There are two questions related to the date of Jonah. First, when did the events in the book of Jonah take place, and second, when was the book of Jonah written? The first question is the easier of the two. The events of the book of Jonah took place around or just after the reign of King Jeroboam II, who reigned from 786-746 BC. So the events of the book of Jonah most likely occurred during the 8th century BC.[ref][contentblock id=4 img=html.png]51[/ref]
But it is not likely that this is when the book of Jonah was written. Scholars have noted that some of the words used in the story were more frequently used later in Israelite history, including the name for the Lord as the “God of heaven” (Jonah 1:9).[ref]More recent scholarship has shown that many of these terms and phrases could have been used much earlier than originally thought. Therefore, attempting to date Jonah based on six or seven “Aramisms” is a dubious endeavor. See [contentblock id=23 img=html.png]714; [contentblock id=24 img=html.png]433[/ref] But the book cannot have been written too late, for it is included in various lists of biblical books and in Apocryphal writings (cf. Ecclesiasticus 49:10; 3 Maccabees 6:8; Tobit 14:4), which were written by 200 BC. Further, it appears that the author of Jonah was familiar with the book of Joel (Jonah 3:9 refers to Joel 2:14), written around 400 BC.[ref]For more on the dating of Jonah, see [contentblock id=4 img=html.png]52-62; [contentblock id=5 img=html.png]185-191; [contentblock id=3 img=html.png]11-13; [contentblock id=10 img=html.png]10; [contentblock id=15 img=html.png]162; [contentblock id=24 img=html.png]432-433[/ref]
So, it seems likely that the book of Jonah was written between 500 BC and 200 BC, though due to themes that are present within the book, the most likely date of composition is sometime during the 5th or 4th centuries BC.
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