According to the Book of Moses, the Lord sent Enoch to preach to the seven peoples who constituted the civilized, cultivated, educated world. (The name Enoch signifies "trained" or "educated," as we learn from Hugh Nibley's Enoch the Prophet.) Others lived on the margins of culture (the warlike Canaanites and Enoch's own peaceable Land of Canaan), but they are excluded from these Perfect Seven.
The names of the seven peoples arrest the attention by their resemblance to both Biblical and Book of Mormon names--they have an undeniable Semitic look to them:
Enoch (or Hannoch)
And given that some three or four of these names seem to be built on the Semitic root hn or hnn, we start to sense what these people thought of themselves: favored, graced, cultivated. Here every Virginia goose is a swan (as John Adams would say), each a Rose of Sharon. The place name Sharon, by the way, signifies, as appellative noun, "flat country," an excellent place for pasturage. The people of Sharon are therefore shepherds of rich pasturage. These are all lands to "be longed for, craved for" (cf. the Arabic root hanna = Klein, Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, 224-5; Sharon and Sharona: James Hoch, Semitic Words in New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period Texts, 263).
But if the text demands Semitic names for these antediluvians, shall we not also take into consideration Egyptian, a fellow Afro-Asiatic language having many correspondences to Semitic.
Let us begin with Haner and Heni.
Haner fits the Egyptian mold perfectly; in fact, the mold is that of a fortified tower, or hnr.t (xnr.t) a Bollwerk or Festung, as the Egyptian Woerterbuch has it: a mighty bulwark. It doesn't take much imagination to recall all the Bergs and Burgs and Borgs at the root of European Civilization--or their bourgeoisie inhabitants that make up the root of all evil. My own Swedish ancestors dwelt for hundreds of years at what was once a pagan ritual center, later called Borg. The word hnr also describes the harem, the walled-in household of the king. Harem, by the way, comes from the Arabic root h-r-m that describes "that which is forbidden," or sacred, or is to be protected by walls.
Thus we see that the favored and graced inhabitants of the civilized world of Enoch's day had to resort to fortresses and castles in order to protect their way of life. It is the Bronze Age in world history, and indeed hnr also signifies weapons and instruments made of that metal. Sharon becomes Shiryon (a coat of mail).
On the opposite side of the road from the fortified castle stands the tent, the hn.t. The people of the tent, in Egyptian, are the hnj: the Heni. That the Heni should be, originally at least, the people of the tent chimes in perfectly with the wording of the Book of Moses about Enoch's preaching:
5 And it came to pass that I beheld in the valley of Shum, and lo, a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum.
6 And again the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents. [When the Canaanites exterminate the hapless people of Shum, who did not pay attention to Enoch, there are now left only six civilized peoples on the earth.]
37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places [bergs and burgs and borgs?], and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.
38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us [a non-civilized, unsophisticated person, a tribal person].
But tents give way to palaces in Egypt. Thus a hnw becomes both a private and also a princely Wohnort or Residenz (as the Woerterbuch has it). The Pharaoh himself dwells in a hnw: a residence (but in the long ago a vasty tent). Recall the opening line of the Book of Abraham: "In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence (hnw) of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence."
What could be more odd than the use of the word residence by Joseph Smith to describe Abraham? Or what could be more Egyptian then hnw as residence, as Hugh Nibley also noted? The choice of translation rings true. And here again comes telling evidence that the Prophet was reading real Egyptian words written in actual hieroglyphs off a physical, tangible papyrus roll. The idea that the papyri bought by the Prophet were just helps to his inspiration lacks explanatory force. Brother Joseph held the physical papyrus roll of Abraham in his own hands. Only a tangible object bearing words invites such exacting Egyptian readings as the translation reveals. And such a physical, concrete object alone can be a sign or earnest of the resurrection of the dead (another theme of the words of Enoch in the Book of Moses). That we should have the actual roll of hieroglyphics becomes a seal of Abraham's own love for us; he wrote his book "for the benefit of my posterity."
Indeed the phrase is not residence alone, that is, a tent (and Abraham often dwelt in tents), but the residence of my fathers and a place of residence, not only what the dictionary calls a Wohnort but also a Hauptort, eines Gaus [district], eines Landes, einer Stadt, etc. The residence of my fathers is the place of the Semitic people themselves, headed by the plain of Oli-shem [3wj-shm = expanse or place of Shem?], according to Abraham's own book. To find another place of residence is to dispossess oneself, to cut oneself off from the tribe, to become not Shem but Shum--destined for desolation.
But to return to Enoch, another outcast on a mission to save the world by preaching.
How perfectly the names combine: the land of Haner with its walled castles, prefiguring the awful wars about to descend on the world, and offset only by the towers of Zion: "Then the towers of Zion glittered/like the sun in yonder skies"--for Zi-on is literally the place of white hot, intense, glittering light. Haner, by way of contrast, is walled darkness, a prison world (something like our own, more and more). A person of hnr, in Egyptian, is also a robber, an evildoer, now locked in a vast prison. Next, then, come the folk of Heni, the dwellers in tents, who even have a professional caste of tent-keepers to keep things in strictest order when out on the hunt or at war--when anything could happen at home. A mere hour listening to the wild man, and all your goods are spoiled by robbers. Enoch is bad news for capitalism. And what of those of Hanannihah: In Egyptian hnn denotes chaos, rebellion (also hn, or xn, the works of Seth.
What happened to our choice, educated, graced, and favored people--our rosy people of Hannah and Samuel and Hannoch and Sharon and Shum? They now "are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them" (7:1).
10 And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.
A plea for mercy (hnn) remains: the mercy of the Lord.
The Seven Peoples and their place: "What was the world like in Enoch's day? Joseph Smith places the action amidst pastoral nomads ranging the mountains and valleys--and so do the other sources. They show us the righteous and the wicked, sometimes designated as Sethians and Cainites, living respectively in the mountains and the lowlands," Hugh Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, 194. "The wicked gathered together in great valleys," 194; "the sinners in the plain [the Sharon]," 195. "Besides the people of Canaan. . .seven other exotic tribes are named in the Joseph Smith Enoch, suggesting the familiar seven-pattern of tribal organizations," 197, as with the Lehites.
Sharon in J. Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament, ps. 83-4.