In Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob made a vow that, if God would be with him, he would return to Bethel. Instead, however, after leaving Laban, he stops first at Succoth for a time, then settles in Shechem, fifteen miles short of Bethel. Perhaps he does not feel ready to go to Bethel, which means "House of God," because some of his family still hold to their pagan gods. Perhaps he feels that he knows best, and Shechem is a better spot (Bethel is about a thousand feet higher in elevation than Shechem).

God allows him this latitude, but in the Rape of Dinah and the subsequent murders (found in Genesis 34), it is obvious that God wants him to honor his promise to return to Bethel.

In Genesis 34:30, we see something else about Jacob:

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, . . . and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I." (Emphasis ours)

This verse does not put Jacob in the best light! He appears to have been just a bit self-centered. At this point in the story, he was not thinking in terms of Dinah's best interests, only of his own.

It seems that Jacob failed Dinah in several ways. He put her outside Shechem where she should have never been. He allowed continuing worship of pagan gods in his home. He was concerned more with his personal honor and image than that of his daughter. Moreover, he left it to his sons to deal with this tragedy rather than taking a leadership role.