Deuteronomy 22:6, 7
If a bird's nest chance to be before you in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs…
The command to spare the mother bird while the young might be taken, comes in significantly after the law distinguishing the sexes. The female sex is intended for motherhood; it "binds the generations each to each," as our Laureate says. On the exercise of this function the continuance of the species depends. Hence the command here is at once humane and intended to ensure the continuance of the species. Birds are very needful to keep down grubs and insects, and give the land a chance of due fertility. Hence the sportsman's enthusiasm was thus kept in proper check.
I. WHILE GOD GIVES THE ANIMALS TO MAN FOR FOOD, HE WOULD HAVE THE SACRIFICE OF LIFE THOUGHTFULLY MADE. There must be thought and deliberation about the selection of the young birds, about the pouring out of the blood, etc. All this introduced a humane element into the act.
II. THE FREEDOM OF THE DAM WAS ENSURED BY THE SACRIFICE OF THE YOUNG - A PERPETUAL LESSON ABOUT SUBSTITUTION AND SACRIFICE. As the mother received liberty, the Jewish sportsman would be led to think of the law of substitution and of sacrifice upon which all his religious hopes were built.
III. MOTHERHOOD WAS THUS RENDERED SACRED IN THE EYES OF THE JEWS. The idea, sacred in the woods among the wild birds, would become sacred elsewhere. "The mothers in Israel," instead of being sacrificed to their children, would be honored by them, which is the Divine order. The young generation should bear the burden rather than the old. To such a line of thought the law about birds' nests would naturally give rise. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
WEB: If a bird's nest chance to be before you in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the hen sitting on the young, or on the eggs, you shall not take the hen with the young: