(עֲגָלָה, agalah [Ge 45:19,21,27; Ge 46:5; Nu 7:3,6-8; elsewhere "cart"], from עָגִל, to roll; or רֶכֶב, rekeb [Eze 23:24; elsewhere "chariot"], from רָכִב, to ride). Among the Israelites in Palestine, we find in use from the time of the judges transport-wagons (1Sa 6:7 sq.; 2Sa 6:3; Am 2:13), as well as vehicles for persons, especially princely carriages (1Sa 8:11; 2Sa 15:1; comp. Isa 22:18), for journeys (1Ki 12:18; 1Ki 22:35; 2Ki 9:27). The former, or carts, were called עֲגָלוֹת (used for family transportation in the case of masses, Ge 45:19, like the Greek ἃμαξα and the Latin plaustrum), while those with seats (2Ki 10:15) were designated as מִרכָּכוֹת, chariots; and both eventually רֶכֶבsimply. The עֶגלוֹת צָב of Nu 7:3 were probably (so Onkelos, Aquila, the Vulg., etc.), as in the A.V., "covered wagons," in which the sacred utensils were carried (Sept. ἃμαξαι λαμπηνικαί, vehicula tecta; see Schleusner, Thesaur. Philol. 3, 432). SEE LITTER. A travelling carriage is also mentioned in the New Test. (iiuaa, Ac 8:28 sq.). All these vehicles, whose construction we cannot particularly make out (see the Mishna [Chelim, 14:4], which mentions three kinds of wagon [ibid. 24:2,]) — except that the wheels generally were called אוֹפִנַּי ם or גִּלגַּלַּי ם, the hubs הַשּׁוּרַי ם, the felloes גִּבַּי ם or גִּבּוֹת, and the axle יָד, while the gearing-up of the horses was denoted by אָסִר (to bind), once (Mic 1:13) by רָת ם (of the like signification)-and which were sometimes drawn by oxen (1Sa 6:7; 2Sa 6:6), especially those for transport, and sometimes by horses (as equipage) or perhaps asses, appear nevertheless to have been customarily employed not so much in the mountain districts (which were ill adapted through lack of carriage roads) as in the southern and maritime regions; whereas in modern times the inhabitants are in the habit of riding (on the backs of horses, donkeys, or mules), leaving burdens to be borne by camels; and carriages (with the exception of a few foreign coaches) are rarely seen in the East (Korte, Reisen, p. 434), even in Egypt (Mayr, Schicksale, 2, 40), where they were anciently very numerous (Herod. 2, 108). The Canaanites had war-chariots before the arrival of the Hebrews (Jos 11:4; Jos 17:16; Jg 4:3), like the Philistines (1:19; 1Sa 13:5; comp. Jer 47:3) and later the Syrians (2Sa 10:18; 1Ki 20:1; 1Ki 22:31; 2Ki 6:14 sq.); and the immense numbers of these (900 in Judges 4:3; 1000 in 1 Chronicles 103, 4; 30, 000 in 1Sa 13:5; comp. the 1200 Egyptian chariots in 2Ch 12:3) are confirmed by other ancient accounts (Xenoph, Anab. 1, 7, 11; Diod. Sic. 1, 54; comp. 2 Macc. 13:2). This gave the natives a great advantage at first (Jos 17:16; but comp. Veget. Milit. 3, 24). which David at once effectually overcame in a pitched battle (2Sa 8:4); and Solomon, established cavalry stations (עָרֵי הָרֶכֶב, 1Ki 9:19; 1Ki 10:26; comp. 5, 6) as a defense (Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 3, 72 sq.). These foreign war vehicles are sometimes called chariots of iron (רֵכֶב בִּרזֶל, Jos 17:16,18; Jg 1:19; Jg 4:3), meaning either constructed wholly out of or simply strengthened by iron, or rather perhaps scythe-armed ("currus falcati," Curtius, 4:12, 6; 15:3, 4; comp. 4:9, 5; Livy, 37:41; Veget. Milit. 3, 24; ἃρματα δρεπανηφόρα, Xenoph. Anab. 1, 7, 10; Diod. Sic. 17:53; Appian, Syr. 32; see Schickedanz, De Curribus Falcatis [Serv. 1754]; comp. the פּלָדוֹת הָרֶכֶב of Nab. 2, 4). See Jahn, Archaöl. II, 2, 439 sq.; Lydius, De Re Milit. (ed. Van Til, Dordr. 1698), p. 131 sq.; Wichmannshausen, De Curribus Belli (Viteb. 1722); Scheffer, De Re Vehiculari (Francof. 1671); Fabricy, Recheiches sur l'Epoque de l'Equitation (Par. 1764); Ginzrot, Die Wagen der Gr. und Rom. (Munich, 1813). SEE CHARIOT.
With some small exceptions, it may be said that wheel carriages are not now employed in Africa or Western Asia; but that they were anciently used in Egypt, and in what is now Asiatic Turkey, is attested not only by history, but by existing sculptures and paintings. It would seem that they were not in early times used in Palestine, as, when Jacob saw them, he knew they must have come from Egypt. Perhaps, however, he knew this by their peculiar shape. The covered wagons for conveying the materials of the tabernacle were probably constructed on Egyptian models. They were each drawn by two oxen (Nu 7:3,8). Herodotus mentions a four- wheeled Egyptian vehicle (ἃμαξα) used for sacred purposes (Herod. 2, 63). Two wheeled wagons, or rather carts, are frequently represented on the Assyrian sculptures, especially for the conveyance of (female and infantile) prisoners away from a sacked city (Layard, Nineveh, 2, 301). The only wheel carriages in Western Asia with which we are acquainted are, first, a very rude cart, usually drawn by oxen, and employed in conveying agricultural produce in Armenia and Georgia; and then a vehicle called an arabah, used at Constantinople and some other towns towards the Mediterranean. It is a light covered cart without springs; and, being exclusively used by women, children, and aged or sick persons, would seem, both in its use, and, as nearly as we can discover, in its make, to be no bad representative of the "wagons" in the Bible. No wheel carriage is, however, now used in a journey. The Oriental wagon, or arabah, is a vehicle composed of two or three planks fixed on two (sometimes four) solid circular blocks of wood, from two to five feet in diameter, which serve as wheels. To the floor are sometimes attached wings, which splay outwards like the sides of a wheelbarrow. For the conveyance of passengers, mattresses or clothes are laid in the bottom, and the vehicle is drawn by buffaloes or oxen (Arundell, Asia Minor, 2, 191, 235, 238; Olearius, Trav. p. 309; Ker Porter, Trav. 2, 533). SEE CART.