Cabul is first mentioned as one of the landmarks on the boundary of Asher, in Joshua 19:27. Josephus refers to it as "the village of Chabolo situated in the confines of Ptolemais". It was assigned to the Tribe of Asher. The name "Kabul" may have been derived from the Aramaic word mekubbal, which means "clad", as in the inhabitants were "clad" in gold and silver.
King Solomon handed over a district in the north-west of Galilee near Tyre, containing twenty cities, to Hiram I, the king of Phoenicia, in repayment for his help in building Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. Hiram was not pleased with the gift, however, and called them "the land of Cabul", the name signifying "good for nothing". The writer of 1 Kings says they were called by this name "to this day". Josephus interprets "Cabul" as meaning "what does not please" (in Phoenician)  but doubt has been cast on this interpretation of the term. The Pulpit Commentary suggests they were unacceptable because "really they were mere villages".
Archaeological excavations at Hurbat Rosh Zayit, located 2km northeast of modern Kabul, Israel, have revealed an Israelite settlement from the 12th century BCE, and built upon it a Phoenician fortification from the 10th century BCE. The excavator suggests that this is evidence of Solomon's transfer of the area to Tyrian control.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, it was attacked by Cestius Gallus in 66 C.E. For a time it served as Josephus' headquarters in Galilee in 67 C.E. (Life, 213, 227, 234). Judah and Hillel, sons of R. Gamaliel III, were received as guests with great honor and paid a visit to a local bath. It was the home of a Rabbi Zakkai, and was famous for its abundance of wine and oil; it also had a synagogue and public baths. After the fall of Jerusalem, priests of the Shecaniah (Shekhanyah) family settled there. In the Latin kingdom it was the seat of a seigniory known as Cabor.
- Vita, § 43
- Joshua 19:27
- Vilnay, Zev. (2003). Legends of Palestine. Kessinger Publishing, p.406.
- 1 Kings 9:13
- Antiquities, viii. 5, § 3
- Pulpit Commentary on 1 King 9, accessed 8 October 2017
- Tosefta, Shabbat 7:17; Tosefta, MK 2:15
- Jerusalem Talmud Megillah 4, 78b, etc.; Rabbi Zakkai has no relation to and lived later than Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai
- Jewish Virtual Library, Cabul, accessed 8 October 2017