I really would like to get some OT theologians or philosophers in here to engage in the discussion.
In the mean time, most of the stuff I’ve seen around “genocide” in the OT has been about the Canaanite conquest in Joshua/Judges. I’ll try to find some stuff specifically about Exodus when I have more time. So I have some (somewhat dated) articles to show a range in views about OT violence.
The most conservative, I think, is Calvinist pastor John Piper:
It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die.
So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing.
Piper’s defense is a straight-up “God can do whatever he likes, and it’s good.”
Next is Paul Copan, who is a philosopher at Palm Beach Atlantic University and wrote a book entitled Is God a Moral Monster?. Here’s a few excerpts from a 2010 article he wrote:
By the Israelite attack on Canaan, God accomplished two things. First, He brought righteous judgment on the deserving Canaanites — a kind of corporate capital punishment. God directed this destruction, however, less against Canaanite persons as it was against Canaanite religion (Deuteronomy 7:3–5; 12:2,3; cp. Exodus 34:12,13).
Second, God was able to prepare a land for His people to create the proper religious setting to make sense of a coming Messiah who would bring redemption to Israelites and Gentiles alike (Genesis 12:3).
Copan then goes on to describe how the conquest language was ANE hyperbole:
Yes, Joshua uses ancient conventional warfare rhetoric. Many other ancient Near East military accounts are full of bravado and exaggeration, depicting total devastation. Ancient Near East readers knew this was massive hyperbole and not literally true. Interestingly, Deuteronomy 7:2–5 uses words like “utterly destroy” right next to “you shall not intermarry with them” (NASB). As we have seen, the chief concern is destroying Canaanite religion not the Canaanite people .
and even that talk about “women and children” should be interpreted differently:
This stereotypical ancient Near East language of “all” people describes attacks on what turn out to be military forts or garrisons containing combatants — not a general population that includes women and children. We have no archaeological evidence of civilian populations at Jericho or Ai (6:21; 8:25).
Greg Boyd, neo-anabaptist and open theist pastor and theologian, has done quit a bit of work in this area. Here is some of his response to Copan:
In response, I’d first like to make it clear that I do not deny that the law of the OT was inspired by God or that it reflects God’s will for his people at the time. I simply maintain that what God willed for his people was the best they could do given the spiritual state of their hearts and the cultural conditioning of their minds . The law reflects God’s will insofar as the OT laws generally represent an improvement over the laws of other ANE cultures. But since God will not coercively push people beyond where their hearts and minds are willing or able to go, the law also reflects God accommodating his people’s darkened spiritual state as well as their cultural conditioning.
Finally, Pete Enns takes apart John Piper’s statement, as he does for much of how Evangelicals view the Bible. You can read the critique yourself but here is the relevant statement of Enns’ own view:
The conquest stories are symbolic narratives that point to a theological truth . For example, the fact that Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute , is spared but the Israelite family man Achan and his family are treated as Canaanites (Joshua 6-7) is designed to make people think long and hard about what insider and outsider even means.
Overall, you can see there is a fairly large range in views about the morality of the Canaanite conquest within just the Evangelical’ish (at least Protestant) community. I have no idea how the Catholic and Orthodox churches deal with it.