"We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city-men, women and children." (NIV)
ESV - 6 And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children.
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I think that the primary considerations involved in God commanding the total destruction of various peoples (including non-combatant women and children) were His use of Israel as His instrument in executing His righteous judgment against them as the deserved penalty of their sin and wickedness (just as He Himself had earlier executed such all-consuming judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)); and His foreknowledge of the corrupting effect that those people (including women and children) would have on Israel if left unjudged. Just as the Bible records Israel's destruction of various peoples at God's command, it also speaks of multiple occasions when Israel intermarried with or otherwise accommodated such people, and adopted their pagan practices as a result. No human is truly "innocent" in God's eyes, and when we look honestly at ourselves and compare ourselves with God's holiness, we know that to be true. If it were not for His grace and mercy through Christ, none of us would deserve eternal life on our own merits. We would all be consigned to eternal separation from Him.
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