Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, was a victim. She was the victim of sexual abuse. One day she went out to visit the women who lived in the area and she was violated by Shechem, who was the son of Hamor the ruler of the area. Shechem was drawn to Dinah and tried to get his father to get her for his wife. Jacob knew what he had done and that it was dishonorable and not right. Jacob was not about to allow his daughter to be the wife of this man.
Now remember that Dinah had brothers, and half brothers, several brothers actually. These brothers weren’t happy about what had happened to their sister.
Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were filled with grief and fury, because Schechem had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter – a thing that should not be done. Genesis 34:7
Like good older brothers they wanted to protect Dinah. They also wanted to make Shechem pay for the dishonorable thing that he had done.
Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Schechem and his father Hamor. Genesis 34:13
The told Schechem and Hamor that for them to allow Dinah to marry into their family and also intermarry with their people all the males would have to be circumcised, just as they were. Hamor and Schechem agreed with this and thought it sounded good. Little did they know that Dinah’s brothers had a different plan in mind. Three days later, while the men were still recovering from their little operation, Simeon and Levi struck. They killed every male, then looted the city, took all their livestock, women and children, and wealth (Gen. 34:25-29.)
Dinah’s brothers may have gone a bit far in protecting their little sister. Jacob was not happy about what they had done. He knew that what they did could bring trouble upon them. The brothers justified their actions though by saying, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute” (Gen. 34:31.)
Killing someone else in the name of vengeance is not ok. Did the brothers take their protecting too far, yes.
The one thing that we can take from this is that the intent to protect their sister was right. How they went about it was not. I remember when I first started dating Gerrit, my brother, being a good and protective older brother, said that if Gerrit tried to do anything to me he would punch him in his throat. Thankfully it wasn’t ever necessary for him to take that action. He was just looking out for his little sister though, and I appreciated that. Be thankful for your protective older brothers, Dinah probably was.