The issue is does God endorse murder, rape and genocide in the old testament?
The answer, if you take the bible at face value, is yes!
Numerous times throughout the early books of the old testament (Genesis through to Samuel) the text clearly says that God instructs the israelites to utterly destroy a nation, including all men, women, children and even animals sometimes. There is no other word for this than genocide. For example, Deuteronomy chapter 7v1-2 says:
"When the Lord your God brings you to the land that you are going to occupy and forces out many nations before you-Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you - and he delivers them over to you and you attack them, you must utterly annihilate them. Make no covenant with them nor show them compassion!"On other occasions, e.g. Deuteronomy 21v10-14, the Israelites were instructed to spare all female virgins from the genocide in order that the Israelites might have sexual relations with them and take them as their wives.
"When you engage your enemies in warfare and the Lord your God allows you to prevail and you take prisoners, if you should see among them an attractive woman whom you wish to take as a wife, you may bring her back to your house. She must shave her head, trim her nails, discard the clothing she was wearing when captured, go to your house, and lament for her father and mother for a full month. After that you may have sexual relations with her and become her husband and she your wife. If it should turn out that you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell her; you must not take advantage of her, since you have already humiliated her."
This is not a consentual relationship we're talking about here, this is clearly rape and sex-slavery! And there are many instances of it in the OT.
The question is did God actually command the Israelites to do these things?
The only stance I can take on this is that the God of love would not command these things. Thus these stories, presented in the bible, cannot be the inspired word of God. Surely they must be a modified history of the Israelites, written some time after the events described - it was known what happened, so it was assumed that these actions must have been God endorsed, so it was recorded accordingly.
Or is there a way of defending these actions and maintaining that God did indeed order these things but is still the God of love that we speak of today?