1 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.
2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.
3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.
4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.
7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.
8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.
9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.
10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.
11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.
12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
God remembered (v.1) — God had never forgotten, of course. This simply means that God began working specifically and deliberately on the behalf of man.
After the Flood had “prevailed” for 150 days, utterly destroying the “world that then was” (2 Peter 3:6) and leaving the remains of multitudes of dead organisms buried in its sediments or still floating on its waters, God began to bring it to a termination. He “remembered” Noah and the animals in the Ark (not, of course, that He had ever forgotten them; the term is a Hebraism for “began again to act on their behalf”) …
Three specific actions were taken by God: He caused a wind to pass over the earth, He stopped the fountains of the deep from further eruptions, and He closed the windows of heaven from further downpours. The nature and effect of the “wind” need discussion. This again is the word ruach and so could be translated either “wind” or “spirit,” depending on context. Its fundamental meaning (actually it is translated numerous different ways) is probably something like “invisible force.” It is possible that the energizing power of God’s Spirit is intended here. That is, in analogy to His work on the first day of Creation (Genesis 1:2), so now again, with waters covering the earth as in the beginning, He exerted His creative power once again to separate the lands and the waters (Genesis 1:9).
Most translators believe, however, that the context here suggests an actual wind, God using a natural force providentially to accomplish His purposes. The uniform temperatures of the antediluvian world would have precluded strong winds. With the vapor canopy gone, however, sharp temperature differentials would have been established between equator and poles, and great air movements begun. These would have been complicated by the earth’s rotation, so that the present complex system of atmospheric circulations would finally be initiated.
Wind, waves, and evaporation, however, could hardly account in themselves for more than a minor lowering of the water level. Somehow there must also be a drastic rearrangement of terrestrial topography, with continental land masses rising from the waters, and ocean basins deepening and widening to receive the waters draining off the lands.
This is, in fact, exactly what happened according to Psalm 104:6-9: You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth. — Morris, pages, 205-206.
It also was considered significant that the Ark rested on the “seventeenth day of the seventh month.” In our discussion of Genesis 7:11, the reason why the exact day was given for the beginning of the Flood (“the seventeenth day of the second month”) was found to be uncertain. A possible reason appears here in connection with the typological inferences. The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on “the seventeenth day of the second month.” The seventh month of the Jewish civil year later was made the first month of the religious year, and the Passover was set for the fourteenth day of that month (Exodus 12:2). Christ, our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), was slain on that day, but then rose three days later, on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the civil calendar. — Morris, page 209.
It was seven months from when the Ark rested on Ararat to the time Noah and his family left the Ark. They were in the Ark for 371 days.