Matthew 23:17 You fools and blind: for which is greater,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You make yourselves foolish and you blind yourselves. Because? How is the gold better than the temple that sets the gold apart for God?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse would probably be heard much differently by those of the time. It continues the use of uncommon, exaggerated words, many with double meanings.

In the first phrase, there is no "you" nor are there nouns.

The Greek words translated as "fool" is the source of our word "moron." Here, it is a form that could either be an adjective meaning "slow" and "stupid," or a verb that means "you make yourself stupid."

"Blind" is from a word that means both physically and mentally blind. Its form could also be an adjective or a verb, meaning "you blind yourselves."

The Greek word translated as "whether" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything," but in a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, to prevent a run-on sentence, translated as a "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

"Greater" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior." When it is introduced by an article, it means "the greater." It is not the superlative form.

The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

The word translated as "gold" means "gold," anything made of gold, or anything precious for which gold is a metaphor. It also means "golden words," as we use the saying, "comic gold." This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

"Or" is translated from a Greek word that means "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. Here, the use of the comparitive, "greater" would cause it to be heard as "than" rather than "or."

The word translated as "temple" means "temple", "the inner room of the temple," and "shrine." This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

The Greek verb translated as "which sanctifieth" is difficult because it is not standard Greek verb but one that Christ uses. It is perhaps, an unusual form of another Greek verb meaning "to dedicate to God" and "to sanctify" usually by burning an offering. In may also be a verb form of a Greek noun, meaning "a thing that creates awe." In a good sense, this can mean holy or sacred, but it also means accursed. Another way to think about this word is that it describes something set apart only for God. Christ uses this word to describe the name of God in the Lord's Prayer. It is in the noun form of a verb, "which sets it apart for God."

Greek Vocabulary: 

μωροὶ [uncommon] (adj pl masc/fem nom/vpc) "Fool" is from the adjective moros, which means "dull", "stupid", "sluggish," 'insipid", "blind," and "folly."
OR (verb 2nd sg pres ind mp) "Fool" is from the verb moroomia, which means to "become dull or sluggish, and "be stupefied."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

τυφλοί, [uncommon](adj pl masc voc/nom) "Blind" is from typhlos, which means "blind", "lacking vision of the future," [of things]"dim", "obscure", "dark," [of passages] "blind", "enclosed", "with no outlet," and is a metaphor for lacking sense."
OR (verb 2nd sg pres ind mp) "Blind" is from typhloo, which means to "blind," "make blind", "baffle", "make a passage blind," and "stop up."

τίς (irreg sg masc nom) "Whether" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

γὰρ "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

μείζων (adj sg masc nom comp) "Greater" is from meizon which means "bigger", "higher", "longer," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" and "great." The superlative form "greatest" is megistos, μέγιστος.

ἐστίν, (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

χρυσὸς [uncommon] (noun sg masc nom) "Gold" is from chrysos, which means "gold", "anything made of gold", "anything dear or precious," and "golden words."

"Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

ναὸς [uncommon] (noun sg masc nom) "The temple" is from naos, which means "temple," "inmost part of a temple", "shrine," and "portable shrine carried in processions."

ἁγιάσας [uncommon] (part sg aor act masc nom) "which sanctifieth" is from is hagiazo, which means "to separate from profane things and dedicate to God", "to dedicate people to God", "to purify," and "to cleanse externally or internally." This may be a special form of hagizo which means "to hallow", "to dedicate," and "to make sacred," commonly by burning a sacrifice. It may also be a verb from of the noun hagos, which means "a thing that creates awe."

τὸν χρυσόν; [uncommon] (noun sg masc acc) "The temple" is from naos, which means "temple," "inmost part of a temple", "shrine," and "portable shrine carried in processions."

The Spoken Version: 

"You are making yourselves stuuu-pid!" he said, drawing out the last word.

The crowd laughed, but his accusers just looked indignant.

"You are all blinding yourself," he continued, mimicing someone tearing out their eyes and flicking the eyeballs away.

"Because?" he asked.

Then he paused as if thinking to himself, and said, "How can the gold..."

He held out one hand signifying the gold.

"Be better than the temple," he said, holding out a hand representing the temple.

Then he balanced one hand against the other as if they were being weighted against each other on a scale.

"When the temple makes the gold holy," he said, bringing the hand representing the temple down as it it was heavier, and making it clear by his tone that being holy was more important than gold.

Some in the crowd chuckled, but most murmurred in agreement.