Let’s think about Jonah’s first orthodox statement: “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” He is compelled to own up to his identity. He is literally forced to acknowledge his religion and his God.
“I am a Hebrew” — Did these sailors know anything about the covenant people of God? Perhaps they had heard of God’s exploits with His chosen ones.
I know very little about the chronology of the book of Jonah, but here is what I found: It appears that 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. 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. 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. (http://gracecommentary.com/jonah-date/)
If one asks, when and how was Israel conquered by the Assyrians, we learn the following: Assyria’s conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel began approximately 740 BC under King Pul. First Chronicles 5:26 notes, “So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.” These tribes, located east of the Jordan River, were the first ones conquered by Assyria.
Nearly 20 years later, about 722 BC, the capital city, Samaria, was overtaken by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser V. After first forcing tribute payments, Shalmaneser later laid siege to the city when it refused to pay. Following a three-year siege, 2 Kings 17:5-6 notes that, “in the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” And in 701 BC the Assyrians marched south into Judah; however, they were unable to capture Jerusalem due to the Lord’s intervention (2 Chronicles 32:22). (https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-conquered-by-Assyria.html)
From this information should we conclude that Israel has already been conquered by Assyria or that it was soon to take place?
The Assyrians of today are the indigenous Aramaic-speaking descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6750 years. Assyrians are not Arabian, we are not Kurdish, our religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with our own unique language, culture and heritage. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time. (http://nineveh.com/whoarewe.htm) (to be continued)