, God would judge them.
Hosea addressed the ten tribes in the name of “Ephraim,” the most numerous tribe, but lest the other nine tribes think they were excluded from judgment, the prophet also used the term “Israel.” Then Hosea included Judah, for the two tribes would fall later. All were guilty, and the various judgments were just a matter of time. Hosea had been emphasizing the evil of the ten tribes, but little by little, he started to include Judah in the condemnation. Verse 5 is prophetic.