God in the Old Testament ordered the killing of women and children during wartimes. One may question if God holds himself accountable to the same moral laws as He does humans. Some out of reverence do not feel a right to question God, believing that God created life and God has a right to take away life as He sees fit. I personally believe God doesn’t mind the scrutiny, because God desires authentic relationships. God surely doesn’t ask us to believe in anything unworthy of human, moral belief as it would go against His nature.
The Bible relates that evil had become so rampant that God practically destroyed the entire human race during Noah’s time and started over. Evil may have progressed to the level of the Canaanites as we see below. The Ark took many years to build, and Noah was said to be a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). It is not like God of the OT to reject anybody from entering the Ark if they had begun to accept Noah’s God. One may ask about innocent women and children. Corruption can infiltrate a society so much that a fresh start may be the most merciful thing to do. Not even God spared Himself of the suffering that results from evil in a free world, as His son died a brutal death on the Cross though totally innocent of accusations.
One rightly can question why God commended the slaughtering of the Canaanites, including innocent women and children (Deut. 20-16-17, i.e. I Sam. 15:1-3; Josh. 6:21). God often allowed the expulsion or relocation of the people from the land before annihilation due to evil (Deut. 7:1-5). Canaanite practices included child sacrifice to please their false gods (Ps. 106:38; i.e. Ezek. 23:37-39). Nations often became involved in perverse sexual practice such as bestiality and incest (Leviticus 18:6, 23). Today, dictators gas their own people to remain in power or turn a blind eye as women are raped and mutilated.
We may underestimate the influence of evil on future generations. God chose Israel to influence all nations for good, but God understood the power of influence: “…they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshipped their idols…they shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, who they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan” (Ps. 106:35-38). Women and children often have little say so but haven’t we seen women not oppose the oppression of their evil husbands and children follow in their parents’ footsteps. Death may be the only hope for future generations. A better place after death may be more merciful than abandonment, starvation, disease, or being torn apart by wild animals (Ex 23:28-29).
Some argue war is never necessary but barbaric dictators exist and innocent lives will be lost as a result of such conflict. If a child next door is being sexual abuse would you not do everything in your power to stop this evil? Evil is real. Often innocent lives are sacrificed for the greater good. This is not doing evil that good may come; it is ridding of the cancer that can eventually destroy any good. God is not a warmonger where He takes out His frustration and uses His power arbitrarily. God is full of mercy and grace in hopes evil nations repent. God only request the same morality that earthly parent expect of their own children.
Would the “innocent” of evil nations in the OT, if spared by God, stop child-killing to their gods after the soldiers were killed? A consequence of freedom is that the sins of the parents continue for generations. Damn if God does, damn if God doesn’t! If God doesn’t intervene we blame Him for allowing evil to be rampant. If God intervenes and innocent people get killed because God works within the limits of freedom, we say God is not just. Total destruction in the OT may have sometimes been necessary to destroy the influences of present generations on future generations. God does not hypocritically live outside moral boundaries that He guides us in.