In 1596 the village appeared under the name of Hurfays in the Ottomantax registers as part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jira, part of Safad Sanjak. It had an all Muslim population, consisting of 41 households and 10 bachelors. They paid taxes on goats and beehives, in addition to occasional revenues; but the largest amount was a fixed tax of 6,000 akçe; the taxes totalled 6,930 akçe. All of the revenue went to a Waqf.
In 1875 Victor Guérin noted an ancient church, used by the 50 Greek Christians in the village. In addition, Hurfeish had 300 Druze inhabitants. In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described Hurfeish as "a village, built of stone, containing about 150 Christians, situated on a low ridge, with figs, olives, and arable land. There are few wells in the village, and four good springs on the south side."
A population list from about 1887 showed Hurfeish to have about 645 inhabitants; 115 Christians and 530 Muslims.
In the 1945 statistics, it had a population of 830; 20 Muslims, 30 Christians and 780 classified as "others", (i.e. Druze), with a total of 16,904 dunums of land. Of this, 1,039 was plantations and irrigable land, 2,199 was allocated to cereals, while 91 dunams were classified as built-up (urban) land.
1948, and aftermath
Shrine of Sabalan
Hurfeish surrendered to the advancing Israeli army during Operation Hiram, October 1948. An IDF plan, December 1949, to expel the population was blocked by the Foreign Ministry.
According to the tradition, Sabalan, a Druze prophet, often identified with the Biblical Zebulon, escaped to cave after he failed to convert Hebron residents to the new religion, then he continued to teach the religion and also built by himself a room over the site of the cave. It is located in Hurfeish, on the top of Mount Zvul.[better source needed]