Another definition of "venerable" is "profoundly honored"--this would also be a fitting description of the priest's status among everyone praying, but Oedipus picks the priest out of the crowd because of his age and white hair, which are assumed to be connected to wisdom and worthy of respect.
Ho! aged sire, whose
Proclaim thee spokesman of this company,
Explain your mood and purport.
toss, roll, or rise and fall in an uncontrolled way
The priest uses the image of a sinking ship to describe the state of the kingdom--it is "sore buffeted" (pounded repeatedly by storms) and foundering beneath wild waves of blood (from plague and hunger).
For, as thou seest thyself, our ship of State,
Sore buffeted, can no more lift her head,
Foundered beneath a
weltering surge of blood.
Creon uses agricultural images to describe what must be done to save the kingdom--the deeply-rooted sore that must be extirpated because it's polluting the land is the unpunished murderer of the rightful king.
King Phoebus bids us straitly
extirpate A fell pollution that infests the land,
And no more harbor an inveterate sore.
"Adjure" also means "command solemnly"--both definitions seem to fit the situation because Oedipus is the king, but Teiresias is a respected prophet. Thus Oedipus starts his speech with two commands "Speak" and "Withhold not" but he ends with the acknowledgement that he and the rest of the kingdom are all praying for Teiresias to save them with his knowledge.
Withhold not, I
adjure thee, if thou know'st,
Thy knowledge. We are all thy suppliants.
Teiresias's status in Thebes gives him some freedom in his speech (and silence). But Oedipus's wrath and choler are getting the better of him (this same angry nature is what led him to murder the travelers). No longer able to stint his words, Oedipus accuses Teiresias of being the mastermind behind the murder of Laius. This actually succeeds in provoking Teiresias to throw the truthful accusation back at Oedipus.
Yea, I am wroth, and will not
stint my words,
but speak my whole mind.
a flamboyant deceiver; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes
"Charlatan," "mountebank," and "tricksy beggar-priest" are all the same insult. Angry that Teiresias should dare accuse him of being the cause of the kingdom's troubles, Oedipus accuses Teiresias not only of being a false prophet for profit, but also of conspiring with Creon to take his throne.
for this crown
The trusty Creon, my familiar friend,
Hath lain in wait to oust me and suborned
This mountebank, this juggling
This tricksy beggar-priest, for gain alone
Keen-eyed, but in his proper art stone-blind.
Oedipus gets a huge hint here that there's something seriously wrong with his marriage (a hymeneal is a wedding march) that would make his cries reverberate off mountains. But he is so angry that he does not see the truth and believes instead that Teiresias is just being foolishly rude.
Ah whither shall thy bitter cry not reach,
What crag in all Cithaeron but shall then
Reverberate thy wail, when thou hast found
With what a hymeneal thou wast borne
Home, but to no fair haven, on the gale!
"Rebuke" and "chastise" are synonyms that Oedipus is using to shame the herdsman into speaking the truth. The herdsman doesn't want to reveal the truth because he knows it would hurt Oedipus (and would also hurt himself, since he'd played a role in fulfilling the prophecy), so when the messenger blurts it out, he yells at him for having a "wanton tongue," which prompts Oedipus's rebuke.
Softly, old man,
rebuke him not; thy words
Are more deserving chastisement than his.
Such was the burden of his moan, whereto,
Not once but oft, he struck with his hand uplift
His eyes, and at each stroke the ensanguined orbs
Bedewed his beard, not oozing drop by drop,
But one black gory downpour, thick as hail.
Another definition of "respite" is "postponing punishment"--in that sense, Oedipus enjoyed years of respite for the murders of Laius and his traveling party, during which time he became a king and fathered four children. But the question is coming from a concerned Chorus, who just heard that Oedipus, on discovering what his murderous acts led to, was so emotionally pained that he poked his own eyes into a bloody, blind mess.
"Abject" also means "of the most contemptible kind" (Oedipus killed his father, married his mother, and fathered his own brothers and sisters), "showing utter resignation or hopelessness" (he begs to be exiled or killed), and "showing humiliation or submissiveness" (he recognizes that both Apollo and he are responsible for his miseries).
Come hither, deign to touch an
Draw near and fear not; I myself must bear
The load of guilt that none but I can share.
Although this play takes place chronologically before Antigone, Sophocles wrote it about fifteen years later. Thus, the Greek audiences who knew the myths and had seen the production of Antigone would know that Oedipus's wish does not come true: Creon, because of his pride, anger, and disrespect to the gods, also brings on the destruction of his family.
Providence deal with thee kindlier
Than it has dealt with me!
And when ye come to marriageable years,
Where's the bold wooers who will jeopardize
To take unto himself such
disrepute As to my children's children still must cling,
For what of infamy is lacking here?
The superior force that overwhelmed Oedipus is Fate. Upon discovering that he actually did fulfill the oracle's predictions (which he thought had been carefully avoided), Oedipus is overwhelmed by grief, shame, and horror.
Look ye, countrymen and Thebans, this is Oedipus the great,
He who knew the Sphinx's riddle and was mightiest in our state.
Who of all our townsmen gazed not on his fame with envious eyes?
Now, in what a sea of troubles sunk and
overwhelmed he lies!