A powerful hero of the Bible, Jacob is also one of its most complex figures. Bible stories recounting his life often expose his deception, lies, and greed, then puzzlingly attempt to justify them. In this book an eminent biblical scholar looks at Jacob and his life story as it is presented in the Bible, but also reconstructs the stories that the writers of the Bible wanted to suppress - stories that were well-known, perhaps, but incompatible with the image they wanted to promote. Through a work of extraordinary literary archaeology, Yair Zakivitch explores the recesses of literary history, reaching back even to the stage of oral transmission, to identify sources of Jacob's story that preceded the work of the Genesis writers. The biblical writers were skilled mosaic-makers, Zakovitch shows, and their achievement was to reshape diverse pre-biblical representations of Jacob in support of their emerging new religion and identity. As the author follows Jacob in his wanderings and revelations, his successes, disgraces, and disappointments, he also considers the religious and political environment in which the Bible was written, offering a powerful explication of early Judaism.