How do we know that God’s call to destroy the Canaanites was not just a call for ethnic cleansing?
God doesn’t exhibit favoritism to the Israelites over the Canaanites. The evidence for this is Rahab the prostitute. She was one of the people of Canaan, but she received faith and acknowledged the God of Israel. As a result, she and her family were saved from the destruction. At the same time, Achan, the son of Carmi, who broke faith in regard to the devoted things, was a member of the covenant community, a member of the people of Israel, and eventually he received God’s just judgment for what he did. Throughout the history of Israel, we see how God punishes Israel many times for rebelling against and disobeying the Lord. So, they received various kinds of God’s punishments, either during the Assyrian or the Babylonian exiles.