One day, when Y’hoshua was there by Yericho, he raised his eyes and looked; and in front of him stood a man with his drawn sword in his hand. Y’hoshua went over to him and asked him, “Are you on our side or on the side of our enemies?” “No,” he replied, “but I am the commander of The LORD’s army; I have come just now.” Y’hoshua fell down with his face to the ground and worshipped him, then asked, “What does my lord have to say to his servant?” The commander of The LORD’s army answered Y’hoshua, “Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.” And Y’hoshua did so
The non-sequitur answer for the angel here is so delightful. Joshua approaches with this binary mentality and that just doesn’t fit. As my father-in-law says “you can’t put G-d in a box.” I mean no disrespect, but from our vantage it seems obvious to point out that there is nuance. Things aren’t just black and white, and yet they are. The angel here is on G-d’s side. It isn’t that G-d isn’t on Isreal’s side, but do you really think G-d delights in killing His children? Israel was set apart to call the Nations back to G-d. Every peculiar ritual and quirky thing that exists in the Torah is, in part, there to make Israel holy – kadosh means set apart. They are different for a purpose. The contrast between Israel and the rest of the world is meant to draw the attention of those who are far off so that they can be brought near. G-d’s heart isn’t that Israel destroy or conquer all the Nations surrounding them. That isn’t the point. The conquest of the Land of Israel had a purpose, just like the Babylonian captivity had a purpose. G-d’s goal is to return the world to an Edenic state where He can dwell with Man. It may be hard to see it sometimes, and His ways may seem confusing, but I believe I can rest assured that is moving the world, leading Humanity through a process that we see us welcomed back into Eden.