And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob's hip became dislocated as he wrestled with him. And he (the angel) said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking," but he (Jacob) said, "I will not let you go unless you have blessed me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" and he said, "Jacob." And he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power with [an angel of] God and with men, and you have prevailed." (Genesis 32:25-29)

In this oversized canvas, the larger than life figure of Jacob wrestles with the dark man/angel that embodies the spirit of Esau. The strong diagonals of his arms look like wings; as one stretches upward, the other strikes Jacob's thigh. In strong contrast to the dark purple man, is the golden red figure of Jacob whose hands grab onto his opponent's shoulders. They wrestle and become entwined one with the other. According to Rashi, the Hebrew word for wrestle, (yaavak) means to be attached or entangled. "It is the habit of two people who make strong efforts to throw each other down, that one embraces the other and attaches himself to him with his arms".

At the end of the struggle, when the darkness of dawn had passed, a light shined on Jacob and he did not let the figure go until he blessed Jacob with a new name. That name would no longer be Jacob (supplanter) but Israel, (he who prevails over the Divine). In the forefront of the painting Israel emerges victorious, his face aglow, while the image of Jacob recedes into the background.

Contraposed over the deep blue background, a warm gold light predominates over the tense conflict of the night-long encounter. This battle is symbolic of each person's wrestling with his or her darker side, and shows how blessing and light often come through struggle.