I've just read the story of Jacob and Esau (Bereishis ch. 25 and 27), and I fail to understand why Jacob is consistently portrayed and idolized as a protagonist and a hero - based on what I've read, I consider him treacherous and evil character.
This is mostly based on his treatment towards Esau; when his famished [and apparently dying?] brother came to him and asked him for food, his reply was to demand the forfeiture of Esau's birthright. When his dying father wished to bless Esau, he lied to him and told him that he was Esau in order to steal the blessing.
He (and his mother) are deceitful and manipulative, yet I have not found a negative word on them - in fact, after Jacob robbed Esau of his birthright, it is said that Esau 'spurned' his birthright, shifting the blame to Esau. Jacob is idolized to the point that the entire Kingdom of Israel is named after him, and I just don't understand why; his actions make me detest him.
Why is Jacob, despite his treacherous deeds, portrayed by the Bible as a hero?