After Joseph's brothers had sold him into slavery, he ended up in Egypt. In spite of the adverse situation, he was able to land a good job there. But a false accusation from his boss's wife landed him in jail.
Years later, through a little providential prescience, Joseph was able spring from prison and land another good job--this time a top-notch one, as chief administrator to the Pharoah. Joseph had predicted for Pharoah seven years of agricultural abundance. So acting on the regent's behalf, he instituted a seven-year plan of buying bumper crops of grain from the people and storing it in governmental facilities.
But Joseph had also predicted seven years of famine that would follow the plenteous times. After the first year of famine hit, Pharoah's government had, as it turned out, most all the food because Joseph had bought it from the people and stored it in order to assure a steady supply during the lean years.
Times were hard. Folks ran out of food, and out of money.In their desperation, the Egyptian people turned to Pharoah's government for help. So here is what Joseph, chief administrator, did:
He traded the grain back to the people for their livestock. Eventually though, due to the extremely long period of hardship, the government had most of the livestock and still most of the food, while the famine was still going full tilt. It was one hell of a long recession. The people's situation was unsustainable for any significant period of time. Over that long seven years of dearth they ended selling their land and even themselves as slaves to Pharoah.
But at least they were alive.
Then Joseph instituted a plan that eventually got them through the eye of the economic needle. He gave the people seed grain in exchange for a future payment of 20% of the next harvest. And that's how Joseph's prescient administration got the Egyptian people, and his Hebrew brothers with their families, through the great depression.