Princes, national leaders, have persecuted David and that without cause. He had not accosted any of them, nor had he been aggressive against any of them. They had no cause to persecute David and Israel except for the sake of pure terror.
These could also be princes of Israel, men who had desired David's office and privileges and had gone to great length to possess them, such as Absalom (1 Samuel 29).
Some of our adversaries are foreign to our own nation and desire to either have or destroy the freedoms and pleasures that we have as a country or to destroy our freedom of worship and also destroy the truth of the word of God to replace it with their own evil designs.
Some of our adversaries are among our own people, professors of our religion, but who desire to overthrow the truth or the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:18).
David's heart is not in awe of persecution. He expects it and discerns it. It is to be expected in our world. Our Lord said that in the world we shall have tribulation (John 16:33).
But David's heart is in awe of the word of God, for only God's word can bring stability and joy to a troubled heart. Remember what the Lord said in the last portion of John 16:33 -- "I have overcome the world."
Despite the fact that David had no earthly and human fear concerning his earthy foes (the word awe means to fear), he did have awe for God's word. The meaning of awe is also that of true reverence and respect. So should we today have an awesome reverence for God's word, which is the sword of the Spirit, and it is our only weapon against our persecutors.