The Hebrew text of Ps 51:5 is just six words as follows:
הֵן־בְּעָוֹ֥ון חֹולָ֑לְתִּי וּ֝בְחֵ֗טְא יֶֽחֱמַ֥תְנִי אִמִּֽי׃
The six words are two statements of classic Hebrew synthetic parallelism which I would render (overly literally):
- Behold, in iniquity I was brought forth
- and in sin conceived me my mother
The word translated "conceived" is יֶֽחֱמַ֥תְנִי (yehematni) of the lexical form יָחַם (yawkham). It occurs just 10 times in the OT: Gen 30:38, 39, 41, 31:10, Deut 19:6, 1 Kings 1:1, Ps 5:5, Eccl 4:11, Eze 24:11; and is always associated with sexual desire, conception or breeding, whether in humans or animals.
BDB offers the following meaning for יָחַם (yawkham):
Pi`el conceive (Arabic see inclauerunt pecora, Frey; Aramaic יְחַם be
hot, usually of sexual impulse of animals) —
Qal see חמם.
Pi`el Perfect3 feminine singular suffix יֶחֱמַתְנִי Psalm 51:7 in sin
my mother conceived me ("" חוֺלָ֑לְתִּי); Infinitive construct of heat
of cattle in breeding, conception; בְּכָליַֿחֵם Genesis 30:41 at every
breeding-heat of the flock (J); בְּעֵת יַחֵם Genesis 31:10 at the time
of the flock's being hot in breeding (E); suffix 3 feminine plural
לְיַחֲמֶנָּה Genesis 30:41 in order that they might have breeding-heat
Therefore, I have translated as shown above. Of the options in the OP, ESV is closest. However, this leaves the incorrect impression that David's mother did something wrong associated with the conception. (See final note below.) Therefore, the version that correctly translates the Hebrew without this misleading overtone is:
- NIV: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
- BSB: Surely I was brought forth in iniquity; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.
- CSB: Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.
- HCSB: Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.
- NET: Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me. [This is VERY Good!]
We must recall that this Psalm of David is a great public confession of a hideous sin against Bathsheba of a very sensual/sexual desire; hence David's choice of words here.
Psalm 51:5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity — Hebrew, חוללתי,
cholaleti, I was born, or brought forth: for it does not appear that
the word ever signifies, I was shapen; and then the ensuing words will
contain the reason of it; the sense being, because in sin did my
mother conceive me, therefore I was brought forth in iniquity; that
is, with great propensities and dispositions to sin. This verse is,
both by Jewish and Christian, by ancient and later interpreters
generally, and most justly, understood of what we call original sin;
which David here mentions, not as an excuse for, but as an aggravation
of, his transgression, inasmuch as the knowledge which he had of the
total corruption of his nature, and its tendency to evil, ought to
have made him more on his guard, and to have watched more carefully
over his sensual passions and affections.
Cambridge Commentary reaches a similar conclusion:
- Behold, I was shapen] Better, Behold, I was born. Acts of sin have their root in the inherited sinfulness of mankind. It does not appear,
as some have thought, that the Psalmist pleads the sinifulness of his
nature as an excuse for his actual sins. Rather, in utter
self-abasement, he feels compelled to confess and bewail not only his
actual sins, but the deep infection of his whole nature (Job 14:4;
Barnes is also similar:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity - The object of this important verse
is to express the deep sense which David had of his depravity. That
sense was derived from the fact that this was not a sudden thought, or
a mere outward act, or an offence committed under the influence of
strong temptation, but that it was the result of an entire corruption
of his nature - of a deep depravity of heart, running back to the very
commencement of his being. The idea is, that he could not have
committed this offence unless he had been thoroughly corrupt, and
always corrupt. The sin was as heinous and aggravated "as if" in his
very conception and birth there had been nothing but depravity. He
looked at his, sin, and he looked back to his own origin, and he
inferred that the one demonstrated that in the other there was no good
thing, no tendency to goodness, no germ of goodness, but that there
was evil, and only evil; as when one looks at a tree, and sees that it
bears sour or poisonous fruit, he infers that it is in the very nature
of the tree, and that there is nothing else in the tree, from its
origin, but a tendency to produce just such fruit.
Finally, David is not accusing his mother of wrong doing (as some Rabbis have suggested); but stating a simple fact that David had inherited the usual depraved human nature at conception from which spring all human failures, and for which only God's miraculous cures are appropriate as the rest of the Psalm makes clear.