One of the strangest oneiromancy reports occurs in Ea’s reply to Enlil in Gilgamesh tablet XI.
It was not I who disclosed the secret of the great gods.
I caused Atrahasis to have a dream, and so he heard the secret of the gods. [Foster’s, translation]
On the one hand, there is humor in this attempt to divert blame. One the other hand, something deeper is going on. The interpretation of dreams among other methods of divination provided windows to the minds of the gods. So Ea simply opened one of those windows.
The extent to which Atrahasis’ dream needed interpretation is open to speculation. One might consider this from omen series dZiqīqu III (K. 3941 + 4017 obv ii:3′),
DIŠ ina GIŠ.PA.PA.NI a-šib nu-áš-pa-a[n-tu
If (in a dream) he sits on a papanu: devasta[tion (naspantu)].
As Oppenheim, 264, points out, “The term naspantu appears normally in the phrase abûb naspanti to describe a flood which levels everything.” But as he further notes, the term acquired a more general meaning which Oppenheim rendered “oppression.” It sure would be nice to know what papannu means. From the determinative, one can surmise that it was some kind of tree or something make of wood. The omen in preceding line has GIŠ.ŠÚ.A (littu), “stool.” But in l. 5′ we read “If (in a dream) he sits on a rush(?) (GIŠ ur-ba-te):,” so it may also be some kind of plant. Or as Oppenheim speculates, a GIŠurbate may be some kind of reed covered chair. See also CAD P, 106. The meaning of the Sumerogram string GIŠ.AB.GI.N in l.4′ is unknown.
Am I wondering what lays behind some of the fully narrated dream accounts in the Hebrew Bible? You bet!
Oppenheim, A. Leo, “The interpretation of dreams in the ancient Near East, with a translation of an Assyrian dream-book,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Volume 46, Part 3, Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1956, 179-373