Is God cruel or loving?
People have trouble enough dealing with the dilemma of why an all-powerful and loving God allows evil. Yet the Old Testament stories make it clear that God, not only allowed but, was very much involved in the events recorded there.
One mistake people make when reading the biblical accounts is to assume that just because God permits something, He condones it. However, if God allows free will, it follows that people will sometimes choose to do things which are outside His will. Not everything which occurred during this period had God’s blessing. He often rebuked people for what they did.
Though that is true, to a certain extent it begs the question. The fact is that God often, not only condoned but commanded massacres and genocide. What kind of God would do that? What sort of God would sanction bloody civil war, the destruction and looting of defenseless villages and the forced marriages of captive women?