I’m reading though a Ph.D thesis discussing three views of holy war in regards to the Old Testament. I came across this quote which I find interesting. I think it does begin to illuminate the issue in regards to God and the use of holy war (herem in Hebrew).
If God is to meet man in history and act on his behalf, it must be in the world as it is. But
the world which is, is a world which is sinful, for God has given to man a certain
freedom. Therefore, if God is to work on behalf of man in the world, He must give the
appearance to man of using sinful means—He must seem to be unethical in His
Thus the interaction of God with the world via human agents, according to Craigie, must always
be to some degree associated with sin.