The gift or the altar (Mt 23:19-23:19)

“You blind men!

Which is greater?

The gift

Or the altar

That makes

The gift sacred?”


τυφλοί, τί γὰρ μεῖζον, τὸ δῶρον ἢ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ ἁγιάζον τὸ δῶρον;


Jesus, via Matthew, poses almost the same question as verse 17.  He called these Pharisees and the Scribes blind (τυφλοί), but not fools.  He wanted to know which was greater (τίς γὰρ μείζων ἐστίν)?  Was the gift by itself (τὸ δῶρον) holier than the altar that made the gift sacred (ἢ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ ἁγιάζον τὸ δῶρον).  The gift became sacred or holy by being on the altar, much more than a plain gift not on the altar.  The altar was clearly greater than the gift that was made sacred by being on the altar.