Especially given that God would’ve had 40 years to do it!? Rather than having the Jews slaughter all the men, women and children who were occupying the Promised Land, wouldn’t a merciful God opt for something a little less… violent?
For example, as the Jews were leaving Egypt, an all-powerful God could’ve simply made all the women in the Promised Land barren. By the time the Jews arrived 40 years later, the majority of the population would have died, and the only remaining women would not be able to reproduce (even if they did marry).
Or God could’ve given the people living there the desire to pack it up and move to Egypt, or Italy… or Utah. Or He could’ve made the land barren so they had to go elsewhere to search for food. Or He could have poisoned all the water by making it too salty to drink (one of his favorite tricks!).
But instead, the loving, benevolent creator decides it’s best if the Jews are forced to kill everyone before they can occupy the land God has “given” them (apparently this gift comes with a few strings attached).
This actually seems less like the will of God and more like the will of men, as God helps out very little. If God really wanted these people dead, why not smite them like Sodom and Gomorrah? Or drown them with a localized flood? Or kill them outright like He just did with all the first-born sons of Egypt?
What’s most disturbing is that today, many Jews and Christians make excuses for this genocide by saying things like: “The previous occupants were evil, and God wanted them dead… so killing them was okay!” If Israel decided to genocide your country tomorrow, because they felt God was giving them similar orders, would you still be okay with it??
This genocide was a horrible experience for those killed, for the young women taken as wives by the murderers, and even for the Jews who had to kill innocent babies and children. But hey, whatever… it’s not like God had ever commanded them not to kill… oh wait…