118:8–9 The Lord Is a Sure Refuge. The experiences of God’s help show that it is better to take refuge in the Lord (see note on 31:1–2; cf. 62:8) than to trust in man, particularly in princes (i.e., in merely human power, which the enemies of118:7 seem to trust in; cf. 146:3).
ESV Study Bible
8–9 In hymnic celebration the individual worshiper confesses his confidence in the Lord (cf. 116:11; 146:3) rather than in humankind. The mention of “man” (ʾādām) in parallelism with “princes” (nedîbîm) is an example of merismus (cf. 146:3), a literary manner of including all humankind, both lowly and exalted. The psalmist has learned from experience and hereby encourages the congregation that confidence in the Lord (ḥāsâ, “to take refuge” [twice], vv. 8–9) is far superior to relying (bāṭaḥ; NIV, “to trust”; cf. 78:22) on flesh and blood (cf. 33:16–19).
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary